Coordinates: [[[:Template:Coor URL]]59_57_N_30_18_E_type:adm1st 59°57′N30°18′E / Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[".Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[". / Template:Coord/dms2dec; Template:Coord/dms2dec]Coordinates: [[[:Template:Coor URL]]59_57_N_30_18_E_type:adm1st 59°57′N30°18′E / Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[".Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[". / Template:Coord/dms2dec; Template:Coord/dms2dec]
Fatal error: The format of the coordinate could not be determined. Parsing failed.
<td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color:#cddeff">Political status</td>
<td>May 27, 1703</td>
<th>Federal city Day </th>
<td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color:#cddeff">Government (as of March 2010)</td>
<th> - Governor</th>
<th> - Legislature</th>
<td class="agent">Legislative Assembly</td>
<td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; background-color:#cddeff">Statistics</td>
<th> - Total</th>
<td>1,439 km2 (Script error sq mi)</td>
<td colspan="2">Population (2010 Census)</td>
<th> - Total</th>
<th> - Rank</th>
<td> - Density</td>
<tr class="mergedtoprow"><td>Population (2013 est.)</td><td>5,028,000 inhabitants</td></tr>
<td>78, 98, 178</td>
Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург, tr.Sankt-Peterburg; Template:IPA-ru) is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd (Russian: Петроград; Template:IPA-ru), in 1924 to Leningrad (Russian: Ленинград; Template:IPA-ru), and in 1991, back to Saint Petersburg.
In Russian literature, informal documents, and discourse, the "Saint" (Санкт-) is usually omitted, leaving Petersburg (Петербург, Peterburg). In common parlance Russians may drop "-burg" (-бург) as well, referring to it as Peter (Питер, Template:IPA-ru).
Saint Petersburg was founded by the TsarPeter the Great on May 27 [O.S. 16] 1703. From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia. In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) to Moscow. It is Russia's second largest city after Moscow with 5 million inhabitants (2012) and the fourth most populated federal subject. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center, and also an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.
Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. It is the northernmost city in the world to have a population of over one million. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.
Peter the Great was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, and he intended to have Russia gain a seaport, so it could trade with maritime nations. He needed a better seaport than Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea to the north and closed to shipping for months during the winter.
During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed, and is evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716 Peter the Great appointed Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg.
In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two. His endeavours to modernise Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility — resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov Dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tzars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a new plan was commissioned in 1737 by a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city center was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka.
The Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg established in 1762 ruled that no structure in the city be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s–1780s, the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.
With the emancipation of the peasants undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and an industrial revolution, the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly. Poor boroughs spontaneously emerged on the outskirts of the city. Saint Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth; it developed as one of the largest industrial cities in Europe, with a major naval base (in Kronstadt), river and sea port.
In September and October 1917, the German troops invaded the West Estonian archipelago and threatened Petrograd with bombardment and invasion. On March 12, 1918, the Soviets transferred the government to Moscow. During the ensuing Civil War, in 1919 general Yudenich advancing from Estonia repeated the attempt to capture the city, but Leon Trotsky mobilized the army and forced him to retreat.
On January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. Later some streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly. The city has over 230 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. Some of them were turned into museums, including the cruiser Aurora – a symbol of the October Revolution and the oldest ship in the Russian Navy.
In the 1920s–1930s, the poor outskirts were reconstructed into regularly planned boroughs. Constructivist architecture flourished around that time. Housing became a government-provided amenity; many 'bourgeois' apartments were so large that numerous families were assigned to what were called 'communal' apartments (kommunalkas). By the 1930s, 68% of the population lived in such housing. In 1935 a new general plan was outlined, whereby the city should expand to the south. Constructivism was rejected in favor of a more pompous Stalinist architecture. Moving the city center further from the border with Finland, Stalin adopted a plan to build a new city hall with a huge adjacent square at the southern end of Moskovsky Prospekt, designated as the new main street of Leningrad. After the Second World War, the Soviet-Finnish border was moved to the north. Nevsky Prospekt with the Palace Square maintained the functions and the role of a city center.
On December 1, 1934, Sergey Kirov, popular communist leader of Leningrad, was assassinated, which became the pretext for the Great Purge.
During World War II, Leningrad was besieged by German forces following its invasion in June 1941. The siege lasted 872 days from September 1941 to January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga. More than one million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped, so the city became largely depopulated.
Leningrad gave its name to the Leningrad Affair (1949–1952), a notable event in the postwar political struggle in the USSR. It was a product of rivalry between Stalin's successors (where one side was represented by the leaders of the city Communist Party organization – the second most significant one in the country after Moscow. The entire elite leadership of Leningrad was destroyed, including the former mayor Kuznetsov, the acting mayor Popkov, and all their deputies; overall 23 leaders were sentenced to the death penalty, 181 to prison or exile (exonerated in 1954). About 2,000 ranking officials across the USSR were expelled from the party and Komsomol and removed from leadership positions.
The Leningrad Metro underground rapid transit system, designed before the war, opened in 1955 with its first eight stations decorated with marble and bronze. However, after the death of Stalin in 1953, the perceived ornamental excesses of the Stalinist architecture were abandoned. In the 1960s–1980s, many new residential boroughs were built on the outskirts; while the functionalist apartment blocks were nearly identical to each other, many families moved there from kommunalkas in the city centre in order to live in separate apartments.
Meanwhile the economic conditions were deteriorating as the country tried to adapt to major changes. For the first time since the 1940s, food rationing was introduced, and the city received humanitarian food aid from abroad. This dramatic time was depicted in photographic series of Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko. In 1995 a northern section of the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro was cut off by underground flooding, creating a major obstacle to the city development for almost ten years.
In 1996, Anatoly Sobchak was defeated by Vladimir Yakovlev in the elections of the head of the city administration. The title of the city head was changed from "mayor" to "governor". In 2000 Yakovlev was reelected again. His second term expired in 2004; the long-awaited restoration of broken subway connection was expected to finish by that time. But, in 2003 Yakovlev suddenly resigned, leaving a governor's office to Valentina Matviyenko.
The law on election of the City Governor was changed, breaking the tradition of democratic election by a universal suffrage. In 2006 Matvienko was reapproved as governor by the city legislature. The residential building had intensified again; real estate prices inflated greatly which caused many new problems for the preservation of the historical part of the city.
Although the central part of the city is watched by UNESCO (there are about 8,000 architectural monuments in Petersburg), the preservation of its historical and architectural environment became controversial. After 2005, the demolition of older buildings in the historical centre was permitted. In 2006 Gazprom announced an ambitious project to erect a 396-meter skyscraper opposite to Smolny, whichTemplate:According to whom could result in the loss of the unique line of Petersburg landscape. Urgent protests by citizens and prominent public figures of Russia against this project were not considered by Governor Valentina Matvienko and the city authorities until December 2010, when after the statement of President Dmitry Medvedev, the city decided to find a more appropriate location for this project.
The elevation of Saint Petersburg ranges from the sea level to its highest point of Script error at the Orekhovaya Hill in the Duderhof Heights in the south. Part of the city's territory west of Liteyny Prospekt is no higher than Script errorabove sea level, and has suffered from numerous floods. Floods in Saint Petersburg are triggered by a long wave in the Baltic Sea, caused by meteorological conditions, winds and shallowness of the Neva Bay. The four most disastrous floods occurred in 1824 (Script error above sea level, during which over three hundred buildings were destroyed), 1924 Script error, 1777 Script error, 1955 Script error, and 1975 Script error. To prevent floods, the Saint Petersburg Dam has been constructed.
Since the 18th century the terrain in the city has been raised artificially, at some places by more than Script error, making mergers of several islands, and changing the hydrology of the city. Besides the Neva and its tributaries, other important rivers of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg are Sestra, Okhta and Izhora. The largest lake is Sestroretsky Razliv in the north, followed by Lakhtinsky Razliv, Suzdal Lakes and other smaller lakes.
Due to location at ca. 60° N latitude the day length in Petersburg varies across seasons, ranging from 5:53 to 18:50. A period from mid-May to mid-July when twilight may last all night is called the white nights.
The average daily temperature in July is Script error; a maximum temperature of Script error occurred during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. A winter minimum of Script error was recorded in 1883. The average annual temperature is Script error. The Neva River within the city limits usually freezes up in November–December and break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 118 days average with snow cover, which reaches an average snow depth of Script error by February. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. The city has a slightly warmer climate than its suburbs. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round.
The first and fairly rich chapter of the history of the local toponymy is the story of the own name of the city itself. The name day of Peter I falls on June 29, when the Russian Orthodox Church observes the memory of SaintApostlesPeter and Paul. The consecration of the small wooden church in their names (its construction began simultaneously with the citadel) made them the heavenly patrons of the Peter and Paul Fortress, while St. Peter at the same time became the eponym of the whole city.
An explanation that the origin of "Saint-" in St. Petersburg is due to Peter the Great's contact with Dutch culture is a common misconception. However this is unlikely as the Dutch Republic adhered to Calvinist Protestantism and had long abandoned and even frowned upon the culture of veneration of saints and the naming of places after them, since the era of reformation. Moreover "Saint-" in the Dutch language is Sint- and not Sankt-. The sample which czar Peter followed does sound like the names of another European cities: Sankt Goar in Germany, Sankt Michael in Austria and some others, of which the closest to Sankt Petersburg was Sankt Michel in the rival Swedish Empire (now Mikkeli in Finland). Sankt- in these toponyms is merely a Germanized form of Latin: Sanctus.
A 14–15-letter long name, composed of the three roots proved too cumbersome, and a lot of shortened versions appeared in habitual use. The first General Governor of the city Menshikov is maybe also the author of the first nickname of Petersburg which he called Петри (Petri). It took some years until the known Russian spelling of this name finally settled. In 1740s Mikhail Lomonosov uses a derivative of Greek: Πετρόπολις (Petropolis, Петрополис) in a russified form Petropol’ (Петрополь). A combo Piterpol (Питерпол) also appears at this time. In any case, eventually the usage of prefix "Sankt-" ceased except for the formal official documents, where a 3-letter abbreviation "СПб" (SPb) was very widely used as well.
In the 1830s Alexander Pushkin translated the "foreign" city name of "Saint Petersburg" to the more Russian Petrograd in one of his poems. However, it was only on 31 [O.S. 18 August] 1914, after the war with Germany had begun, that tsar Nicholas II renamed the capital to Petrograd. Since the prefix 'Saint' was omitted, this act also changed the eponym and the "patron" of the city, from Apostle Peter to Peter the Great, its founder.
After the October Revolution, and until the city was renamed Leningrad in January 1924, the name Красный Петроград (Red Petrograd) was often used in newspapers and other prints.
In the referendum on reversing the renaming of Leningrad on June 12, 1991, renaming it to Petrograd was not an option. Because of this only 54.86% of the voters (with a turnout of 65%) supported "St.Petersburg". This change officially took effect on September 6, 1991. Meanwhile, the oblast whose administrative center is also in St. Petersburg is still named Leningrad.
Having passed the role of capital to Petersburg, Moscow never relinquished the title of "capital", being called pervoprestolnaya("first-throned") for 200 years. A mirroring name for Petersburg in this connotation, the "Northern Capital", is reintroduced today in the sense that several federal institutions were moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg recently. Solemn descriptive names like "the city of three revolutions" and "the cradle of the October revolution" used in Soviet era reminded the pivot events of national history which occurred here. For their part, poetic names of the city, like the "Venice of the North" and the "Northern Palmyra" emphasize town-planning and architectural features contrasting these parallels to the northern location of this megalopolis.Petropolis is a translation of a city name to Greek, and is also a kind of descriptive name: Πέτρ~ is a Greek root for "stone", so the "city from stone" emphasizes the material which had been forcibly made obligatory for construction from the very first years of the city. (Its official Greek name is Αγία Πετρούπολη.)
After 1991 a wave of re-namings started within the city. It affected not only toponyms of the Soviet era, but in some cases their pre-revolutionary ones (in 1993 Gogol Street which bore the name of Nikolai Gogol since 1902, was renamed to Malaya Morskaya).
Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. As of the 2010 Census, the federal subject's population is 4,879,566 or 3.4% of the total population of Russia; up from 4,661,219 (3.2%) recorded in the 2002 Census, and down from 5,023,506 recorded in the 1989 Census.
The 20th century saw hectic ups and downs in population. From 2.4 million in 1916 it had dropped to less than 740,000 by 1920 during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War. The minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely transferred from Leningrad during the 1930s. From 1941 to the end of 1943, population dropped from 3 million to less than 600,000, as people died in battles, starved to death during the Siege of Leningrad, or were evacuated. After the siege, some of the evacuees returned, but most influx was due to migration from other parts of the Soviet Union. The city absorbed about 3 million people in the 1950s and grew to over 5 million in the 1980s. From 1991 to 2006 the city's population decreased to 4.6 million, while the suburban population increased due to privatization of land and massive move to suburbs. Based on the 2010 census results the current population is over 4.8 million. The birth rate remains lower than the death rate; people over 65 constitute more than twenty percent of the population; and the median age is about 40 years.
People in urban Saint Petersburg live mostly in apartments. Between 1918 and the 1990s, the Soviets nationalised housing and forced residents to share communal apartments (kommunalkas). With 68% living in shared flats in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city in the USSR with the largest number of kommunalkas. Resettling residents of kommunalkas is now on the way out, albeit shared apartments are still not uncommon. As new boroughs were built on the outskirts in the 1950s–1980s, over half a million low income families eventually received free apartments, and about an additional hundred thousand condos were purchased. While economic and social activity is concentrated in the historic city centre, the richest part of Saint Petersburg, most people live in commuter areas. For the first half of 2007, the birth rate was 9.1 per 1000.
According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved. The former governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was approved according to the new system in December 2006. She was the only woman governor in the whole of Russia till her resignation on August 22, 2011. Matviyenko stood for elections as member of the Regional Council of St. Petersburg and won comprehensively with allegations of rigging and ballot stuffing by the opposition. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already backed her for the position of Speaker to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and her election qualifies her for that job. After her resignation, Georgy Poltavchenko was appointed as the new acting governor the same day. In 2012, following passage of a new federal law, restoring direct elections of heads of federal subjects, the city charter was again amended to provide for direct elections of governor.
Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, being two different federal subjects, share a number of local departments of federal executive agencies and courts, such as court of arbitration, police, FSB, postal service, drug enforcement administration, penitentiary service, federal registration service, and other federal services.
Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial centre of Russia specialising in oil and gas trade, shipbuilding yards, aerospace industry, radio and electronics, software and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment, mining, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (production of aluminium alloys), chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, publishing and printing, food and catering, wholesale and retail, textile and apparel industries, and many other businesses. It was also home to Lessner, one of Russia's two pioneering automobile manufacturers (along with Russo-Baltic), Lessner; founded by machine tool and boiler maker G. A. Lessner in 1904, with designs by Boris Loutsky, it survived until 1910.
Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilyevsky Island. In 2008 the first two berths were opened at the New Passenger Port on the west of the island. The new port is part of the city's "Marine Facade" development project and is due to have seven berths in operation by 2010.
A complex system of riverports on both banks of the Neva river are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
In 2007, Toyota opened a Camry plant after investing 5 billion roubles (approx. 200 mln dollars) in Shushary, one of the southern suburbs of Saint Petersburg. Opel, Hyundai and Nissan have signed deals with the Russian government to build their automotive plants in Saint Petersburg too. Automotive and auto-parts industry is on the rise there during the last decade.
Saint Petersburg is the location of a significant brewery and distillery industry. It is known as the "beer capital" of Russia, due to the supply and quality of local water, contributing over 30% of the domestic production of beer with its five large-scale breweries including Europe's second largest brewery Baltika, Vena (both operated by BBH), Heineken Brewery, Stepan Razin (both by Heineken) and Tinkoff brewery (SUN-InBev).
The city has a lot of local distilleries which produce a broad range of vodka brands. The oldest ones is LIVIZ (founded in 1897). Among the youngest is Russian Standard Vodka introduced in Moscow in 1998, which opened in 2006 a new $60 million distillery in Petersburg (an area of 30,000 square meters, production rate of 22,500 bottles per hour). In 2007 this brand was exported to over 70 countries.
Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction.
Budget revenues of the city in 2009 amounted to 294.3 billion rubles (about 10.044 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates), expenses – 336.3 billion rubles (about 11.477 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates). The budget deficit amounted to about 42 billion rubles. (about 1.433 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates)
Saint Petersburg has three skyscrapers: Leader Tower (140 m), Alexander Nevsky (124 m) and Atlantic City (105 m) all three being situated far away from the historical centre. Current regulations forbid construction of high buildings in the city centre. The Script error tall Saint Petersburg TV Tower is the tallest completed structure in the city. However, there was a controversial project endorsed by the city authorities, and known as the Okhta Center, to build a Script errorsupertall skyscraper. In 2008, the World Monuments Fund included the Saint Petersburg historic skyline on the watch list of the 100 most endangered sites due to the expected construction, which threatens to alter it drastically. The Okhta Cernter project has been finally cancelled at the end of 2010 and instead of that Lakhta Center project is started at the city outskirts. The complex shall include 463 meter tall office skyscraper and several low rise mixed use buildings. Lakhta center project causes much less controversy and, unlike the previous unbuilt project, is not seen by UNESCO as potential threat to cultural heritage because it is located far away from historical center. Skyscraper construction has already started, the building should be constructed in 2017. It is assumed that the building will be the tallest in Russia and Europe.
Other symbols of Saint Petersburg include the weather vane in the shape of a small ship on top of the Admiralty's golden spire and the golden angel on top of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The Palace Bridge drawn at night is yet another symbol of the city. Every night during the navigation period from April to November, 22 bridges across the Neva and main canals are drawn to let ships pass in and out of the Baltic Sea according to a schedule. It was not until 2004 that the first high bridge across the Neva, which does not need to be drawn, Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. There are hundreds of smaller bridges in Saint Petersburg spanning across numerous canals and distributaries of the Neva, some of the most important of which are the Moika, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Obvodny Canal, Karpovka and Smolenka. Due to the intricate web of canals, Saint Petersburg is often called Venice of the North. The rivers and canals in the city centre are lined with granite embankments. The embankments and bridges are separated from rivers and canals by granite or cast ironparapets.
Southern suburbs of the city feature former imperial residences, including Petergof, with majestic fountain cascades and parks, Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe. Some other residences situated nearby and making part of the world heritage site, including a castle and park in Gatchina, actually belong to Leningrad Oblast rather than Saint Petersburg. Another notable suburb is Kronstadt with its 19th-century fortifications and naval monuments, occupying the Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland.
Since around the end of the 20th century a great deal of active building and restoration works have been carried out in a number of the city's older districts.
The authorities have recently been compelled to transfer the ownership of state-owned private residences in the city centre to private lessors.
Many older buildings have been reconstructed to allow their use as apartments and penthouses.
Saint Petersburg is home to numerous parks and gardens, some of the most famous of which are situated in the southern suburbs, including one of the largest English gardens of Europe in Pavlovsk. Sosnovka is the largest park within the limits of the city proper, occupying 240 ha. The Summer Garden is the oldest one, dating back to the early 18th century and designed in the regular style. It is situated on the southern bank of the Neva at the head of the Fontanka and is famous for its cast iron railing and marble sculptures.
The 18th and 19th-century architectural ensemble of the city and its environs is preserved in virtually unchanged form. For various reasons (including large-scale destruction during World War II and construction of modern buildings during the postwar period in the largest historical centers of Europe), Saint Petersburg has now become a unique nature reserve of European architectural styles of the past three centuries. Saint Petersburg's loss of capital city status significantly helped the city in retaining many pre-revolutionary buildings, as modern architectural 'prestige projects' tended to be built in Moscow; this largely prevented the rise of mid-to-late-20th-century architecture in the city and helped maintain the architectural appearance of the historic center.
Saint Petersburg is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an area with 36 historical architectural complexes, and around 4000 outstanding individual monuments of architecture, history and culture. New tourist programs and sightseeing tours have been developed for those wishing to see Saint Petersburg's cultural heritage.
The city has 221 museums, 2000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries and exhibition halls, 62 cinemas, and around 80 other cultural establishments. Every year the city hosts around 100 festivals and various competitions of art and culture, including more than 50 international ones.
Despite the economic instability of the 1990s not a single major theatre or museum has been closed in Saint Petersburg; on the contrary many new ones have opened, for example, a private museum of puppets (opened in 1999) is the third museum of its kind in Russia, where collections of more than 2000 dolls are presented, including 'The multinational Saint Petersburg' and 'Pushkin's Petersburg'.
The museum world of Saint Petersburg is incredibly diverse. The city is not only home to the world-famous Hermitage Museum and The Russian State Museum with its rich collection of Russian art, but also the palaces of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs, so-called small town museums and others like the museum of famous Russian writer Dostoyevsky; Museum of Musical Instruments, the museum of decorative arts and the museum of professional orientation.
The musical life of Saint Petersburg is rich and diverse, with the city now playing host to a number of annual carnivals.
Ballet performances occupy a special place in the cultural life of Saint Petersburg. The Petersburg School of Ballet is deservedly named as one of the best in the world. Traditions of the Russian classical school have been passed down from generation to generation among outstanding educators. The art of famous and prominent Saint Petersburg dancers like Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov was, and is, admired throughout the world. Contemporary Petersburg ballet is made up not only of traditional Russian classical school, but also ballets by those like Boris Eifman's, who expanded the scope of strict classical Russian ballet to almost unimaginable limits. Remaining faithful to the classical basis (he was a choreographer in Vaganova Academy of Dance), he combined classical ballet with the avant-garde style, and then, in turn, with acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, dramatic expressiveness, cinema, color, light, and finally with spoken word.
With a packed cultural program and a large number of world heritage sites, as well as a developing tourist infrastructure, Saint Petersburg has started to enter into the number of the world's leading centers of culture and tourism.
Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. The first Russian railway was built here in 1837, and since then the city's transport infrastructure has continued to develop and keep pace with the growth of the city. Petersburg has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system that includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to a number of riverine services that convey passengers around the city efficiently and in relative comfort.
The city is connected to the rest of Russia and the wider world by a number of federal highways and national and international rail routes. Pulkovo Airport serves the majority of air passengers departing from or arriving to the city.
Saint Petersburg has an extensive city-funded network of public transport (buses, trams, trolleybuses) and several hundred routes served by marshrutkas. Trams in Saint Petersburg used to be the main transport; in the 1980s, Leningrad had the largest tramway network in the world, but many tramway rail tracks were dismantled in the 2000s (decade).
Buses carry up to three million passengers daily, serving over 250 urban and a number of suburban bus routes. Saint Petersburg Metro underground rapid transit system was opened in 1955; it now has 5 lines with 67 stations, connecting all five railway terminals, and carrying 2,5 million passengers daily. Metro stations are often elaborately decorated; with examples of materials used being marble and bronze.
Traffic jams are common in the city, because of high daily traffic volumes between the commuter boroughs and the city centre, intercity traffic, and at times excessive snow in winter. The construction of the Saint Petersburg Ring Road was finished in 2011.
Today, the city is the final destination of a web of intercity and suburban railways, served by five different railway terminals (Baltiysky, Finlyandsky, Ladozhsky, Moskovsky, and Vitebsky), as well as dozens of non-terminal railway stations within the federal subject. Saint Petersburg has international railway connections to Helsinki, Finland, Berlin, Germany, and all former republics of the USSR. The Helsinki railway was built in 1870, Script error, commutes four times a day, in a journey lasting about three and a half hours with the new Allegro train.
In 2009 Russian Railways launched a high speed service on the Moscow-Saint Petersburg route. The new train, known as Sapsan, is a deriative of the popular Siemens Velaro train; various versions of which are already in service in a number of European countries. It set records for the fastest train in Russia on May 2, 2009, travelling at Script error and on May 7, 2009, traveling at Script error.
Saint Petersburg is also served by Pulkovo International Airport, and by three smaller commercial and cargo airports in the suburbs. Lappeenranta Airport, which is located near Saint Petersburg in Finnish side of the border, is also popular among Russian travellers.
Pulkovo airport opened to passengers as a small aerodrome in 1931. As of 2011, the airport is the 4th busiest in Russia after Moscow's Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports. With two main terminals (one domestic, one international), Pulkovo is widely regarded as one of the larger and more modern airports in the Russian Federation. However, as it is anticipated that by 2025 Pulkovo airport will handle around 17 million passengers annually, plans have been laid out to build a new mid-field terminal extension directly to the north of Terminal 1 (domestic); it is planned to initially contain 18 gates, with the option of later extend the terminal by means of a mid-apron pier. Construction began in November 2010, and is scheduled to complete in 2013.
There is a regular, 24/7, rapid-bus transit connection (marshrutka) between Pulkovo airport and the city center.
Dmitri Shostakovich was born and brought up in Saint Petersburg, and dedicated his Seventh Symphony to the city, calling it the "Leningrad Symphony." He wrote the symphony while in Leningrad during the German siege. The 7th symphony was premiered in 1942; its performance in the besieged Leningrad at the Bolshoy Philharmonic Hall under the baton of conductor Karl Eliasberg was heard over the radio and lifted the spirits of the survivors. In 1992 a reunion performance of the 7th Symphony by the (then) 14 survivors was played in the same hall as they done half a century ago. The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra remained one of the best known symphony orchestras in the world under the leadership of conductors Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov.
The Imperial Choral Capella was founded and modeled after the royal courts of other European capitals.
Over 250 international and Russian movies were filmed in Saint Petersburg. Well over a thousand feature films about tsars, revolution, people and stories set in Saint Petersburg were produced worldwide, but were not filmed in the city. First film studios were founded in Saint Petersburg in the 20th century, and since the 1920s Lenfilm has been the largest film studio based in Saint Petersburg. The first foreign feature movie filmed entirely in Saint Petersburg was the 1997 production of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean, and made by international team of British, American, French and Russian filmmakers.
Saint Petersburg has a longstanding and world famous tradition in literature. Dostoyevsky called it “The most abstract and intentional city in the world," emphasizing its artificiality, but it was also a symbol of modern disorder in a changing Russia. It frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and inhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrey Bely. According to Lotman in his chapter, 'The Symbolism of Saint Petersburg' in Universe and the Mind, these writers were inspired from symbolism from within the city itself. The effect of life in Saint Petersburg on the plight of the poor clerk in a society obsessed with hierarchy and status also became an important theme for authors such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. Another important feature of early Saint Petersburg literature is its mythical element, which incorporates urban legends and popular ghost stories, as the stories of Pushkin and Gogol included ghosts returning to Saint Petersburg to haunt other characters as well as other fantastical elements, creating a surreal and abstract image of Saint Petersburg.
20th-century writers from Saint Petersburg, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Ayn Rand, Andrey Bely and Yevgeny Zamyatin, along with his apprentices, The Serapion Brothers, created entire new styles in literature and contributed new insights to the understanding of society through their experience in this city. Anna Akhmatova became an important leader for Russian poetry. Her poem Requiem focuses on the tragedies of living during the time of the Stalinist terror. Another notable 20th-century writer from Saint Petersburg is Joseph Brodsky, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987). While living in the United States, his writings in English reflected on life in Saint Petersburg from the unique perspective of being both an insider and an outsider to the city in essays such as, "A Guide to a Renamed City" and the nostalgic "In a Room and a Half".
The crime dynamic in Saint Petersburg is tightly associated with the general social situation in the country. A sharp spike in the crime level occurred at the end of the 1980s – beginning of the 1990s as a result of Perestroika-time turmoils (redistribution of property, privatization, decline of living standards, decrease of the effectiveness of militia etc.) By that time the city had fallen under the control of a number of organized criminal groups such as Tambov Gang, Malyshev Gang, Kazan Gang and ethnic criminal groups, engaged in racket, extortion, paying off local government, and violent clashes with each other.
According to official sources the number of crimes committed by foreigners in Saint Petersburg in 2010 increased by 11.1%. Law enforcement authorities consider it is associated with an increased number of people from some CIS republics who live in Saint Petersburg illegally. On the other hand, some media reported that in recent years there had been a notable increase in racially motivated violence, in particular towards foreign students. One of the notable white supremacist groups, Belaya Energia (White Energy, inspired by US "White Power" groups) has reportedly been one of the gangs involved in murdering foreign university students.
The official portal of the Government of St. Petersburg provided data on significant improvements in the crime situation. In particular, it is reported the number of crimes against tourists has decreased by more than half during 2009–2011.
In 2012, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs warned LGBT travellers about a vaguely worded law in St. Petersburg (which came into effect on March 17, 2012) that makes it a criminal offence to publicize acts of male or female homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism. It is purportedly designed to protect minors. A Russian travel advisory on the Foreign Affairs website notes that while homosexuality is legal in Russia (it was decriminalized in 1993), LGBT Canadian travellers should avoid "displaying affection in public, as homosexuals can be targets of violence… Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays or conspicuous behaviour) contradicting or appearing to contradict this law may lead to arrest, prosecution and the imposition of a fine."
Milan and Venice were formerly twin cities of Saint Petersburg, but suspended this link due to St Petersburg's ban on "gay propaganda". Milan suspend the relationship with Saint Petersburg on 23 November 2012  and Venice did so on 28 January 2013. The City of Los Angeles will debate whether to suspend the sister city status in 2013  and Carl Katter, half-brother of Australian politician Bob Katter, is campaigning for Melbourne, Vic., to drop ties as well.