St. Petersburg

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in St. Petersburg

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Built along the banks of the Neva River, Russia’s second city is spectacularly beautiful, with immense neoclassical palaces painted in pastel colors and a skyline punctuated by the glinting golden domes of Orthodox churches. Constructed on approximately 40 islands in the Neva estuary, it has a remarkable network of canals spanned by 342 major bridges. The city also contains one of the world’s greatest museums, the State Hermitage Museum (or just “the Hermitage”), which houses more than 3 million works of art and the Russian imperial regalia. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, St. Petersburg was regarded as a place tainted by Westernization, and in Soviet eyes it was only rehabilitated by the epic 900-day siege in World War II, during which 1.2 million citizens perished (40 percent of the prewar population).