Saint Petersburg

Between 1924 and 1991, which city was known as Leningrad?

And the answer: Saint Petersburg.

Photo credit: Legion Media. 

Now the second largest city in Russia, Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great. At the outbreak of World War I, the city was renamed Petrograd, and later renamed in honor of Vladimir Lenin. When the USSR dissolved in 1991, the city's original name of Saint Petersburg was restored.    

Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter I in 1703. And no, he didn't just name the city for himself— the Tsar actually named it after his patron saint, the apostle Saint Peter. After going by Petrograd and Leningrad for several decades, the city’s name finally reverted back to Saint Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Saint Petersburg actually used to be Russia's capital city. Just 10 years after the city was founded, Saint Petersburg became Russia’s new capital city in 1712. Aside from a brief, four-year hiatus, the city would remain the country’s capital for the next 200 years. It wasn't until the Revolution of 1917, when the country started to cut itself off from its imperial history, that Moscow regained its title as Russia’s capital city.

What's more: Saint Petersburg used to be an inhospitable marsh. In order to connect Russia to the rest of Europe, Tsar Peter I ordered a yearly conscription of 40,000 serfs to build up the city— from scratch. Today, over 300 bridges crisscross the past-marshland.

Even though Moscow remains the political capital of Russia, Saint Petersburg's over 8,000 landmarks make it the cultural center of the country. One of the most notable sites to explore in Saint Petersburg is the State Hermitage Museum, which houses over 3 million pieces of art and cultural artifacts. With around 400 rooms spread across 3 floors throughout 5 interlinked buildings, the museum alone could take months (or even years) to properly see.

Learn more about Saint Petersburg here.


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