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Last week I visited Saint Petersburg (Russia, known as Leningrad during the communist era). Five years ago I visited this city for the first time. That visit also was the first time I visited Eastern-Europe, and it was there that I became fascinated about this rapidly changing part of the world.

Back then, the city was beaitiful but in a very bad state. Buildings were decrepit, the streets had huge potholes, Lada's dominated the streets.

So after five years I found it time to go back. How would the city look nowadays? From visits to other Russian cities in the last couple of years I already knew that this part of the world is developing with a very impressive speed. That also turned out to be the case for St. Petersburg: large parts of the city have been beautifully restored, Werstern cars dominate the streets and the city centre is filled with expensive shops.

But no matter in which state the city is, St. Petersburg will always remain a wonderful city. The city was founded in 1703 by czar Peter the Great, who wanted a city near the sea to build a Russian seafleet. The city's layout was based on Amsterdam, with many canals. The Russians seemingly were less impressed by the modest Dutch architecture, so Italian architects were hired. The city was built in a very short timeframe, which explains why the entire city centre is filled with similar, impressive buildings in soft colours.

I also visited the suburbs. I'm always fascinated by suburbs in former communist countries. One one hand there's the bland, "commie block" architecture, but on the other hand the areas are much more lively than suburbs in Western countries. They're full of shops, kiosks, etc (where you can buy CD's for 2 euros ;) ). But also there areas are changing at a rapid pace and new shopping malls are mushrooming.

1. Squares in Russia are often very impressive. This is the one in front of the Hermitage, the former czar's palace which is now one of the world's most impressive museums.


2. This is the Hermitage, built along the Neva river.


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4. The church you see is located inside the fortress where the city was founded.


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7. De Izaac-cathedral


8. Church of the Savior on Blood


9. Once again the square in front of the Hermitage, in different weather conditions.


10. Nice stairs inside the Hermitage.


11. Nevsky Prospekt, the Peterburgian (?) equivalent of the Champs-Elysee.


12. During the last couple of years the city streets changed into one huge traffic jam.


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14. Some traffic light installations can be manually controlled.


15. Baltiskaya station


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21. A busy traffic square along the "Nevsky"


22. Once again Nevsky Prospekt


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24. Into the suburbs. The next couple of pics were made at a metro station where a lot of connections to bus and tram lines exist. It is a very lively place.


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26. Tram lines mostly serve the suburbs.


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31. Some pics from another suburb, which we visited by a rented bicycle. Cycling is a great way to visit the suburbs. Cycling in the city centre is an... ehh.. adventure.


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35. And finally a nice pic of the Neva river.


Hope you enjoyed it! :cheers:
 

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btw, I've been to this area also :)


It's the district close to Staraya Derevnya metro station, and these are the commiblocks along the Savushkina St.
 

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And first suburb is Prosveschenia - I'm living here :)
You're right. I'm not need to go to center everyday. All that I want I have here - many malls, bowlings, billiard, cinema etc...
 
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