News / Europe

St. Petersburg Tops Moscow as Russia's Leading Tourist Destination

St. Petersburg Tops Moscow as Russia's Leading Tourist Destinationi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
August 27, 2012 7:34 PM
St. Petersburg was built to be Russia’s window on Europe. Now it is becoming the world’s window on Russia. Coming by train, plane and cruise ship, more than 6 million tourists this year are expected to visit St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital. VOA's James Brooke report that is more than the tourist flow to Moscow, the nation’s business and government capital.
James Brooke
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — St. Petersburg was built to be Russia’s window on Europe. Now it is becoming the world’s window on Russia. Coming by train, plane and cruise ship, more than six million tourists this year are expected to visit St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital. That is more than the tourist flow to Moscow, the nation’s business and government capital.

With its waterways and canals, St. Petersburg has long been called the "Venice of the North." Now, with visitors outnumbering inhabitants, Russia’s second-largest city may one day rival Italy's Venice in tourism flow.

Emilia came here from Rome to check out Europe’s hot new destination. She said she was surprised by the quantity of things to see and the helpfulness of local people.

St. Petersburg recently opened the world’s largest cruise ship port of call, capable of handling seven ships at a time. In contrast to Russia’s image of tight government controls, foreign cruise passengers now can visit St. Petersburg for three days without visas.

Peter the Great founded the city three centuries ago and it has been witness to a considerable amount of Russian history.

Once the seat of the Czars, the Winter Palace was stormed by the Bolsheviks in 1917. Now, it is the Hermitage Museum, one of the best art museums in the world.

Anya, a Russian tourist, said she loves the history. She said she likes visiting the Czarist palaces and seeing the old costumes on display.

In 1883, Czar Alexander III ordered construction of The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood on the exact spot where his father, Czar Alexander II, had been killed by an anarchist bomb.

Katya, from Uzbekistan, was exploring the church, when she stopped to talk. She said visitors may be wearing jeans and sneakers, but they feel as if they are in the 18th century.

At the airport here, international arrivals are up 25 percent this year. Planning for more growth, officials broke ground last year on a $1.5 billion project to build the region’s largest airport.

This is part of a bigger investment flow directed by two local sons of St. Petersburg - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Katya said the effort shows, and that there has been a huge amount of restoration, which makes the city shine.

Whether they come by new high-speed train from Helsinki or Moscow, or by one of the 200 cruise ships expected to dock here this year, visitors to St. Petersburg say they find a quality not often associated with Russia - friendliness and fun.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid