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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid