What are you dreaming of, Aurora the cruiser?..

This is a line from a very popular song of the Soviet time. It is dedicated to probably the most famous Russian ship, cruiser Aurora. Why is she so important for our history and what made her so popular?

Now she is ranked ship number one of the Russian fleet. She is a symbol, a legend, a myth and a curse. She was kept by the one she was named after. She outlived the other ships of her kind by 100 years and it looks is doomed to be immortal.

There is a tradition in Russian fleet to name new ships after the old ones that have already served their term. So the first rank cruiser Aurora was named after a vessel with the same name. According to a legend, the first ship was named either after a goddess of dawn or after a very beautiful woman.

Aurora cruiser was founded in May 1897, and she was launched In May 1900. She was the “younger sister” of cruisers “Diana” and “Pallas”. The sailors were quite skeptical about these three goddesses, as they had many construction disadvantages and broke quite often.

Aurora’s angel protected her. Firstly, it saved her during the Tsushima battle when the cruiser was undoubtedly doomed to death. Aurora was hit 18 times, 15 sailors were dead and 82 wounded.

In 1906-1914, she was used to train Russian sailors abroad.

During World War I, a German submarine discovered two Russian cruisers: “Aurora” and “Pallas” (not the elder sister but the one created after the destruction of the previous one). The submarine captain decided to aim at the newer and more dangerous cruiser and Aurora had time to escape.

In 1917, the order to drown Aurora in order not to let Germans reach our city was issued. The crew did not obey the order and in a few months the October uprising occurred.

In the same year, she fired one blank shot that was a signal to start the revolution and to take the Winter palace, residence of Russian tsars. Owing to that later it became one of the symbols of the uprising.

Up to 1923, Aurora was in reserve. From 1923 up to 1941, she was a training ship. In 1927, she got the order of the red flag. The communist government hoped that she would continue to protect the October revolution and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1941, the government wanted to destroy the ship but the war started. During World War II, the cruiser protected our city.

In 1956, a museum was opened there. . In 1968, the cruiser was awarded with the order of the October revolution.

In 2013, she was given back to the Russian fleet.

Since 2014, the cruiser was under restoration. She came back in the morning of 16 July 2016 as the true goddess of dawn.

The exposition has changed. Before 2016, it showed only the victory of the 1917 revolution. Now you can find information about the ship history prior to the famous Aurora shot of 1917. Therefore, even if you have already been in Saint Petersburg, we are sure you have not seen this exhibition yet. We would only like to mention that this museum is not wheelchair friendly.

The Faberge Museumhas the world-class collection of Faberge Masterpieces (including 14 Easter Eggs), gift boxes, Russian enamels etc.The collection is situated in 9 beautiful rooms of Shuvalov Palace. It was opened in November 2013 and was founded by the “Link of Times” Cultural Historical Foundation, established by Russian entrepreneur Viktor Vekselbergto repatriate lost cultural treasures to Russia.

The fourth tallest dome construction in the world. St Isaac’s Cathedral used to be the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Russian Empire. The enormous decoration of the interior of the cathedral, was created in the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.Gilded bronze, malachite and lapis lazuli together with countless paintings, columns, mosaics, will take your breath away.

One of the best private palaces in the Europe .Its real gem is a home theater. Outstanding Russian singers and dancers performed there.In this palace young Felix Yusupov, the heir of the family, and other conspirators assassinated Grigory Rasputin.  During a visit to the palace you will learn about the plot of Felix and how it was brought to life.

Peter and Paul Fortress here our city was founded in 1703.Peter the Great started a fortress to protect the lands won back from Sweden. Now it is one of the most important 18th century fortresses in Russia and Europe.St Peter and Paul Cathedral is the burial place of almost all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great up to the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

Many metro station vestibules and platforms are adorned with marble, granite, bas-reliefs and mosaics which makes them look like underground palaces. The very first 10 stations appeared after WWII and have various military and Soviet symbols reminding visitors about the glorious victory over Nazi Germany. Owing to the city’s swampy subsoil, most of the lines were built extremely deep underground.

Peterhof is definitely “a must-see” for any first-time visitor to St Petersburg.It is often called the “Russian Versailles”: it is a real “kingdom of fountains” and true paradise for little children (as well as adults) with amazing cascades, a variety of unique and playful fountains, Grand Peterhof Palace, and other small ones.

Catherine Palace Is a must to visit. Inside you will find a succession of interconnecting rooms in Baroque style and somewhere in the middle of that enfilade is the famous Amber Room which was called by contemporaries “the eighth wonder of the world”. The palace was badly damaged during WWII and amber panels were stolen by the Nazi. But they started restoration in 1979 and finished it in 2003.

St Petersburg Siege Memorialcommemorates the hardship that Leningrad‘s (the soviet name of our city) citizens endured during the siege which lasted 900 days (1941-1943) and took away about 1.5 mln lives. The most striking part of the memorial are the tableaux of soviet citizens facing south towards the enemy. It was designed to be viewed from a distance. In the subterranean memorial hall are relics from the siege.

Offers fresh food from all over the former Soviet Union: melons, tomatoes, farmhouse honey, pickles, sour cream, ham and gherkins, not to mention imports such as kiwi fruit. Most vendors offer the chance to taste a sliver before buying. Outside the market are “babushkas” (pensioners) who sell things they have grown at their dacha (summer cottage) or gathered in the forest.

Hermitage Museum one of the most important and oldest museums in the world. It has one of the largest collections of paintings. If you spent one minute viewing each exhibit of the Museum it would take you11 years to see everything. The collection of the French Impressionists is exhibited in the General staff building which is located opposite the Winter Palace.

Most famous for almost 21,000m² of mosaics that cover both the interior and the façade of the building. The mosaics were created in Russia, which makes them even more valuable. It is the only building in our citybuilt in the style of Moscow churches. The church was built on the place where Alexander II was assassinated, hence the name.

St Petersburg boat tours offer a perfect way to see the city under a bit different angle – sailing under numerous bridges along rivers and canals, and listening to curious stories from your guide. St Petersburg boat tours are especially majestic during the White Nights season in St Petersburg.

Alexander Palace was commissioned by Catherine II for her grandson, future Russian tsar Alexander I and later became the summer home of a succession of Imperial heirs, each of whom left their mark on the building.