There is a place in St Petersburg which bears the name of “Islands” since the XVIII century named Elagin Island. The Islands remained almost untouched by rapidly developing urban construction and preserved a peaceful charm, being a favorite place of rest and relaxation for the inhabitants of St Petersburg, inspiring poets and artists with its landscapes.

The northern one of these islands is Elagin. Elagin Island Palace and Park Ensemble is the only one of the Islands preserved in its entirety and not disturbed by later reconstruction The ensemble occupies the whole territory of the island and covering 96 hectares, including 9 artificial ponds. The western cape of the island is facing the Gulf of Finland (with amazing sunsets), the eastern one the division of two branches of Neva River.

The very first owner of the Elagin Island was Peter the Great’s diplomat Shafirov. After that island changed hands between many owners including a secret husband of Catherine II, Count Potyomkin (he bought it in 1777 with the help of the Empress hoping noone could disturb their seclusion, but because of coolness of their relations he sold island to Ivan Elagin in the same year).

Elagin had an outstanding literature talent, wrote poetry, translated (supposedly it was he who corrected the style for the works of Empress written in Russian). It was in the times of Elagin when the construction of the manor began (about 1783).

During 13 years after death of Elagin the island has changed between 3 owners and at last, when it became property of the Romanov royal family, Italian architect Rossi reconstructed Elagin’s manor turning it in to lovely summer palace for Maria Fyodorovna, widow of Paul I and mother of Alexander I. The widowed empress had her favorite residence in Pavlovsk, but over the course of time it became more and more difficult for her to get there (Pavlovsk is situated approximately 28 kilometers from the downtown of St Petersburg).

Young Rossi managed to change the island having subordinated everything to a common artistic idea. He worked on Elagin Island in collaboration with a group of splendid architects, sculptors, and masters of applied arts. Currently the Park and Palace include numerous places of interest including: an ensemble which is teaching young children and adults various ballroom dances in the beautiful rooms of the palace which are now museum halls), service buildings such as the Kitchen (a true architectural masterpiece), the Stable , The Orangery (which now includes absolutely magnificent exhibition of the St Petersburg Glass Factory), park pavilions – Musical, Pavilion under a flag, Guardhouse and the park of course. The park designed by English garden master Joseph Bush and gardener / botanist Buk who became (and still remains) a favorite place of walks and recreation by citizens and visitors of all ages who are in St Petersburg.

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.