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Saint Petersburg History, Russia

The Foundation of St. Petersburg

The man responsible for the foundation of St. Petersburg was Peter the Great. St. Petersburg is completely different from any other place in Russia because of his desire to come up with a European city in Russia. When he died in 1725, Russia was considered a principal eastern European state by centralizing the government and modernizing the army. He was very successful at tugging Russia out of the Middle Ages.

The great tsar who had a vision

Peter the Great was born in 1672 and he died in 1725. Peter was the emperor - the tsar - of Russia from 1682 to 1725. He was officially known as Peter I but he gave himself the title Peter the Great. Legend even has it that Peter the Great stood almost 7 feet tall.

Peter the Great became an emperor when he was very young. Everything about Russia's empire was good enough although he stopped at nothing to have it completely improved. Peter the Great sent hundreds of nobles with ambassador eminence to Europe to find out about the life's circumstances there.

Peter the Great immersed himself into the European population acting up as a man from the working class serving his very own delegation -- all that just to feel what it was like to be a commoner.

Finding a new capital city

When he went back to Russia he decided to convert it into something much like Europe. Peter the Great loved Holland and Amsterdam most and he envisioned of bringing their similitude into his own country.

Modernization was greatly on his mind; he at once wanted to sink his teeth into modernizing Russia. He thought of beginning with the then capital city of Moscow but then he realized there was no way of improving Moscow that was definitely Russia’s cultural seat. Then he thought of coming up with a new capital city for the nation because he felt that the old one was too prejudiced by Russia's troubled times of yore.

So Peter the Great decided to set up a new city where he could lay the foundations of his vision. Peter the Great chose a suitable and strategic location at the bank of the Baltic Sea, but all there was to it were swampy marshlands - not really suitable for what he had in mind, so he ordered thousands of peasant to salvage the swampy area by having them cover the area with ground.

The city built on bones

Peter the Great ordered the workers to drain the land by constructing canals. Using forced labor and ordering a grueling work to finish, many of the workers died throughout the work span form exhaustion or getting sick and were just left to be buried and hard pressed beneath the foundations of the reclaimed land. For this reason, St. Petersburg is sometimes referred to The City Built on Bones. Peter the Great then declared this new place as his new capital in 1703 and commanded the merchants, officials and aristocrats to settle there.

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  • tibi60Russian Museum
    travel tip by tibi60 posted more then 30 days ago
    The Russian Museum is a must see when you're visiting Saint Petersburg. They have a huge collection of art, mainly paintings and sculptures, by prominent Russian artists as well as foreigners. It was the first fine arts museum in...
  • tomtumChurch of the Savior on the Spilled Blood
    travel tip by tomtum posted more then 30 days ago
    This incredible building is one of those attractions that you absolutely shouldn't miss when visiting St. Petersburg. At the first glance, it looks more like a giant gingerbread castle than a church, but in fact it is an interesting...
  • lizzy_aAlexander Newskij Monastery
    travel tip by lizzy_a posted more then 30 days ago
    Some of the oldest buildings in Saint Petersburg can be found at this monastery, as well as a cemetery where many of the local celebrities were laid to rest. If you are a fan of classical music, you can pay your respects at the graves of...
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