Population: 4.9 million
Area code: +7 812
Currency: Russian Ruble, click here for the exchange rate
Public transit: ground transportation (buses, trams, trolleybuses, shuttle taxis), the Metro, water taxis
Emergency phone numbers: 01 for Emergencies Ministry, 02 for police, 03 for ambulance
St. Petersburg, the largest major city this far north, is acclaimed as one of the finest cities in Russia and Europe. Founded in 1703 on the banks of the Neva where it flows into the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire the whole time while the Empire existed. St. Petersburg became a kind of a window on Europe for Russia and, conversely, St. Petersburg is this window through which the world can see all of Russia.
The General Staff building, a prominent architectural landmark in the very centre of St. Petersburg, was designed by Carlo Rossi and built in 1820–1830. Erected across from the imperial residence – the Winter Palace – the magnificent classical edifice of the General Staff completed the harmonious look of Palace Square and its status as the administrative heart of the imperial capital. The westerly wing of the building housed the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, while the easterly wing was reserved for the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire.
On display in the rooms of the General Staff are numerous notable specimens of Russian and European painting, sculpture and applied arts from the 19th though 21st centuries.
The State Hermitage was rated the best museum in Europe and one of the world’s top three in 2016. When they visit St. Petersburg, many international travellers admit that the Hermitage alone “makes it worthwhile to visit Russia and St. Petersburg.”
The business programme of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum has been hosted by the General Staff Affiliate of the State Hermitage every year for five years. We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the State Hermitage - it inspires us to set sights on new, greater goals.
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation occupies a complex of historical buildings by the Bronze Horseman, the emblematic statue in the centre of the former imperial capital. One building is the former seat of the Governing Senate, the supreme authority of the Russian Empire reporting personally to the Emperor. The other two buildings are the former Countess Lavalle Mansion, and the former Borkhov-Polyakov boarding house.
The Senate itself is an architectural landmark of late Classicism. Built in the early 19th century, it was the last major project of the great Carlo Rossi. This was one of the prime loci of St. Petersburg’s cultural life in the first half of the 19th century. In 1909 the building was sold to the Treasury to create liquidity to cover the Senate’s needs. Soon after 1917, it was re-subordinated to the Central Archives Authority.
These buildings underwent a massive renovation after the official decision was firmed up in 2006 for the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation to relocate to St. Petersburg. The renovation, completed in record time, included the fullest and most accurate restoration of the historical interiors. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation convened for its first session in the former Senate building on 27 May 2008.
The building that today is the Philharmonic Hall was designed by P. Jacqeau for the Nobility Assembly of St. Petersburg in 1839.
Known for its impeccable acoustics, the 1500-seat audience room has remained the musical heart of St. Petersburg since the late 1840s. Some of the greatest composers and musicians of the 19th century played here: Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Anton Rubinstein, Clara Schumann, Pauline Viardot, Pablo de Sarasate, and many others. Many works of the Russian classical composers – Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov, among others – premiered here.
The Petrograd Philharmonic officially opened on 12 June 1921.
The Grand Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic is one of the best concert spaces in Europe. It is an honour and a privilege to play here. The names on Philharmonic advertisements have changed, and much has changed overall in its concert activity in the past decades. Yet it remains, in the words of the famous Russian literary historian and actor Irakly Andronnikov, “one of the best places on earth.”
Ulitsa Rubinsteina, or Rubinstein Street, is, as it were, St. Petersburg’s “restaurant row” and possibly the restaurant “main street” of all Russia. The street emerged in the 1740s, when a wood-paved passage was built, linking Nevsky Prospekt with Zagorodny Prospekt. Ulitsa Rubinsteina is today a name-brand par excellence, mentioned in songs and guidebooks.
A series of cool theme events, prepared by SPILF friends and partners, will be taking place in Ulitsa Rubinsteina again this year, the third time in a row.
Vitebsky was the first train station to be built in Russia, and is quite possibly the finest one. The earliest, single-story building of the station was constructed in 1837 for Russia’s first railway, linking St. Petersburg with the Tsar’s residence in the suburb of Tsarskoe Selo.
One of St. Petersburg’s five railway terminals, Vitebsky Station is an architectural gem that never fails to impress visitors. The art deco building is on record as a world heritage landmark of great artistic value.