By Gary Marsh
June 20, 2018 6:29am CST
This port was the port I was most looking forward to visiting and it surpassed my expectations. I did quite a bit of research before we went so I knew exactly the places I wanted to visit. I found a local tour company that would fulfill all the sites I wanted to see. It was to be quite a hectic tour but it managed to fit all those places over two days. It was pretty tiring as our day started around 06:00 ending 23:00 on the first day the second day was 05:00 finishing at 17:00 but boy was it worth it. I have thought about how to write about the places we saw so I will describe them individually on separate posts. For starters do not believe the cruise company that you have to buy tours with them because of the visa requirements for Russia. This is not true as the tour company will arrange the visa for you they supply your details to the immigration authorities. Immigration was a nightmare to go through and took us nearly 2 hours. The immigration officers are quite intimidating in as much as they do not smile at all and barely speak to you. Don't be put off by this as this is common practice. So without further ado I will talk about the Peter and Paul fortress. This is where St Petersburg all began when Peter the Great decided to make St. Petersburg the capital of Russia. He built a wooden fort on an island on the river Neva. The surrounding lands were mainly bog lands so there was some difficulty with construction of the buildings. The first fort was built of wood. He lived in a wooden hut while the fort was built. Later the fort was made with stone. One of the first buildings to be erected was a church however it had burned down a couple of times until the present cathedral replaced it. The cathedral can be seen for miles around because of its spire which is very tall at 404 feet (123 meters), It is the oldest and tallest building in St Petersburg. Inside the cathedral it is exquisitely decorated with a massive gold icon stasis and looks very beautiful. There are no seats in the Cathedral as it is thought that you are in the presence of God and no one should sit in his presence. This is a Russian Orthodox church and supposedly the mother church of Russian orthodoxy. It has been used as a prison in fact Peter the Greats son Paul was incarcerated here as its first prisoner after it was discovered he had conspired to overthrow Peter. He was sentenced to death and tortured but died before the sentence could be carried out. Nearly all the Russian Royal family are buried in tombs inside the Cathedral including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and the last Tsar Nicholas II and his family who were murdered following the revolution in 1918 and were brought back to St.Petersburg and interred inside the cathedral. Is it worth a visit. Yes absolutely if you are interested in the Royal family and the beginnings of St. Petersburg as the one time Capital of Russia. It was also Petrograd and Leningrad in honour of Lenin but changed back to St. Petersburg .
11 people like this
• United Kingdom
@rebelann The Russians were not as destructive as the Islamic invasion of Turkey or India where they smashed historical buildings, temples and pillaged palaces etc. There is a vast amount of wealth and priceless objets D'Art that are irreplaceable as the Romanov's were prolific collectors of art. .
Have you got a photo of your tour guide? If so, can you send it to me? We had several Russian language assistants in our secondary grammar schools where Russian is taught as a foreign language. Some of them lived in our house during the year they were here. I know that one young woman was from St Petersburg. When she returned home she founded a company for individual city tours. So it's possible that you met her.
• United Kingdom
This is the Family Tomb of Tzar Nicholas II of Russia his wife the Tzarina and their five children who were executed after the Russian Revolution in 1917. They were all shot in Yekaterinburg and their bodies thrown into a pit and chemicals poured on them to help dissolve the bodies but the skeletons remained. The skeletons were only found and interred in this little chapel inside the Cathedral in 1998. This year it will be 100 years since they were murdered on July 17th.
• United Kingdom
Yes we went on a cruise too Lany. If you are on a cruise they organise the visa for you as long as you are there less than 72 hours. The tour firm adds you to a manifest and present it to immigration so you are already on the list. You would love it there.