Saint Petersburg is a cultural capital of Russia and has got many beautiful places to visit. Many of them are listed in the guidebooks. But some of them you won’t find there – here we are talking exactly about them.
Vyborg is located in the middle of the forests of the Leningrad region and looks right exatly at the Baltic Sea. Vyborg is really one of the secret places near Saint Petersburg. If we are talking about the architecture, Vyborg is totally a European city. And not only due to it’s architecture and people but also due to specific atmosphere, what is supported by many Finnish tourists who come to spend a weekend in the city. By the way Vyborg city was the third most populous in Finland in 1939.
An incredible mix of styles and eras gives Vyborg bright medieval character, which strongly supports local entrepreneurs and the administration – authentic restaurants with a distinctive interior, various excursions, lots of thematic exhibitions and festivals. If you come here in the summer, you can take part in a jousting tournament and try on historic clothing.
The history of Vyborg starts at 1293, when the Swedes captures lands along the coast of the Gulf of Finland and built a stone castle on a small island. Along the perimeter of the island there is a wall with thickness of up to 2 meters and a high tower, named after the Scandinavian Baptist St. Olaf was placed at the center of the island. Today, you can climb at the observation deck to enjoy postcard views of Vyborg from height of 48 meters.
Very soon the city was captured by russian emperior Peter I. 1710 began a new phase in the cities history. By the end of the century a appear dominants appears there that shows a Russian presence in the formerly Swedish lands.
So how to get to Vyborg?
It is easy. Just set on the train from Finlandskiy vokzal and you’ll be in Vyborg in 1.5 hour. The price of the ticket is aroud 300 rubles (around 5 euros).
Gatchina – one of the largest city in the Leningrad region, a capital of Gatchina district.The city located in 8 km south-west of St. Petersburg. Gatchina is another one secret places near Saint Petersburg. The first mention of the village with the name Hotchino was appeared in chronicles in 1500. At the beginning of XVII century the settlement area came to Sweden, and after the end of North War again began to belong to the Russian state.
Gatchina was a city where new and advanced technologies of that time first time introduced. Here in late XIX – early XX centuries a first railway was constructed, first submarine tested, first airport for military purposes opens and a first electric lights in Russia.
What to see in Gatchina
The central attraction of the city – Big Gatchina palace and park belonging to the palace complex. Seeing a monument to Emperor Paul I and visiting the Palace, be sure to go down into the underground passage. The corridor of the underground passage, a hundred and thirty meters long, covered with natural limestone and illuminated by four round windows, arranged in arches. Thanks to the good acoustics echo here repeats up to four syllables.
Also be sure to visit Gatchina Priory Palace and park. The palace was built in 1799 by architect Nikolai Lvov by order of Emperor Paul as the residence of the Prior of the Order of Malta, settled in Russia because of Napoleon.
Staraya Ladoga small village in the Leningrad region with a population of 2000 people. Hypation Chronicle claims that 862 local residents invite Varangian Rurik to defend their land from the raids, and he sat down to reign in Staraya Ladoga, turning it into the first capital of Russia. So Staraya Ladoga is really one of the secret places near Saint Petersburg.
The main attraction of the Old Ladoga – the fortress, located in a picturesque location on the bank of the Volkhov. It was laid by Rurik. The oldest building of the fortress – church of St. George XII century.
On the territory of the Dormition Monastery there is another cathedral that has been preserved from the XII century. Such proximity of the two monuments of that time makes Staraya Ladoga unique place in the North-West of Russia.
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