The Northern Capital of Russia
|Photo credit: http://ru.wikipedia.org/|
Have you known that Russia – the biggest country in the world according to its territory has got two capitals? Yes, yes we are not mistaken. It is considered that there are two capitals in the Russian Federation: the 1st one is the main capital – the city of Moscow and the other one is its Northern capital – the city of Saint-Petersburg.
The Northern capital of Russia that is situated on River Neva celebrates its anniversary every May, as the history of this fascinating city started on the 16th (27th) of May in 1703. In the year of 1703, the czar Peter I laid the Fortress Sankt-Piter-Burch on the reconquered land from the Swedes. As a result the city got the same name.
For Russia those times were difficult times as it was the 3rd year of the Northern War with Sweden. At that moment the young Russian Army were reconquering the lands from Sweden which had been occupied by the Swedes in the 17th century. Observing the banks of the Neva with pleasure Peter I was thinking how to block the entrance to the river for the Swedes. The tsar Peter I was simply in love with that place: a mighty river, hundreds of islands and dozens of channels. He used to call that picturesque place a paradise. And exactly there Peter I decided to lay the fortress that would have to become a so-called barrier against the Swedes. At first the tsar even had not thought about the construction of the city.
Peter I was known as Peter the Great
|Photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/|
However, the city of Saint-Petersburg was built and was called "New Rome". Even its coat of arms resembled the coat of arms of Vatican as the 1st one had crossed anchors on it and the other one - crossed keys. The anchor being a symbol of salvation and faith also symbolized the young Russian Fleet and showed that the tsar Peter I like the Apostles possessing the keys to heaven was eager to open the doors of his own paradise to Europe.
|Photo credit: http://gov.spb.ru/|
By the way, the modern name of the same Fortress is the Petropavlovskaya Fortress that means the Peter and Paul Fortress, it was renamed this way after the building of the Peter and Paul Cathedral on its territory. The legendary Fortress is located on the island in the city centre on the island that is called "Zayachiy Ostrov" or "Hare's Island".
The Peter & Paul Fortress
Peter I chose the name of the city in honor of the Apostle St. Peter.The initial name of the city Sankt-Piter-Burch was like imitation of the Dutch pronunciation as the Russian czar was a big admirer of Holland, especially Amsterdam that was the most advanced country of that time, the 1st bourgeois republic in the world, and the main sea power. However, in the 1720-s the name Sankt-Piter-Burch was changed to Saint-Petersburg that is very similar to a German one.
Though, soon after the beginning of the World War I the city name was changed and they started to call it Petrograd which means Peter's City. The city started to be called already not in honor of the Apostle St. Peter but in honor of the emperor.
But, in the year of 1924, immediately after the death of the leader of the world proletariat Vladimir Lenin, the city was renamed Leningrad in memory of him.
However, some active social movement for the restoration of the historical city names in Russia created in the middle of the 1980-s returned back the original historical name to the city on the Neva. And since the year of 1990 the city has been called Saint-Petersburg again.
Some more historical facts about St. Petersburg
In 1712 the capital of the Russian Empire was transferred from Moscow to Sain-Petersburg. Simply in the year of 1712 the royal court and after them the main official institutions moved to the city of Saint-Petersburg. And the city officially remained the capital up to 1918. As during the reign of the tsar Peter II, the grandson of Peter I, the capital was returned back to the city of Moscow. That's why nowadays very often they call Saint-Petersburg the Northern capital of Russia, of course not officially.
Diverse and multifaceted St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is like a revived historical novel full of palace coups, intrigues, heroic feats of the city residents during the war times. The city of Saint-Petersburg is simply amazing. It is the most European city among all the other Russian cities and the most Russian among all the European cities.
St. Petersburg fascinates with its fabulous beauty. The city as if is shrouded in a pearly mist which mutes the brightness of its colours a bit and adds a little mystique to it at the same time. The Northern capital can reveal all its innermost secrets only to those who usually stroll along its avenues and side streets visiting all the corners of the city.
After being in the Northern Capital of Russia once, tourists come to it again and again in order to visit its famous theaters , museums, palaces and parks.
In our future Blogger lenses dedicated to St. Petersburg we will tell you in about all the greatest, the most fascinating and enegmatic corners of this great historical city.
Video credit: Andrew Efimov