On the first post in St Petersburg, Russia (Part 1), I have introduced 7 top things to do in St Petersburg, Russia. Including renowned Hermitage, Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, the spectacular Neva River and Cruise ride plus many more… Now will be the following 8 things to do in St Petersburg, Russia! 🙂
8) Kazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral, also know as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan! Dedicated to the Lady of Kazan (Virgin Mary) as the protector and patroness of the city of Kazan (ancient capital of Russia)! Built in 1800s to follow the Vatican City’s Basilica of St.Peter Square!
This cathedral also served as a monument to Russian’s victory over Napoleon in 1812.
9) Peter and Paul Cathedral
You will be surprised the tallest building in many cities are actually the hotels or commercial buildings! Apparently, this is not the case for St Petersburg! The Peter and Paul Cathedral is actually one of the highest building in the city! It can be easily recognisable by it’s glided needle-like spire rising bell tower!
This is also the place where you can see the graves of the Romanov rulers (Russian dynasty)! You must hear the Acapella Orthodox singing! It was an amazing experience to listen to the beautiful chords! The church was absolutely stunning! Perhaps, there was quite a number of tombs that I saw in the church, I sort of let my mind run wild! haha
10) Russian Ballet @ Mariinsky Theatre
Alright, you are in Russia! What comes to your mind if I ask you about Russian classic performance arts? Of course you will say Black Swan (Swan Lake – actual name for one of the famous ballet performance), especially after Natalie Portman’s movie in 2010! It was VERY expensive and I paid Euro250 approximately SGD$400 for catching a classical ballet in Russia!
You must be thinking I was crazy! Well, it’s up to individual but in my opinion that was a real treat! Russian is renowned as the pinnacle of ballet!!! Even though it was originally from Italy! Today, you will think of the Russian when people discussed about ballet? Isn’t it? (Apologise for the blurry photos) haha
It was a phenomenal and exquisite ballet performance with excellent music in a majestic building! For me, it was an once in a lifetime experience, so I decided to go for it and had a great time being “artistic”. haha There were breaks for you to catch some drinks and have some high quality discussions or exchange with your friends! haha
11) Russian Folklore Dance – (Feel Yourself Russian) at The Nikolaevsky Palace
Again, Russia may not be a country that you can visit many times in your life! (except if you are from Russian-allied countries). During my brief visit to this amazing place, I had a refueling experience to a fresh new culture and had heaps of fun from their traditional folklore dances!
It was a fun immersion into the Russian folklore dance and singing! Firstly, to begin with, the palace was gorgeous and spectacular with a back in ancient time feel!
Secondly, the show was professional, entertaining and came with a real good twist to both cultural history and folk dances! You could feel the dancers’ passion and love their energy and enthusiasm to put up a good show! LOVED IT! 🙂
Lastly, they sell souvenirs and DVDs. They also served drinks and finger food during the intermission. My personal tips is to go in early because it was a first come first served basis. I was busy taking photos and chatting with some locals at the grand hall before entering, hence I missed the “good” seats! haha Dont commit the same mistake as me when you are there… 🙂
12) Victory Square (The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad)
This is very sad part of the history of Lenigrad (St Petersburg during World War I). A place I couldn’t hold my tears, a place I will never forget, a place that gave me a lesson in life – never take peace for granted! Victory Square is the home to the The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, which commemorates the victims and survivors of the Siege of Leningrad (1941 to 1944)!
I shall not dwell too much on the terrible and horrific history of 900 days Siege of Leningrad now in this post. if you wish to read up more you may check it out yourself. Click here to checkout the story from wikipedia!
The external wall of the monument is decorated with sculptures of soldiers and sailors who did not surrender to the Nazis despite the mass starvation, extreme cold harsh weather and constant threats from the bombardments.
The interior lies a vast underground memorial hall, with exhibition devoted to the Siege of Leningrad. There were English audio guides and short documentary to explain to me this terrible part of the history in Leningrad (St Petersburg). I truly appreciate and grateful for this part of my experience in Russia!
13) Little Italy Trattoria
As mentioned, the architectural in St Petersburg felt very much like Rome, due to the Roman Catholicism of Russian history! If there is any country in the World where the tug of Roman ideal can be felt, it’s only in Russia!
When you are in St Petersburg, do visit the Little Italy, a small simple and yet relaxed little Trattoria (Italian-Theme) with nice ice-cream, pizzas and pastas! There were various vegetarian options in this little Trattoria. Simply Yummy! 🙂
14) Shopping in St Petersburg
You need to be extra careful when you do shopping in Russia!!! A common trick is using this kind of tactic…
Get it? No? A common sales tactics is to use pretty Russian women to feed you with “free” Russian Champansky or Volka!!! haha… When I say it’s “free”, it means you gotta pay back many times more for that! A few sips of the Champansky will get you to see some stars in the universe! haha I was fortunate to know the trick and walked out immediately! I have an Aussie friend who bought Euro700 worth of sourvenirs from this shop! haha WOW right? Yea… this is the power of Russian girls + Russian alcohol! So be CAUTIOUS! 🙂
That being said, shopping in the cute little shops or stall in St Petersburg can be very fun too… 🙂
15) Russian Vegetarian Food
Okay, some harsh fact for vegetarians sourcing in Russia! It may sound harsh to you and to the non vegetarians out there as well. The harsh reality is… you never heard anything about Russian cuisine right? So sadly, the Russians eat to live, they do not live to eat! Unlike Italians, Americans or Asians I would say… it’s still a harsh life to many in Russia!
When it comes to food, whether be it vegetarian or non vegetarian. It’s a blessing to be able to eat. People do not understand the concept of vegetarianism. haha I survived very much on tomatoes and cucumbers throughout the 2 weeks in Russia. haha Sometimes, I relied on foreign theme restaurants i.e. Japanese or Italian restaurant for vegetarian options.
Well, I hope you like my 15 things to do in Russia! 🙂 I also hope after reading this, you probably will break the wall, start applying your visa and make your way to this amazing country! As mentioned, St Petersburg is one of my favourite city in the world! I would say if you like Italy, you will like St Petersburg even more, because it’s clearly a much cleaner and organised city than Italy. haha 🙂
Last but not least, hope there will be more “pinned” visitors from Singapore in future! 🙂
To return to Part 1 –> https://www.travelinspiration360.com/look-behind-wall-st-petersburg-russia-part-1
“Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.” – Dalai Lama