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June 1, 2006

Architecture and layout

Saint Petersburg is called the Venice of the North, but Peter the Great went to the Netherlands to learn shipbuilding, and named the city with the Dutch name Sankt-Petersburg. The layout of the city is a semi-circle with radiating embankments and canals, much (as said before) like Amsterdam.

Like Washington DC, Paris or London, Saint Petersburg’s buildings are long and low, going out, not up. Several different styles of architecture are represented, from neoclassical and baroque through Beaux-Arts and contemporary. The Summer Palace is a surprisingly modest wooden building in the corner of the Summer Gardens. The Winter Palace, which now houses much of the Hermitage collection, is Baroque excess; Versailles with canals. What’s least in evidence in the center of the city, though, is Soviet Architecture. The example I saw most often was a building at Moika 58, and on the route to the airport is a statue of Lenin. As they joke, he’s directing traffic.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 1, 2006 12:33 AM

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