In 1703, Tsar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in the swampy delta mouth of the Neva River. It became Russia's capital city and remained so until 1918 when Lenin and his revolutionary Bolshevik government moved to Moscow. Today, it is a living monument to the lives and times of Russia's Imperial Tsars.
The Winter Palace contains Russia's largest museum, The Hermitage, which houses more than 2.5 million exhibits. Since Peter the Great, Russian rulers purchased many major works of art, but it was Catherine The Great who acquired complete collections from the auction houses of Europe.
The Admiralty, with its needle-shaped, gold-plated tower, is one of the city's most famous landmarks, its grand architecture depicting the emergence of Russia as a naval power. The marvelous Saint Isaac's Cathedral has the third largest dome in the world. Twenty-four thousand tree stumps were used for its foundations, and it can accommodate a congregation of 14,000.
The Peter And Paul Cathedral was the burial place of the Tsars, and it contains the marble coffin of Peter the Great. The most colorful church in Russia is the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral which was built on the orders of Tsar Alexander III on land where, in 1881, his father, Alexander II, had been killed by a bomb planted by a revolutionary group.
Russian Baroque and Russian Classicism were established in St. Petersburg, a city of monumental events, outstanding architecture and an Imperial metropolis on the grand scale.