Leningrad Oblast

peterhof aka petrodvorets – петергоф \ петродворец

Peterhof in 1944 renamed Petrodvorets (literally Peter's palace) located 30 km west of Saint Petersburg is the most impressive of Saint Petersburg's palaces. It consists of a whole series of palaces set within a spectacular ensemble of gravity-powered fountains. The centerpiece is the Grand Cascade, consisting of over 140 fountains and canals partially engineered by Peter I himself. The fountains are in the Lower Park. You need to buy a ticket to get there.
The gilded domes of the Grand Palace.

The Marly Palace.
The Hermitage Palace.
The Mon Plaisir Palace.
Visitors to the Lower Park can arrive from St. Petersburg by sea.
The Upper Park can be visited free of charge.

The Samson Hotel is conveniently located right across the entry gate to the Upper Park.
Close to the hotel is the 1905 eye-catching Peter and Paul Cathedral built in the neo-Byzantine style.

pushkin AKA tsarskoe selo – пушкин \ царское село

The grand imperial estate of Tsarskoe Selo (literally Tsar's Village) is in the town of Pushkin 25 km south of Saint Petersburg. The main attraction here is the beautiful baroque Catherine Palace built between 1744 and 1796. The palace was designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli - the Italian architect who also designed the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

The town changed its name from Tsarskoe Selo to Pushkin in 1937 after Russia's favourite poet Alexander Pushkin (of African origin) who studied here in the boarding school for noble kids. The beige school is left from the blue palace.
The lovely Catherine Park dotted with intriguing structures extends around the Catherine Palace.

The blind.
The night watch.

pavlovsk – павловск

In 1780s Catherine II ordered to build a palace for her son and heir to the throne Paul (Pavel in Russian. Hence, Pavlovsk). The palace is just four kilometers from Pushkin. A huge park is laid around the Pavlovsk Palace, big enough to walk for hours.

gatchina – гатчина

Gatchina 45 kilometers southwest of Saint Petersburg was another residence of Paul or Pavel the First, Catherine the Great's son. The palace in Gatchina was built in 1766-81 and looks like a fortress. The statue of Paul stands in front of the palace.

The 1799 Priory Palace built for Maltese knights.

The 1914 Intercession Church.

The 1852 Saint Paul Church.


Kronshtadt is located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland. It appeared almost simultaneously with Saint Petersburg. It has been an important naval base ever since. The town's centerpiece is the beautiful Naval Cathedral.

The monument to Admiral Makarov (1849-1904). He was Kronshtadt's governor in 1899-1904. Killed in action at the Russo-Japanese war.

The monument to Admiral Ushakov (1745-1817) - an outstanding naval officer. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

vyborg – выборг

If you travel by road to or from Finland it makes sense to stop in Vyborg. It is an appealing provincial town located 30 km from the Russian-Finnish border.  The town has a medieval castle, cobblestone streets and squares and some 19th century buildings. The medieval castle was built by Swedes in 1293.

The red building in Market Square used to house the Bank of Finland.

The 16th century Round Tower in Market Square now houses a good restaurant.
The 1786 Transfiguration Church.
The 15th century Town Hall Tower.
The Druzhba Hotel.

ivangorod – ивангород

If you travel by car from Estonia or to Estonia it makes sense to spend some time in Ivangorod. The town was founded in 1492 as a border fortress to protect the Russian lands from raids by Swedes and Lithuanians. The fortress is still standing. The Narva River separates Russia and Estonia. The Ivangorod Fortress faces the 13th century Narva Fortress on the Estonian side.
The Narva Fortress in Estonia.
The bridge across the Narva River connects Russia and Estonia.
The Ivangorod Fortress.
Streetscapes in the vicinity of the fortress.