Halfday Panoramic Tour St. Petersburg

  • Start Time 9:00 AM
  • Duration 4 Hours
  • Tour Category Historical
  • Guide Language English



Meeting with the guide 

St. Petersburg. “Russia’s window to Europe”, the “Northern Venice”, the “Museum City” - regardless of the alias it goes by, St. Petersburg is a must-see. Built on mud and water in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, this magnificent city in northern Russia captivates, highlighted by its stately palaces, elegant bridges and majestic granite embankments flanking the river and canals crisscrossing the city. Its beauty and richness will leave you utterly spellbound. 
When Peter the Great wanted to push Russia toward European standards, judging his country underdeveloped and its nobility and institutions outdated, he decided to move the capital from Moscow and build a new one from scratch closer to northern Europe, which he admired. The location seemed to be poorly chosen - a marshy land in the Great North, plagued with malaria in summer and a harsh climate in winter where thousands of forced labourers would die building the city. However, it soon began to grow rapidly, becoming a magnet for architects and artists from all over Europe who built avenues, parks, churches, palaces, canals, bridges, schools, a University, and the Academy of the Arts, and embellished the city to a degree previously unimaginable. The luxury and technical sophistication used during the construction and the wealth of the tsar’s court can be seen in the numerous palaces and theatres, as well as the luxurious facades decorating the broad avenues, called "Perspectives" (Prospects) in the native Russian. The numerous canals, islands, and bridges that were built to drain the marshy soil and the impetuous Neva lent St. Petersburg its unique character. All of this led to the city being designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
St. Petersburg remained the Russian capital for more than two centuries, from 1712 to 1918. After the Russian revolution, the capital was moved back to Moscow, after which the city endured a period of decline. The communists even changed its name twice, first to Petrograd and then to Leningrad. After the fall of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg recovered its name and, thanks to significant reconstruction and restoration, has been restored to its past glory.
Today St. Petersburg is a vibrant, dynamic city with five million inhabitants and is the fourth largest city in Europe. It is the most visited city in Russia and, in addition to its wonderful cultural heritage, offers visitors an impressive palette of recreational activities all year round.

Complete panoramic tour of St. Petersburg

  • Visit to St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral and partial assistance to the orthodox mass
  • Visit to the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood 
  • Visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress and its cathedral, pantheon of Romanov tsars



Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is a memorial of one of the significant figures in Russia imperial history, Alexander II who in his era, Russia had numerous improvements in social situations, politics, economic, and military.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood located precisely on the spot that Alexander II's terror happened years ago, alongside Griboyedov canal, near the Winter Palace.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

An anarchist decided to assassinate Tsar Alexander II, in 1881. A member of a revolutionary group called People's Will which ordered Tsar Alexander II's execution and attempt a bunch of assassinations towards the Tsar life before threw a handmade bomb at the Tsar and his companions which only shocked them at first, the second bomb which led to both the attacker, Ignaty Grinevitsky's death, and wounding the Tsar terribly. Several hours later, The Tsar Alexander the Second died because of the wounds in Winter Palace.

The State Duma signed an appeal to build a chapel in memories of the Alexander II at the terror spot the next day, Alexander III, the successor of the emperor and the Tsar's son agreed to build a monument, however, he commanded to build a church instead of the chapel.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

While the interior of the church designed by various famous artists of the time such as Mikhail Nesterov, Mikhail Vrubel, and Viktor Vasnetsov, the chief architect of the church was non-famous at the time, Alfred Parland who born in an English family at St. Petersburg. Unlike all the other structure in St. Petersburg which follows the Baroque or Neoclassical architecture style, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was in Romantic-nationalism style which represented the Saint Basil Cathedral in Moscow and the 17th-century churches in Yaroslav. Just like the exterior, the church interior with more than 7000 pieces of Mosaic and amazing artworks is quite extraordinary and exclusive.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

In the Soviet era, the church penetrated and looted several times, and its interior damaged gravely, and finally, the government closed the church, in 1932. During the Second World War, the church shifted into a temporary morgue for the people who died in the combats or hunger during the siege of Petrograd. Even after the war, the church turned into a warehouse for vegetables which led to the sarcastic nickname, The Savior on potatoes.

The Church of Savior on Spilled Blood authority was given to the Saint Isaac Cathedral for them to turn it to the museum, in 1970.  The Cathedral with its funding constructed a restoration site for the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood which gravely damaged over the years, and finally, reopened the church for the public after 27 years as the Mosaic Museum, in 1997. Even before the revolution, the church never used for daily worships and religious ceremonies, and today as before, it's only a monument and memorial for Alexander the Second, and only serves memorial services.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Today, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is a favorite target for tourists and visitors. With over 7000 pieces of mosaic artworks and Iconography on the ceiling and walls of the church attract lots of people to itself. The ceiling painted the biblical scenes, and you can recognize the art of brilliant artists at that time in each corner of the place.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

The inside of the Dome of the church is a Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator's face. The walls all covered in 200 icons of the church supporter and follower whom all seem to be praying in silence and watching over the church from the top. Both the east and the west wing of the church are important as mosaic artworks since in the east side there is a beautiful work of Christ portray, and at the west side precisely on the location of the attack, there's a memorial work of a dramatic scene related to the terror of Alexander II.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Between 1980 and 1994, Vitaly Andrew Shershinov led a professional restoration group to fully clean and restore the interior mosaic design, and in some case entirely rebuild them which let us witness its beauty today as it was from the start.

Besides the marvelous mosaic arts in this church, there are much more in this place to attract tourists such as its excellent interior stonework. The stonework around the windows, the decorative on the walls, and the artworks around the main dome are all from marble which shines its art even more. The marble floor, pieces of granite decorative, and other features in the church make it one of the popular sites in St. Petersburg.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

As we said before, the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main tourists' spots in St. Petersburg and Russia tours' lists of visits with its marvelous history, and of course, the museum of mosaic. If you are a fan of mosaic art or love to see some iconography and artworks from famous artists from the 18th and the 19th centuries, you should make a plan to travel to Russia and head over the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood, and enjoy every second of your visit there.

If you think that you would enjoy visiting the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, you can find more places like this church in our guide pages such as Travel to Saint Petersburg.


Peter and Paul Fortress - Saint Petersburg

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

The first structure that constructed in Saint Petersburg was the Peter and Paul fortress. Thus, we can assume that even if the fortress isn't older than the city, they positively share the same birth date. The defending plans of the fortress never questioned, however, it was a military base, government office, Tzars' burial ground, illegal prison, the research center for Russian specialist, and of course, an exceptional tourist’s attraction since the beginning.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

In the time that Saint Petersburg began to form in 1703, Peter the Great ordered to build a wooden fort on the north bank of the Neva River to prevent the Swedish Empire from a counter-attack for getting its lands back. However, that plans never challenged due to the Swedish Empire lack of interest of counter-attacking, but the wooden fort slowly turned into a stone fortress, from 1706 to 1740, and made the Peter and Paul Fortress that we now recognize. The Italian architecture Domenico Trezzini co-worked with military engineer Kristof Minikh to design the fortress with 12 meter high walls and hexagonal structure. The fortress shifted into the city police state and a temporary prison for high-ranked convicts, in 1720. The Trubetskoy Bastion rebuilt in 1870, to become the new prison in the fortress. This fortress which practically was state prison was very similar to the Bastille Fortress in France.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

After the February Revolution in 1917, the fortress and its prison completely went under the Soviet control, and they used it as a prison for the high-rank tsarist officials. The Tsar himself threatened to be imprisoned in the fortress if he comes back to the Tsarskoye Selo. However, he came back but went under house arrest in Alexander Palace instead of the Peter and Paul fortress. Between 1918 and 1921, at least 112 person including four high-class dukes executed in the fortress. The fortress shifted into a state museum, in 1924. Regrettably, in the Second World War, during Nazi's assault of Saint Petersburg, the fortress suffered grave damages, but, repaired in the post-war campaign and became one of the top Saint Petersburg tourists' spot as of today.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

The Mint at the Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the greatest of its kind in the world which Peter the Great himself established it in 1724, so it was one of the oldest industrial places in Saint Petersburg as well. This Mint still works till this day and produce coins, medals, and official's items.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

The City History Museum of Saint Petersburg's headquarter placed in the fortress, and from 1938, took city museum and old museum place in Saint Petersburg. The museum called Leningrad during the Soviet rules, from 1955 to 1991. This museum which held the city history and documents from birth till the modern date includes maps, books, structure plans, and documents on all the buildings inside the Nevsky street which of course a part of it is accessible for tourist to observe. The first full exhibition of the museum held in 1957, in celebrating of Leningrad 250th anniversary. More than 1 million documents such as architectural plans, photos, old maps of the area from 18th to 20th centuries maintained in the museum, till 2002.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

Aside from the Hermitage and the Mariinsky rep and popularity, The Peter and Paul Fortress doesn't have less place in Saint Petersburg as tourists' attraction than the others. This historical and recreational place with its mostly overcrowded sand beach during summer which is a relaxing place for the walruses and of course when the sand festival took place in there, brings lots of tourists to the area.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

The Peter and Paul Fortress history museum which is at the west side of the Nevsky Curtain Wall provides the complete information about all the buildings in the fortress and the technology that used to build them, and of course the defending mechanism of the fortress for the visitants. In a part of this museum, there are several pictures, images, maps, and documents about the fortress and the surrounding area from the 18th century till today.

Peter and Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg

One of the most popular things in the fortress is the cannons midday shots which take place in the Naryshkin Bastion at noon. All the tourists in the area usually seek to be there to see the cannon works.

Today, Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Trubetskoy Bastion are quite popular among Peter and Paul Fortress’ visitors. Both of these places require additional tickets. We’ve covered the information about these two places in other posts, so be sure to check them since both of them are quite important in Saint Petersburg’s history book.

Generally, touring this fortress when you visit Russia would be recommended from Russia Tour agencies to tourists just like the Hermitage and Mariinsky. Undoubtedly, assigning a full day to enjoy the fortress and the beach completely wouldn't be an odd thing to do especially if the sand festivals season with their colossal sandy statues starts during the time. By the way, while you are there, be sure to check out the Military­-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps which locates right across the canal.

Peter and Paul's fortress is one of the main attractions of the city which you should visit when you travel to St. Petersburg. There are lots of information you should get before you can visit Russia if you want to have the best tour plans for your travel, which you can discover in our blog at the Star Travel Group, or you can ask Russian travel agencies to help you with preparation. 

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Complete panoramic tour of St. Petersburg. A guided tour completely in English, this tour is ideal for getting the feel of the city, and in particular its historical center and major monuments. Participants will enjoy Nevsky Prospect along with its most prestigious buildings: The Anichkov, Stroganov, and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palaces; Lutheran, Catholic, and Armenian churches; the orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, the Eliseev, Singer, and Mertens buildings, and many others. We will cross the Fontanka, the river that, along with the Moika River and Griboyedov Canal, formed the border of the city center. The banks of Griboyedov Canal are home to the well-known Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, built in the so typically Russian style with its multi-coloured cupolas and gold onion domes. The former Winter Palace, once a residence of the tsars and now the Hermitage Museum, dominates the northern bank of the Neva River, while on the opposite bank the silhouette of the Peter and Paul Fortress and its high spire command the skyline. We will stop by the Aurora Cruiser, whose guns opened the Russian revolution, followed by the House of Peter the Great - it was from this modest residence that the Tsar personally kept an eye on the construction of "his" city between 1703 and 1708. On Vasilyevsky Island we will see the Strelka, the Menshikov palace and a historical building which is part of the State University. We will pass by the Admiralty with its imposing gold broach, a symbol of the Russian navy on which Peter the Great wanted to base his empire. His equestrian statue is erected in front of the Senate building and St. Isaac’s Cathedral with its impressive columns made from Finnish red granite. Then there are the buildings of the Conservatory and Mariinsky Theatre on Theatre Square, after which the tour will conclude with a visit to the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, surrounded by canals.

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