Category Archives: useful

Some useful information about having a wonderful time in Russia

Hermitage through my eyes

After viewing the photos, you can find my most favorite places of the Hermitage, hopefully they interest you, too.

Photos of Hermitage halls

Photos of Hermitage pictures

The rest artworks of the Hermitage

Interiors in conjunction with exhibits on the premises:

Halls (in my list there are only 31) are listed in an increasing order of numbering (you can download the plans of the Hermitage to mark the rooms you are interested in). I advise you to start viewing exhibits from the second floor, and then move to the others.

In order to see the 3d panoramic views on the official webpage of the Hermitage, you should type the Russian names to the search field (among the options you will see something like Зал B20_F2_H204_Павильонный_зал), and click on the link and after that choose the 2nd button “ПОКАЗАТЬ В 3D”. Otherwise, you will not even see such an option on the English version of the website.

  1. 100 Hall of Ancient Egypt Зал древнего Египта 
  2. 107 Hall of Jupiter. Art of Rome I – IV centuries. Зал Юпитера. Искусство Рима I – IV вв.
  3. 128 Hall of the Big vase. Art of Rome era emperors Trajan and Hadrian, the end of I – II cc. Зал Большой вазы. Искусство Рима эпохи императоров Траяна и Адриана, конец I – II в.
  4. 153 Portrait Gallery of the Romanov family Портретная галерея дома Романовых
  5. 178 Library of Nicholas II Библиотека Николая II
  6. 189 Malachite Room Малахитовая гостиная 
  7. 194 Peter’s Hall (Small Throne Room) Петровский (Малый тронный) зал 
  8. 195 Armorial Hall Гербовый зал 
  9. 198 Georgievsky Hall (Big Throne Room) Георгиевский (Большой тронный) зал 
  10. 204 The Pavilion Hall Павильонный зал
  11. 207 The Hall of Renaissance Italy XIII -XV centuries. Зал искусства Италии эпохи Возрождения XIII -XVвв.
  12. 214 Hall of Leonardo da Vinci Зал Леонардо да Винчи 
  13. 227 Loggias of Raphael Лоджии Рафаэля 
  14. 229 Raphael hall Зал Рафаэля 
  15. 230 Hall of frescoes by Raphael Зал фресок Рафаэля 
  16. 237 Small Italian headroom Малый итальянский просвет 
  17. 238 Big Italian headroom Большой итальянский просвет 
  18. 239 Spanish headroom Испанский просвет 
  19. 241 Gallery History of Ancient Painting. The exhibit: European sculpture of the XIX century. Галерея истории древней живописи. Экспозиция: Европейская скульптура XIX в. 
  20. 242 Nicholas ladder  – there are stunning sculptures around the perimeter of the space above it Николаевская лестница 
  21. 243 Knights’ Hall Рыцарский зал 
  22.  245 Room of the  Flanders Art of XVII. There are the places for sitting (and contemplating the beauty)!!!! Зал искусства Фландрии XVII в.
  23. 247 Rubens hall Зал Рубенса 
  24. 248 Hall of Flemish and Dutch paintings Зал фламандской и голландской живописи 
  25. 254 The Rembrandt Room Зал Рембрандта 
  26. 282 Alexander Hall Александровский зал 
  27. 285 Hall of French Art of the XVIII century Зал искусства Франции XVIII века 
  28. 289 White hall Белый зал 
  29. 298 Room of British Art Зал искусства Великобритании 
  30. 304 Golden living room. The apartments of Empress Maria Alexandrovna Золотая гостиная. Апартаменты императрицы Марии Александровны 
  31. 306 Boudoir. The apartments of Empress Maria Alexandrovna Будуар. Апартаменты императрицы Марии Александровны 

I am, of course, happy to look at all the works of art during my walks in the museum, but my favorite route remains unchanged.

When you  visit the Hermitage for the first time, you shouldn’t dissipate attention to everything that is in the museum – you’ll quickly get tired and fed up with information and experiences; Always prepare to visit the museum, make a route that will suit your preferences, and it will remain in your memory for sure.

In order to find a good place to eat, you can read an article about finding shops and restaurants nearby.

Collections of Hermitage

You can see the plan of the palace online, on the official webiste of the Hermitage.   I decided to upload the informational plans of the museum that you can take near the information stand after purchasing the tickets in the ticket booths. The maps are available on several languages.

 

On the 1st (lowest floor) of the Hermitage you can see the following:Zeus
  1. Antiquities from Siberia;
  2. Exhibits from Central Asia;
  3. Antiquity;
  4. Caucasus;
  5. Ancient Egypt;
  6. Earliest Eurasian art and culture;
  7. Ancient near east.

More detailed information can be found via official website of the Hermitage and also in Wikipedia.

Personally, I prefer to start my tour around the Hermitage from the 2nd floor, i recommend going there through the Main staircase  of the Hermitsgehermitage-stairsHermitage-stairs-above-1, in order to feel the power and majesty of the palace which used to impress the Imperial  guests and will amaze you, too.

On the 2nd floor of the Hermitage you can see the exhibits of:Hermitage
  1. Russian culture;
  2. Palace interiors;
  3. French art: XVth-XXth centuries;
  4. Spanish art;
  5. German art;
  6. British art;
  7. Flemish art;
  8. Dutch art;Knight-hall
  9. Netherlandish art;
  10. Italian art;
  11. European medieval art;
  12. European arms and armour.

Try not to miss the temporary exhibitions held in the Armorial and Picket halls, they are absolutely interesting (in my last visits there were shown the restored museum exhibits. Awesome works of art!)

On the 3rd floor of the Hermitage you can see the objects of*:
  1. European art: XIXth-XXth centuries;
  2. French art:  XIXth-XXth centuries;
  3. Byzantine art and art of the near East;
  4. Art of the far East and art of Central Asia.

*the stated collections were actual for november 2014. Some of the exhibits of the Impressionists (Francis Bacon, Matisse) are in the General Staff buiding now.

Unusual stations of St. Petersburg subway

May be you have already noticed while reading about the subway lines of St. Petersburg that some of the subway stations differ from others. It seems rational for me to notify about critical features of some stations, so your subway ride will be full of joy.

Check the map of the subway there, note the stations, if needed.

1 line of St. Petersburg subway

  • Lobby of station  “Площадь Ленина” (Ploshad’ Lenina), that is leading to Botkinskaya (Боткинская) street closed at 10pm, whereas another exit works till 12.28am.
  • Технологический институт (Tehnologicheskiy Institute)- the exit from the car is on the  on the right side when moving from one station to another, more information is here
  • Площадь Восстания (Ploshad’ Vosstaniya)– 3 exits to the city (one is through transit station “Маяковская“), more information is given in the article about the 1st subway line.
  • Пушкинская – the lobby of the station is closed right now, the exit is from the lobby of another station –  “Звенигородская“, more information is given in the article about the 1st subway line.
  • Ленинский Проспект: there are two exits from the station: one leads to Бульвар Новаторов, another one to Ленинский проспект, be attentive (one of the exits opens later and closes earlier, check the information in advance on the official website of the subway).
  • Проспект Ветеранов: there are two exits from the station: one leads to Проспект Ветеранов, another one to Дачный проспект,  be attentive (one of the exits opens later and closes earlier, check the information in advance on the official website of the subway).

2 line of St. Petersburg subway

  • Невский Проспект – there are three exits from the statinevsky-prospect2on (one is from the station Невский Проспект
the transition to Гостиный Двор (Gostiniy Dvor)
the transition to Гостиный Двор (Gostiniy Dvor)

to Михайловская street, after transition to Гостиный Двор – one exit leads to Невский проспект, 35, from the side of bug shopping mall Gostiniy Dvor, another exit goes to Griboedova Canal (канал Грибоедова). All the exits have different schedules of work, check the information about them in advance on the official website of the subway. The lobby that stands on the Griboedova Canal is closed for entrance during the work days from 7.30am to 10 am and from 4pm to 6.30 pm.

  • Технологический институт – see the information above.
  • Сенная Площадь=Садовая=Спасская, they all have the exits to Sennaya Square (Сенная площадь). All the exits have different schedules of work, check the information about them in advance on the official website of the subway.
  • Московская – there are two exits from the station: one leads to Altayskaya street and the airportMoskovskaya station, another one- to the Типанова street  (there are the pointers at the station).  The exit that  leads to the transport stop to the airport opens earlier and closes later than another, check the information about them in advance on the official website of the subway.

3 line of St. Petersburg subway

  • Василеостровская – the first two doors of the first car are never open.
  • Гостиный двор –  three exits to the city, check information about “Невский проспект” station above.
  • Маяковская – three exits to the city, check information about “Площадь Восстания” station above.

4 line of St. Petersburg subway

  •  Достоевская –the lobby of the station is closed during holidays  and weekends, the entrance and exit are available at the transition station “Владимирская“.
  • Площадь Александра Невского-1 – the lobby of the station works from 7am to 8pm, the entrance and exit are available at the transition station Площадь Александра Невского-2 (the 3rd line). 

5 line of St. Petersburg subway

Спортивная – while going to Spasskaya direction the doors are open on the right side, the train comes to the lower floor.

Anyway, when you are going to use  the subway, try to check the information in advance on the official website of the subway and also look throug the stations that are closed for repairs.

St. Petersburg. Basic info about the subway, lines, peculiarities

Description and peculiarities of subway and the underground stations of St Petersburg
  • It is the most northern subway in Russia. It’s most northern station is – M2Parnas (Парнас), the most western- M3Primorskaya (Приморская).
  • St. Petersburg has the deepest subway in the world. It’s average depth is 57 meters. M5Admiralteyskaya station is the deepest station in Russia with the emplacement depth of 102 meters.

M1 The first line of  St. Petersburg subway was launched in 1955. It  is also known as Red line, the name symbolically reflected the ideas of the Soviet era, the color choice was not accidental – it was the color of revolution.

Features: Originally there was only one underground line with eight stations in the style of Stalin’s empire. At the moment, due to the undeniable beauty these stations are officially listed in the state register of cultural heritage objects of regional significance.

M2Second or Blue line of Petersburg metro was launched in 1961. At that time there were no architectural frills: no decorative bas-reliefs and sculptures, the stations itself had short halls, there was tile instead of marble.

Features: for the first time in the USSR (it was in 1965), they made a system of automatic control of trains without the train drivers. Also for the first time in the history of world subways- the stations were built as “horizontal lifts” – that helped to reduce injuries in the subway, also it led to a quicker construction.

M3Third or Green line of St. Petersburg subway was opened in 1967.

Features: the line passes under the Nevsky Prospect, and has long spans (for instance, the distance between stations Elizarovskaya and Alexander Nevsky Square I is 4,7 km, that is the longest Russian underground span).

Advice: reckon  your time of travel considering the long distances between stations –  though there are few stations in a line, the ride from one station to another takes about 4-5 minutes.

M4Fourth or Orange Line. This is the first completely underground line St. Petersburg metro.

M5Fifth or purple line St. Petersburg metro. The line is the most modern among others  – new stations open practically annually.

General features of the stations:
  1. For the early subway stations of the 1st line there were built separate lobbies with domes (station Ploshad’ Vosstaniya, for instance, was built on the site of the temple which was specially destroyed for that matter, and now it is architecturally reminiscent of its predecessor – it has the rotunda with a spire).
  2. Petersburg’s subway has an interesting effect of the so-called “slides” used only in this city. The train goes from the station down the hill, which reduces power consumption, and at the exit to the station, it goes up due to compressed air.
  3. Petersburg subway has  unusual for the world engineering types of the stations  – “horizontal lifts”. “Horizontal lift” is a type of closed station, characterized by the closed doors in the side aisles, similar in planning to an ordinary elevator. When the train arrives to the station wagon doors coincide with doors along the platform and they automatically open along the entire side of a platform. That structure of stations prevented falling on the rails and led to building new stations more quickly, although the price for building and maintaining of the stations was even higher than for usual ones.

There were so many interesting stories and things about St. Petersburg’s subway, that a special “subway” museum was opened  in the fall of 2005, it was dedicated to a “beautiful underground city”- St. Petersburg. The museum  is located next to the station M3Приморская (if I am not mistaken, it is closed for reconstruction).

Additional information:
  • There are certain rules of behaviour for subway passengers, you can find them on the general page about subway. The most important rules to remember are the following: you can make photos without flash, you cannot eat and drink at the stations (you may get a fine for breaking the rules).
  • Disposition of some stations may be unexpected for the tourists, so I strongly recommend you to read the list of stations that differ from others.

Advice:

  • if it is possible, try to avoid using the subway at rush hours, from about 8 to 9 am and from 6 to 7 pm;
  • if using the subway plan your total  time of the ride adding 10-15 extra minutes (the reasons: you may not be able to enter the train at the first attempt or will stand in the tunnels for a while – a usual thing there).

If you want to find more information about the subway, lines, check out Wikipedia pages, http://metro.spb.ru (Russian only), http://metro.vpeterburge.ru/ (Russian only).

Museums with a free entrance

Have you heard anything about a free entrance to the museums of St. Petersburg? For the foreigners the list consists of 4 museums, you can check them out below.

Read more about this clocks in the proper section or check my review on Tripadvisor (Yulia_S_gtmy)
Hermitage. Read more about this clocks in the proper section or check my review on Tripadvisor (Yulia_S_gtmy)
Museums*
  1. Hermitage – the 1st Thursday of each month (by the way, if you check couchserfing.org, you can find information about monthly meetings of enthusiasts who want to explore the museum together). If you do not want to come to the opening of museum, to avoid lines you can take the free ticket in advance – on Wednesday’s evening.
  2. The State Museum of the History of Religion is free for all visitors for the first Monday of each month (except this November. The free entrance will be on the 10th of Novermber due to the pupil’s holidays). Here you can make a virtual tour for free.
  3. Zoological Museum -every last Thursday of each month (except the days of pupil’s holidays. this year the days are: autumn – 27.10- 05.11, winter – 29.12-12.01, spring – 23.03-01.04.) http://www.zin.ru/museum/info.html (Russian language only)
  4. Acad. F.N. Chernyshev Central Scientific Geological and Prospecting Museum – the entrance is free, if you are going without the tour guide. The museum works Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm (they are not working the last friday of the month)  http://www.russianmuseums.info/M151 (choose the English version)

*The museums are listed according to the subjective author’s rating

St. Petersburg. FAQ-2

There you will find the answers for the second half of questions mentioned on the FAQ page.

  1. Money
  2. Patriotism of citizens
  3. Rules of politeness
  4. Side of the road to pass
  5. Smoking and drinking restrictions
  6. Toilets in the city
  7. Tourist offices and helplines
  8. Wheel-chaired travelers

 

Money

Russian currency is the ruble. Currency exchanges are made in exchange offices of banks. The exchange points are located throughout and work, as a rule, from 10.00 to 20.00 hours. The most popular exchange office is situated in the city center, close to the big shopping mall Gallery – Центр обмена СКВ Лиговский . There are usually long lines, but they move very quickly.   Warning – It is unsafe to  exchange money through strangers in the streets or to count money on the street. Also, do not withdraw money from the ATMs standing on the streets, as that may be unsafe.

Advice – if you are going to exchange your money here in St-Petersburg (dollars or euro, it may be problematic to exchange other currency), do not forget that the banknotes from your currency should be clean.  They should not be torn, should not be glued, should not have any marks on them , otherwise they will  not be exchanged.

Average price: bottle of water in the shop -30 rubles, the ride on the public transport -25-28 rubles, on commercial transport– 36 rubles more.  A business lunch with a set of 2-3 courses costs about 300-350 rubles per person. The  entrance fee for the museums is about 300-400 rubles.

A  visit to St. Petersburg  can be economical. A safe trip will be guaranteed if you read the information here.To the top

Patriotism of citizens

Entering the city (if you go from the airport to the place of your destination), you will see some history which will never be forgotten by the Petersburgers.

In order to understand the historical context for the city  you should know some important information. For Russians,  the war of 1941 – 1945 was the Great Patriotic War. The country was attacked by fascist Germany, but did not concede.  Russia won the liberating war in the country and continued fighting in the general World War until the end. This war was liberating for the citizens, although a huge number of people were  killed in battles and in the rear. As for St-Petersburg, lots of defenders died because of the famine in the blockade city, which was besieged for more than for 900 days. People still remember this feat of the city which earned St Petersburg hero status.

Petersburgers respectfully honor the memory of the past days. You will see monuments devoted to war everywhere in the city, pay attention to them, as they have great meaning to the city’s residents. For instance, at  the entrance to the city there is a monument commemorating the breaking of the blockade.  There  is a special Stella on the main central street of the city – Nevsky Prospect. On the walls of the buildings there are the signs warning of the shelling.To the top

Rules of politeness

In cafes and shops the sellers and the customers greet each other with the phrase «Здравствуйте» (“Hello”) or доброе утро \ день \ вечер (good morning \ day \ evening), the word «спасибо» means “thank you.” (You can check the pronunciation at the russian-speaking section here).

In the restaurants, cafes, bars  (in any places where you get service) a customary tip is 10-15% of the bill, or more if desired. Do not be too shy to thank the waiter for attention. In that way, if you had a great time, your tip is a well-deserved reward for good service.To the top

Side of the road to pass

Due to the rules of the pedestrian moving people should be moving in public places on the right side. If the person is on the escalator, he should stand on the right side and other passengers will pass him by from the left side. The same goes for going up on the escalator.

Advice -some of the traffic lights have a very long waiting time and show a very short time for crossing the road. Don’t panic while crossing the road – you are allowed to finish your walk.To the top

Smoking and drinking restrictions

Smoking restrictions

 Due to the last federal law, smoking is not permitted in public places (outdoors, indoors), including the restaurants, in public transport, at the distance of 15 meters to the entrance of any kind of transport stations (train stations, airports, subway halls). Now cigarettes can be  bought in the shops only; sometimes you need to ask for them.

 The drinking restrictions

 It is not allowed to carry an opened bottle of alcohol outdoors. You may carry that in a  bag, if you want and drink from the bag or pour the liquid into a  glass. The shops sell  alcohol to people older than 18 who can prove their age with an  id. The time for buying the alcohol is restricted: from 11am to 10pm.To the top

Toilets in the city

In the city you can find the commercial public toilets (they can be of 2 types: the small houses and toilet cabins) and the free public toilets (one of them is located in the big yellow shopping mall “Gostiniy dvor” which stands in the middle of Nevskiy Prospect; another one is in a big shopping mall Galeria).

The food courts in all the shopping malls have free toilets.The fast food places such as McDonalds , KFC, Carl’s Junior are also attracting peoples’ attention for that purpose. The toilets are pronounced practically in the same way as in English; they have the following signs: Туалет, WC, ▲▼.

Tourist offices and tourist helpline

You can always use the tourist 24 hour English speaking helpline. The number is the following: +7(812) 300-33-33 or 8(812) 300-33-33.

The main functions of the help service:

  • Providing information about various institutions (consulates, banks, exchange offices);
  • Providing information about possible leisure (such as museums, showrooms, galleries, Internet cafes, restaurants, bars, coffee places, clubs, shops, shopping centers, sanatoria, pools, beauty shops etc);
  • Transport (taxi call, car rent, any information on city transport);
  • The organization of personal services may include escort of a  translator, a call for a personal assistant for shopping, being a personal guide, planning sightseeing tours, personal round-the-clock protection, the order and delivery of a bunch of flowers, a call for a  personal driver.
  • Booking for hotel accommodations, plane tickets, train tickets  etc.,  restaurant reservations,  tickets for theatre, opera, cinema, philharmonic, etc.
  • The help in emergency situations such as a  call for a medical care, a police assistance , consultation in emergency situations, communication with departments: FSB, Federal Border Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Customs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (information is taken with www.ispb.info)

In order to get the map of the city or some extra printed information, you can go to one of the tourist offices at the following addresses:

  • площадь Растрелли (8.30-16.00, Mon-Fr);
  • Дворцовая площадь (10.00-19.00, daily);
  • Аэропорт Пулково (10.00-19.00, daily);
  • Кронверская набережная, напротив Петропавловской крепости (10.00-19.00, daily);
  • Исаакиевская площадь (10.00-19.00, daily);
  • Площадь Восстания (10.00-19.00, daily);
  • Пассажирский порт «Морской Фасад» (9.00-18.00, daily from May to September).

Also, you can take the maps in Russian or English in 2 huge shopping malls in the center: Stockmann and Galeria. They have information desks on the 1st level.To the top

Wheel-chaired travelers

From the list of city museums only the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Mikhailovsky Castle, Marble Palace, Erarta, Anna Akhmatova Museum in Fountain House have elevators and lifting devices for wheelchairs. Some stations of subways have the special accommodations (the list is there)To the top

I will be glad if you find this information useful for your trip or the trips of your friends. It will be easy to find the information if you share the article. Enjoy your trip!

St. Petersburg. FAQ-1

There you will find the answers for the half of questions mentioned on the FAQ page.

  1. Beggars
  2. Communication in St. Petersburg (phone, mail)
  3. Customs rules in Russia
  4. Drawbridges
  5. Electricity
  6. Health care (pharmacies)
  7. Holidays and days off
  8. Insects in the city

Beggars

In the streets and in the subway you may face the professional beggars telling enthusiastically a dozen different stories per day for sensitive and responsive city visitors. That is also a kind of work which they chose on their own,  if they do begging in public places where it is not allowed (subways, for instance), a realist can understand that such a work pays off. During their days off these actors are well-dressed, have the newest gadgets and do have the dream vacations (it is a well-known fact written in the newspapers, I do know these stories from the real life). Some of these people can bring bad luck (as it seems to me), so try not to talk to them or unswer their questions. Also, be aware of people, who seat near calm sad lying dogs and ask for money to feed those unhappy creatures are the only ones who worsen the lives of their (or may be not their) pets. You do not feed the pets, you feed these people.

If you really want to share the extra money with others – encourage the street artists or buy something from the quite old ladies who are selling the home-grown production (fruits, vegetables, flowers) or the hand-made things. To the top

Communication in St. Petersburg (phone, mail)

1 . Phone

International code of St. Petersburg is +7 or 8; the code of the city is 812.

In order to call from other countries to St. Petersburg, you should dial the following numbers: 00 – 7 – (a city code) – a person’s phone  number (usually, it has from 5 to 7 digits). Example: 00 – 7 – (812) – 1234567

In order to call from Russia to other country: From the city phone: 8 – beep (or if you do not hear the sound you can keep dialing) – 10 – ___ (a telephone code of the country) – (a city code) – a person’s phone number. From the mobile: + __ (a telephone code of the country) – a person’s phone number

How to make a call to another city: Country code – a city Code – a person’s phone number. Example: 8-495 – 1234567.

Mobile telecommunication. The phones of foreign guests catch a network here, however the calls and messages can be very expensive. If  you stay in Petersburg for a long time and you are going to use a  mobile phone for communication, you can get a SIM card of one of the

Petersburg operators: MTS, Megafon, Tele2, Beeline. The card can be bought in the cellar shops (the shops are named by the brands.  Also there are the special cellar shops Связной, Евросеть , where you can refill the amount of money on the SIM card in any of the mentioned shops by the special device or with the cashier).

Advice – I would recommend you to use the Internet apps for communication, for instance, Skype, Google Voice, MagicJack, Viber, Tango, Whats up, Facebook messanger.

If you do not have a computer, you can go to an Internet cafe (you can check the information in the section “Easy Petersburg“). There you can use the headphones for comfortable communication. If you have a laptop or any other portable device, look for  places with Wi-Fi (hotels, the business centers, the cafes and restaurants of the city, some stations of the subway, some parks).

You can buy USB-modem with a pre-paid SIM card of any mobile operator.

 2 . Mail

Post offices are located everywhere in the city. At the central post office (Pochtamtskaya Street, 9. Metro Nevskiy Prospect, subway Адмиралтейская. The schedule is the following: 9.00-19.30, Sundays 10.00-17.30 The phone: +7 (812) 315-80-22) it is possible to send and receive a letter, a parcel. There you can buy envelopes, cards, stamps. As for additional services,  the mail offers phone connection, money transfer services, Internet access, photocopying services, etc.

Postal indexes of Petersburg have an appearance 19XXXX.To the top

Customs rules in Russia

Some of the information is taken from the official website about St. Petersburg.

Crossing the Russian border, you will have to fill in the customs declaration. The customs declaration has to be filled by all who are 16 years or older. Currently, it is permitted to import $3000 without customs declaration.

In Russia, you can import items which are not intended for trading purposes without declaring them. Expensive jewelry or other valuables should be mentioned in the declaration.   The person who carries  the declaration  will need to pass through the red channel for customs clearance. Other  tourists pass through the green channel.

A foreign citizen may bring into Russia no more than $ 10 thousand dollars in cash and may  leave the country with  no larger sum. If you declare this sum you need to provide the Customs with the documents confirming withdrawals from your bank account. The amount which less than $ 1.5 thousand is not declared. If you are travelling with a credit/ debit  card, no one will check the sum on it.

For the export purchased original works of art, not in the list of cultural significance for Russia, it is necessary to have a document  certified by the Ministry of Culture Antiques signed and sealed. Icons export is prohibited. Limited exportation is permitted for medicine – no more than one pack of each denomination; fish and shellfish – not more than 5 kg and black caviar – 280 g per person; no more than five pieces of  gold and platinum with a total weight of up to 130 g or 120 g of silver,etc. When crossing the border by car, you can export only 20 liters of gasoline canister. If you buy the unique expensive items in the shops, always try to ask if there are any export restrictions for them.

 Upon entry to   Russia,  tourists must fill in the migration card (2 copies) which is issued in the airplane, train or ferry. When a foreign citizen crosses the Russian border, he will receive the seals (stamps) in his passport, visa and migration card according to official requirements. The date specified on the stamp, is considered to be the first day of tourist’s stay in the Russian Federation. Migration cards should be kept in a safe place, as well as the passports, during the whole period of stay in Russia.

Customs rules forbid import or export of  weapons, ammunition, drugs. It is forbidden to export antiques and objects of art, except the ones that tourist imported into the country and declared on border. Souvenirs, including products of national trade, do not need to be declared for export from Russia. Nevertheless, saving of receipts, labels and checks can be useful. To the top

Drawbridges

It is a wonderful view when the bridges are up, but can also create big problems for those who was left on the wrong side of the city.  The Central part of the city with Nevskiy Prospect is separated from the Vasilievskiy Island, Petrogradskaya Side.  Transport is available only during the weekends and some of the holidays (you can read the information here).

The bridges are open at a night time only during the period of navigation – from the middle of April to the middle of November (more than for half of the year!).

The schedule of the raising of the drawbridges:

Bridge Drawn (AM)
first second
The bridges over Neva are raised as follows:
Volodarsky Bridge 02:00—03:45 04:15—05:45
Finland Railway Bridge 02:20—05:30
Alexander Nevsky Bridge 02:20—05:10
Piter the Great Bridge (former Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge) 02:00—05:00
Liteyny Bridge 01:40—04:45
Trinity Bridge (former Kirov bridge) 01:35—04:50
The bridges over Bolshaya Nevka are raised as follows:
Sampsonievsky Bridge 02:10—02:45 03:20—04:25
Grenader Bridge 02:45—03:45 03:20—04:50
Kantemirovsky Bridge 02:45—03:45 04:20—04:50
The bridges over Malaya Neva are raised as follows:
Exchange Bridge 02:00—04:55
Tuchkov Bridge 02:00—02:55 03:35—04:55
The bridges over Bolshaya Neva are raised as follows:
Palace Bridge 01:25—02:50 03:10—04:55
Blagoveshchensky Bridge (former Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge) 01:25—02:45 03:10—05:00

There is only one bridge which is not raised – Vantoviy, but it is far away from the city centre so it takes a lot of time to get to the needed destination through it. Additionally, it is too expensive!To the top

Electricity

Electrical network in the city: alternating current, voltage 220V, frequency 50Hz. To the top

Health care (pharmacies)

Official information about health services in the city can be obtained by calling the city administration of Health Committee 571-09-06 or on their website www.zdrav.spb.ru .

The pharmacies in St. Petersburg

The pharmacies in St-Petersburg are open at least from 9am to 9pm and some of the pharmacies work 24 hours. You can find the list of  pharmacies here: http://apteki-peterburg.ru (the information will be in Russian, choose English translation on the top of this page and click than or use Google translation).  Also you can check the information through Google search.To the top

Holidays and days off

The citizens are fond of their city’s celebrations as well as Russian and universal celebrations. They  participate in parades and special events, go to concerts, watch the fireworks.

During all-Russian holidays the days are considered to be days off, so some of the government places (the consulates, some banks, the post, museums) are closed, people are not working, everyone who is outdoors is competing for having a great time. Due to the parades, some streets of the city are not available for transportation, including the main central street – Nevskiy Prospect.

The major holidays in St-Petersburg and their types:

 JANUARY
  • The 1st of January, the New Year — it is considered to be a big family feast! International and All-Russian (the days off are the 1st – the 8th of January )
  • The 7th of January – Christmas – All-Russian (the days off are the 1st – the 8th of January)
  • The 18th of January, the day of breakthrough of the Siege – a historical event for the city and the country –Local
  • The 27th of January- the total finish of the Siege – Local
 FEBRUARY
  • The 14th of February – International
  • The 23rd of February – the day of Defender – International and All-Russian (in 2014 the days off were the 22nd – the 23rd of February)
 MARCH
  • The 8th of March – the Universal and Russian (in 2014 the days off were the 8th – the 10th of May)
 MAY
  • The 1st of May – the Holiday of Spring and Labor — All-Russian (in 2014 the days off were the 1st – the 4th of May)
  • The 9th of May — the Victory Day — International and All-Russian holiday devoted to the end of the Great Patriotic War. It is celebrated by a  military Parade– International and All-Russian (in 2014 the days off were the 9th – the 10th of May)
  • The 27th of May ­ – the Birthday of the city – Local . It is usually celebrated with the parades, fests, fireworks. The celebrations usually last during 3 days, which are close to the weekends.
 JUNE
  • The 12th of June – The day of Russia –All-Russian (in 2014 the days off  were the 12th – the 15th of June)
  • The 3rd Saturday (or Friday) of June –Scarlet Sails (celebration of school graduation for the recent scholars) – Local. There is a concert for the graduates (the entrance is limited by the invitations), there is the firework and the beautiful ship with the scarlet sails is passing the embankments– a symbol of hopes, dreams and amazingly bright future.

 JULY
  • The last Sunday of July is the day of the Russian navy. There is the parade of ships in the city – All-Russian
 NOVEMBER
  • The 4th of November – the day of National Unity – All-Russian (in 2014 the days off  will be the 1st – the 4th of November)

 Advice – in order to avoid the lines in front of museums, you should know that during the days of school vacation you can see a lot of families with children, who want to explore the cultural life of the city. Excluding summer vacations there are 3 more school vacations:

  • in autumn – the last week of October and a half of the next week,
  • in winter – the last week of December,
  • in spring – the last week of March and a half following.

 There are also the international forums in the city (the international economic forum) during which there are some limits for to the  availability of transportation. Vasileostrovsky island and the Central part with Nevsky Prospect can be closed for the public transport (the same comes to the arrival of Father Frost to the city in winter!). Due to the many visitors who attend the forums, forums, the rental unit prices can be doubled or tripled, so it is a good idea to book apartments in advance.To the top

Insects in the city

In late spring, summer and early autumn there are a lot of midges and mosquitoes in the city, which can bite. It it is possible to buy repellant sprays for protection  from mosquitoes. There are repellant devices for electrical sockets in shops and hypermarkets. Be careful while going to the woods during the end of May and the whole June, as there are the ticks there which can be dangerous.To the top

I will be glad if you find this information useful for your trip or the trips of your friends. It will be easy to find the information if you share the article. Enjoy your trip!

My list of “must do’s” in the city.

If you have more than one day in the city, the recommended activities are the following:
1) Walk through the main avenue, Nevsky Prospect, and see all the historical and intriguing sites from the both sides of the avenue. See the main squares of the city and the most famous islands.
2) Visit at least 5 cathedrals or churches or museums, including the church “Savior on the Blood” and “Hermitage”.
3) Take the photos with at least 25 tourist attractions.
4) Visit the amazing underground world and see the stations mentioned in the regional heritage list.
5) See the totems of happiness and make the wishes near each of them.
6) Dine out in the restaurant of any Soviet cuisine and / or see a folk show in the restaurant or somewhere else.
7) Visit the Amber room in the nearest suburb “Pushkin”.
8) Choose wonderful souvenirs for your friends and colleagues from among the huge variety of Russian folk art.
9) See the city with the evening lights. Seasonal: see the drawbridges, see the city from the boat and to go to the amazing suburb “Peterhof” during the fountain season (May to September), see the golden autumn in the suburbs of the city.
10) Be flexible about any weather conditions and know that there are amazing activities to choose from, both outdoors or indoors.
11) Whimsically, make a wish to come to Russia again. Do not forget to throw to coins into the fountains. Frankly speaking, I would advise that you throw Russian coins, not dollars and Euros – it will be less expensive!

Do you want to get the information in details? Check the website.
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