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


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


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


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 .

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: (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:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • The 8th of March – the Universal and Russian (in 2014 the days off were the 8th – the 10th of 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.
  • 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.

  • The last Sunday of July is the day of the Russian navy. There is the parade of ships in the city – All-Russian
  • 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!

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