Scandinavia – Russia Cruise – 2008 – St.Petersberg

June 11 – Day 8 – We arrived this morning at 7:00 am.

St. Petersburg was constructed on the delta of the Neva River. The story of it’s creation is an interesting one. It is four hundred miles north-west ofMoscow

The city has over 5 million inhabitants and over four hundred bridges, being built on a series of islands spread over a large area. The city has over 60 canals and rivers running through it. St. Petersburg is the largest port in the country and is an important maritime center.

The Niva River runs through the heart of the city and there are wonderful 18th and 19th century baroque and neoclassical buildings lining both sides of it.

The city was constructed by Tsar Peter the Grate, with a little help of some of his countrymen. It is a young city by European standards as it’s first structure, the Peter and Paul Fortress, was built in 1703.

We spent a  good deal of time at the Hermitage Museum examining the wondrous items of art there and then we walked quit a bit around the city after the tour was over. There is no end to the statues of Russian heroes.

Catherine the Great(1762-1796) continued to build the city into a major European capital and imported many architects and artists to help her do so.

She founded the Hermitage and bought vast treasures of art work from all over Europe helping to make it one of the greatest collections of art in the world.

Serfdom was still a part of life under Czar Alexander ll. He introduced reforms but in 1881 he was killed by a bomb in the city.

There is plenty of history in this part of the world, and sadly it is not always very pleasant. Millions paid with their lives in battle or under the siege of WW ll.

With all of it’s history, good and bad, it is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The people were friendly and I would go back tomorrow.

I would like to see the people have a little more freedom of choice to make their own decisions in life. Hopefully that is coming, little by little. Things of this nature can take some time, or there can be a revolution and changes happen quickly. That way of changing things in a country usually goes badly for everyone.

The state rarely does things efficiently and usually at a high personal cost to it’s citizens. Just look around you wherever you live and see how true that is. How much would it cost for a homeowner to build a building of 2000 square feet versus the government doing the same thing and how long would it take. I rest my case.