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Hidden places of St. Petersburg

Saint-Petersburg is full of surprises… From surprisingly beautiful sights to surprisingly small prices. You will enjoy this city even if you visit just the main tourist attractions, but believe us, a lot of amazing places are hidden on those streets..

Here is our top!

  • Nelson yard
Picture: Nelson Yard, Saint-Petersburg
Dvor Nelsona, Polozova Ulitsa, 6, St Petersburg

Bard Nelson fought gray routine and created in the yard area of the house on a small Polozov street a bright colorful atmosphere. The musician managed to create the most amazing courtyard of the Petrograd side with the help of a spray paint, applying imagination and using all the trash that had been gathering dust on the mezzanine for many years.

  • Chufalnya on Aprashka Market
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Chifanka (Chufalnya), Sadovaya Street, 28, St. Petersburg

” Chufalnya ” is in the third house on the right, if you go on Apraksin Market through the gate with Apraksino lane. Here, as before, (in 90s) the authenticity is turned to the maximum: the owners and cooks are Chinese, the wall menu with touching mistakes in translation, the complete lack of interior, ridiculous prices and a whole rack of Chinese goods — from bamboo rugs to wood mushrooms. However, because of the increased attention on the part of students and fashionistas the titular nation in the room appears in a noticeable minority and the place is becoming not that unknown.

  • Kabinet bar
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Kabinet, Malaya Sadovaya Street, 8, St Petersburg

The establishment of the famous bartender in the city is made in the style of a closed poker club or an illegal casino of the 30s. Entrance to the” Kabinet ” is through the diner Grill Brothers: you need to find the door with the inscription” only for staff ” and go down the stairs to the basement. However, to get to the bar itself is possible only upon prior reservation, contacts for which you have to search in social networks under the hashtag #вкабинетпожалуйста.

  • The house of Buck
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Kirochnaya Ulitsa, 24, St. Petersburg (currently in restoration)

Apartment house of Buck, whose name has become an integral part of the name of the building, is interesting from all sides: its amazing facade is one of the dominants of Kirochnaya street, in the front it is still preserved part of the interior decoration, which can be judged on the solvency of the former tenants. Unfortunately, the house of Buck is in a depressing condition, but also on the dirty marble stairs, broken in places stained glass, apartments, first 15-room, but later given to the communal, as well as dusty twisted railing bars can restore the image of the former splendor of the house.

  • Rotunda
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Fontanka River Embankment, 81, St. Petersburg (Gorokhovaya Street, 57А, St Petersburg)

In the house on the corner of Gorokhovaya street and Fontanka embankment you can find the most mystical city object — Rotunda. The house is not noticeable, it is a typical structure for St. Petersburg. It’s all about the Rotunda — a round building with six free-standing columns. The curves of the walls repeat the stairs, as if striving endlessly upwards. The rotunda received the title of a cult place in the 70-80s of the last century – the time of the emergence of informal movements among the Soviet youth. Representatives of different subcultures gathered here — rockers, hippies, punks.

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To Do in Saint-Petersburg Traveling in Russia

Yusupov Palace

The Yusupov Palace or Moika Palace was the house of the Yusupov family. One of the richest family of Russia at the verge of the Revolution. Its princes were well-known philanthropists and art collector. Preserved and transformed into a museum, it now tells us about the life of the nobility in the Russian Empire.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (5)

Build in 1776 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, the Yusupov Palace stands on the Moika river in St Petersburg. In 1830 it was acquired by the Yusupov family. This family, well known for its philanthropy and its art collections, transformed it into a splendid residence, a real piece of art. Many different artists contributed to this palace and you can still admire this variety of styles nowadays. The luxury of this place, its art gallery, the charm of its private chambers and even a private theater, will make you travel to the time when emperors and empresses were governing Russia.

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This Palace holds a very important place in Russian history. It was one of the finest demonstrations of Russian art and a nest for future talents. But most importantly, it was between these walls that the murder of Grigory Rasputin took place, more precisely in the cave that can be visited nowadays!!!. The murder was organized by a group of monarchists led by Felix Yusupov, the last owner of this palace. The exact way the murder occurred is still obscure, many parts are still unclear. Here is one of the most famous version (and my favorite). After inviting the monk to this palace, the conspirators offered him wine and pastries with enough poison to kill 5 men. Since he didn’t seem to be affected by the poison, they shot him with pistols and beat him, then they wrapped him into a broadcloth and threw him into the Moika river. A doctor that examined the body said Rasputin didn’t die because of the poison, nor the pistols, but out of hypothermia (it happened in December).

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (6)

The Russian revolution turned it into a museum, one of the most visited of St Petersburg. It also hosts different diplomatic or artistic events. It is probably one of the finest and most beautiful palaces of the Imperial area that you can visit in Saint Petersburg.

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Top 10: Orthodox Russia

Despite the USSR’s attempt to eliminate religion, Russia can’t barely be pictured without cupolas, monasteries, icons and everything that looks more or less orthodox. Fortunately, these archiectural and artistic masterpieces offer tourists, expats and Russians some wonders of the world that everyone must visit! So being religious or not, follow this top and dive into one of the most important dimension of the Russian culture and history!

  • Sergiyev Posad (Moscow)

Sergiyev Posad is a small town, 2 hours away by train from Moscow. So why putting it first? Because Sergiyev Posad is considered to be the Russian Vatican. Built around a Lavra (aka a very important monastery), Sergiyev Posad must be visited for its spirituality and the magnificence of its cathedrals. Seriously, it’s beautiful, everything is located in the same place and very Russian.

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  • Suzdal (Moscow)

Another very important religious center, Suzdal is a bit futher from Moscow than Sergiyev Posad, but is as important and stunning. If you’re visiting only one of the Golden Ring’s cities, go for Suzdal. This city has been kept away from industrialisation and succeeded in  preserving the treasures given by the Russian Princes through centuries. So if you take a picture in the right angle, you’ll be able to pretend that you spent some days in the Russian countryside… as the true adventurer that you are.

Dreamstime © - Souzdal - Eglise de la Nativité (2)

  • Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

While technically not being consecrated, and so not a church, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is an orthodox mausoleum. Indeed, the church has been built to mourn Alexander II’s assassination on March 1881. This is a must-do in St-Petersburg, so you should visit it. First, because everyone knows this building. Second, the inside, all covered-up by golden mosaics, is absolutely stunning. Third, because you’ll appear as super knowledgeable among your coworkers when you’ll explain them that this is not St Basil’s cathedral.

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  • Peter and Paul Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

Very small and definitely not as impressive on the inside as others, the Peter and Paul cathedral hosts the grave of almost all the Romanovs. In a way, the cathedral is far more impressive on the outside, but it has the perks of being really important to those who celebrate the Russian Tsars. Especially because the cathedral hosts the remains of Nicholas II and his family, butchered in 1918 by the Soviets.

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  • Kolomenskoye Domain (Moscow)

While all orthodox churches and monasteries look similar, you’ll find in the Kolomenskoye domain a simple one. I mean a church WITHOUT cupolas. So why visiting it you’d say? Why visiting something that you could find in your country? Because the Church of the Ascension is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. And between us these guys rarely mess things up. Indeed the Church of the Ascension is the first church made of stones in an octagonal shape in Russia! Not so common isn’t?

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  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

St Isaac’s is interesting for two things. First it has been built and decorated taking St Peter’s of the Vatican as a model. I don’t know if you ever been in St Peter, but it’s just wow! Second because St Isaac’s Cathedral has also been thought as a museum of Russian stones. As a result you have a stunning big church made of gold, icons and colored-marbles from all Russias. You definitely have to go inside, you’ll be able able to make great pics.  

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Cathédrale Saint Isaac (13)

  • Christ the Savior (Moscow)

This one has to be seen for its history. Christ the Savior was an old white church in the very heart of Moscow. However, it has been destroyed in 1931 by order of Stalin, and replaced by a public swimming pool. While Muscovites got used to it and loved spending afternoons in this pool, the Russian government decided to destroy it and rebuild the Cathedral of the Christ the Savior, but this time as the largest of Russia.

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  • New Jerusalem Monastery (Moscow)

Politico-religious dream of the patriarch Nikon, the New Jerusalem Monastery intended to make Moscow the center of the orthodox world. To achieve this, the patriarch Nikon ordered in the middle of the 17th century the building of a monastery based on the Christ church of Jerusalem. But if the Istra river became the Jordan and the building are based on the same architecture, the inner decoration is fairly different. Today, the New Jerusalem Monastery hosts religious arts and must be visited!

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  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Saint-Petersburg)

Despite being central in the romanced history of St-Petersburg, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a beautiful and peaceful monastery in the heart of the Northern Capital. Maybe because of its pastel-colored buildings, its parks or simply because of its mission, the Lavra has a serene atmosphere. Enter the Lavra and dive in another world, away from the noise and the crowd.

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  • The Kremlin (Moscow)

Moscow’s Kremlin remains first and foremost known for its political dimension. But if you enter the domain, you’ll realise that it is a grouping of church behind defencing walls. Within the Kremlin, the church are older than the usual ones and still ornamented of traditional Russian arts. Plus, each church has its role and mission. Because, why building a single church when you have the space and the resources to build 3 of them?

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Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood

Did you know? Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood isn’t an usual church (despite its name) but rather a memorial!  Do you struggle identifying Church on the Savior on Blood and Saint Basil’s Cathedral? Well, no worries, in fact the architecture of the first mentioned was inspired by the lattest, which explains why they resemble each other so much. You’ll get more comfortable with it by reading about both of them.

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The Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood cathedral has been built in 1907 following the orders of Tsar Alexander III. However, it has been erected as a memorial and mourning place following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the Liberator, on March 1st 1881.

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In fact, and even if weekly requiem and sermons are given to remember Alexander II, Christ the Savior on the Spilled blood became a cathedral only in 1923. It has been closed about nine years later on the orders of the Soviet leadership to become a garbage dump. Nowadays Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood is an annex of St Isaac’s museum due to its stunning mosaics. That’s why if many believes that this world-known building is one of the most important church of St-Petersburg, it rather is, due to its history and architectural style, a memorial symbolising the Russian dilemma between liberalism and conservatism. And of course, it demonstrates (if needed) the Russian savoir-faire when it comes to architecture and religious art.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (10).jpg

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!