|— Federal city —|
Clockwise from top left: Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island, Smolny Cathedral, Bronze Horseman on Senate Square, the Winter Palace, Trinity Cathedral, and the Moyka river with the General Staff Building.
|Established||27 May 1703|
|Federal city Day||27 May|
|Government (as of October 2018)|
|• Governor||Alexander Beglov (UR, acting)|
|• Legislature||Legislative Assembly|
|Area (as of the 2002 Census)|
|• Total||1,439 km2 (556 sq mi)|
|Time zone(s)||MSK (UTC+04:00)|
|License plates||78, 98, 178, 198|
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Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject (a federal city).
It was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May [O.S. 16 May] 1703 and served as a capital of Russian Tsardom and subsequent Russian Empire in 1713-1918 (being replaced by Moscow for a short period of time in 1728-1730). After the October Revolution, Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow.
In modern times, Saint Petersburg is considered the Northern Capital and serves as a home to some federal government bodies such as the Constitutional Court of Russia and Heraldic Council of the President of the Russian Federation. It is also a seat for National Library of Russia and a planned location for the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it's also referred to as Russia's Culture Capital. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.
Many foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg was started by the Russian Tsar, Peter I as the capital of the Russian Empire in 1703, to take the place of the earlier capital, Moscow. It was the capital of Russia until 1918. Peter the Great established Saint Petersburg as a warm-weather port in order to show Russian dominance in the Baltic and to increase trading opportunities. Peter sought to modernize Russia, therefore he tried to make Saint Petersburg as different as possible from the former capital, Moscow, by modernizing the city.
Saint Petersburg has changed its name many times. During World War I, when Russia and Germany were fighting each other, Russians thought the name Sankt Peterburg sounded too German, so Tsar Nicholas II, on August 31 (August 18, Old Style), 1914 decided that the city was renamed Petrograd. In 1918 during the Russian revolution, the Soviet capital was moved to Moscow, still the capital of Russia now.
On January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honor. During World War II, the city was surrounded by the German army and under (siege) for twenty-nine months.
Leningrad again took its old name of St. Petersburg on September 6, 1991, when Russia stopped being communist. In every-day Russian, the city is often called just "Piter". The name of the Oblast (administrative province) where the city is the capital is still called "Leningrad Oblast".
Saint Petersburg was a beautiful city planned by Peter I. There are many man-made rivers (or canals) in the city, so the city is sometimes called the Venice of the North. There are also beautiful buildings built by Russian emperors in other places of the city. Some of these buildings are the Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace.
The area of Saint Petersburg city proper is 605.8 km2 (233.9 square miles). The area of the federal subject is 1,439 km2 (556 sq mi), which contains Saint Petersburg proper (consisting of eighty-one municipal okrugs), nine municipal towns – (Kolpino, Krasnoye Selo, Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Pavlovsk, Petergof, Pushkin, Sestroretsk, Zelenogorsk) – and twenty-one municipal settlements.
Petersburg is on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, and islands of the river delta. The largest are Vasilyevsky Island (besides the artificial island between Obvodny canal and Fontanka, and Kotlin in the Neva Bay), Petrogradsky, Dekabristov and Krestovsky. The latter together with Yelagin and Kamenny Island are covered mostly by parks. The Karelian Isthmus, North of the city, is a popular resort area. In the south Saint Petersburg crosses the Baltic-Ladoga Klint and meets the Izhora Plateau.
The elevation of Saint Petersburg ranges from the sea level to its highest point of 175.9 m (577 ft) at the Orekhovaya Hill in the Duderhof Heights in the south. Part of the city's territory west of Liteyny Prospekt is no higher than 4 m (13 ft) above sea level, and has suffered from numerous floods. Floods in Saint Petersburg are triggered by a long wave in the Baltic Sea, caused by meteorological conditions, winds and shallowness of the Neva Bay. The five most disastrous floods occurred in 1824 (4.21 m or 13 ft 10 in above sea level, during which over 300 buildings were destroyed ), 1924 (3.8 m, 12 ft 6 in), 1777 (3.21 m, 10 ft 6 in), 1955 (2.93 m, 9 ft 7 in), and 1975 (2.81 m, 9 ft 3 in). To prevent floods, the Saint Petersburg Dam has been constructed.
Since the 18th century the city's terrain has been raised artificially, at some places by more than 4 m (13 ft), making mergers of several islands, and changing the hydrology of the city. Besides the Neva and its tributaries, other important rivers of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg are Sestra, Okhta and Izhora. The largest lake is Sestroretsky Razliv in the north, followed by Lakhtinsky Razliv, Suzdal Lakes and other smaller lakes.
Due to its northerly location at ca. 60° N latitude the day length in Petersburg varies across seasons, ranging from 5 hours 53 minutes to 18 hours 50 minutes. A period from mid-May to mid-July when twilight may last all night is called the white nights.
Saint Petersburg is about 165 km (103 miles) from the border with Finland, connected to it via the M10 highway.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Saint Petersburg is classified as Dfb, a humid continental climate. Distinct moderating influence of the Baltic Sea cyclones result in warm, humid and short summers and long, moderately cold wet winters. The climate of Saint Petersburg is close to that of Helsinki, although colder in winter and warmer in summer because of its more eastern location.
The average maximum temperature in July is 23 °C (73 °F), and the average minimum temperature in February is −8.5 °C (16.7 °F); an extreme temperature of 37.1 °C (98.8 °F) occurred during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. A winter minimum of −35.9 °C (−32.6 °F) was recorded in 1883. The average annual temperature is 5.8 °C (42.4 °F). The Neva River within the city limits usually freezes up in November–December and break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 118 days average with snow cover, which reaches an average snow depth of 19 cm (7.5 in) by February. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. Despite St. Petersburg's northern location, its winters are warmer than Moscow's due to the Gulf of Finland and some Gulf Stream influence from Scandinavian winds that can bring temperature slightly above freezing. The city also has a slightly warmer climate than its suburbs. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round.
Saint Petersburg Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.