St Petersburg

The 17 episodes in our St Petersburg series take in all the main sights and delve into the city’s dramatic history.  Visit St Petersburg for its imperial and soviet history, Baroque architecture, and rich culture.

In short, we have done all the background research for a visit which you’d do yourself if you had the time!


St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 1: Introduction to St Petersburg

Dobro pozhalovat’ v Sankt-Peterburg. Welcome to St Petersburg. It was built on unpromising Baltic marshland just 3 centuries ago, yet today it’s one of the continent’s most beautiful cities, where the baroque splendour of its … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 2: Peter the Great

The man who built his city out of nothing The building of the beautiful city of St Petersburg at the dawn of the 18th century was all down to the willpower of one man: Peter … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 3: The Peter and Paul Fortress, Peterhof

Peter’s legacy: the terror of his fortress and the grandeur of his palace Peter the Great’s legacy is, of course, the whole of the city of St Petersburg. But this episode focuses on some of … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 4: The Catherine Palace, St Petersburg

A dazzling summer palace and the empresses who made it their own Just as splendid as Peterhof, the Catherine Palace is St Petersburg’s other glittering summer residence, built as a surprise for Peter the Great … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 5: Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s Grandest Street

Nevsky Prospekt ‘is Petersburg’ according to the Gogol, writing in the 1830s, and this long road is still today the backbone of the city. We explore it, stopping off at three of its best-known buildings, … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 6: The Palace Embankment

Canals, bridges and a glorious riverside stroll past the Summer and Winter Palaces This episode tours the many waterways of St Petersburg, looking first at some of the canals and bridges and then taking a … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 7: Alexander Palace and the Last Romanovs

The family home of the last Romanovs, Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children The Alexander Palace was the family home of choice for a number of Tsars, even if they hosted big public events in … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 8: Faberge and Rasputin

Fabulous Faberge eggs and the murder of a religious imposter The two city-centre palaces featured in this episode both tell us more about the end of the Romanov dynasty, albeit in very different ways. The … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 9: St Petersburg Revolutions

Murders, massacres and the end of a dynasty First, some ideas on the increasing demands for reform which played out through the 18th and 19th centuries in St Petersburg, including the Decembrist Revolt of 1825 … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 10: St Petersburg’s Soviet Era

History from Lenin to Gorbachev, plus where to enjoy Stalin-era doughnuts What happened in St Petersburg after the 1917 Revolution and where can you find traces of the Soviet era in the city today? After … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 11: The Siege of Leningrad

St Petersburg darkest times St Petersburg’s haunting Memorial to the Defenders of Leningrad recalls the dreadful 900 day long blockade of the city by German troops during the Second World War. Supplies to the city … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 12: Music and Theatre in St Petersburg

Hear about some of St Petersburg’s many musical connections, with potted biographies of composers from Glinka, often known as the father of Russian music, to Shostakovich, via, of course, Tchaikovsky. And not forgetting Rubinstein, whose … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 13: St Petersburg, World Capital of Ballet

The schools, companies and dancers who have made St Petersburg’s ballet world famous Surely ballet is one of the first things you think of when it comes to St Petersburg. Hear a brief history, beginning … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 14: The Art and Architecture of St Petersburg

Architecture from baroque to skyscrapers, art from icons to the 21st century Art lovers flock to St Petersburg’s wonderful and extensive collections in the Hermitage and of course we will look at some of the … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 15: Father of Russian Literature, Alexander Pushkin

Poetry, debauchery and where to find Pushkin today The Father of Russian Literature, Alexander Pushkin, grew up in St Petersburg and, while leading a colourful life of semi-debauchery, wrote many of his best-loved works about … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 16: Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky

Get to know the St Petersburg through novels which are set there A look at 19th century St Petersburg thought the eyes of 3 authors: Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Hear how a long-desired new overcoat … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

Episode 17: Finding Leningrad in Literature

What the works of Russian and British authors tells us about Soviet-era Leningrad For the final episode in the series, we are ‘leaving’ St Petersburg for Leningrad, as the city became during the Soviet era, … Read more
St Petersburg Spilled Blood 02

St Petersburg Extra: A Virtual Tour of St Petersburg

Enjoy a virtual visit to St Petersburg, a tour which refers to websites, YouTube videos and books to tell you about the cultural and historical aspects of the city. Fly by drone over St Petersburg, … Read more


Useful websites for tourists
St Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau
St Petersburg.Com (Tourist Information)

2 guidebooks to St Petersburg
Eyewitness Travel Guide to St Petersburg
Lonely Planet Guide to St Petersburg

Travel Book
Among the Russians by Colin Thubron

Russian History, a Very Short Introduction by Geoffrey Hosking
The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Caught in the Revolution by Helen Rappaport

Peter the Great by Lindsey Hughes
Peter the Great by Derek Wilson
Catherine the Great by Simon Dixon
Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie
Rasputin by Frances Welch
Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport (the 4 daughters of Czar Nicholas II)
The Diary of Lena Mukhina (A diary of the Siege of Leningrad)

Art and Culture
A Short Life of Pushkin by Robert Chandler
Nijinsky by Lucy Moore
Rudolf Nuryev The Life by Julie Kavanagh
Anna of all the Russias The Life of Anna Akhmatova by Elaine Feinstein

St Petersburg A Traveller’s Companion by Laurence Kelly
City Pick St Petersburg edited by Heather Reyes
Literary St Petersburg by Elaine Blair

Novels set in St Petersburg
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Siege by Helen Dunmore
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov



Golden Triangle 011200

Episode 8: Food and Shopping in Bordeaux

City Breaks
Wheat Treading in the Camargue, Rosa Bonheur, Musee des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux

Episode 7: 3 Bordeaux Art Galleries

City Breaks
Bordeaux wine shop

Episode 6: Bordeaux Wine

City Breaks