St. Petersburg Abbreviations

St. Petersburg

Although St. Petersburg is the city in Russia that is most influenced by Western cultures and is only two hours by plane from Norway, the city seems exotic and alien with amazing churches with loop domes and Cyrillic letters. Here are no modern skyscrapers, but hundreds of bridges over idyllic canals.

St. Petersburg is a very young city, which recently celebrated its 300th anniversary. The city was the main seat of the Russian Tsars, and from here they ruled their vast empire. As Russia’s cultural capital, St. Petersburg has a very dramatic history which we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with before traveling. The story includes intrigues, murders, sieges and revolutions.

St. Petersburg is not an easy city to be a tourist in, as most of the information and street signs are written in Cyrillic letters, as well as unscrupulous taxi drivers without a taximeter. But if you take the challenge, you will undoubtedly have many memorable experiences in Russia’s imperial city.

Get to know St. Petersburg

The history of St. Petersburg officially began in 1703, when the Russian tsar Peter the Great realized that Moscow was too far away from the rest of Europe to be able to influence and gain new impetus. He therefore decided to build a new capital from the bottom of the Gulf of Finland, where the Neva river flows.

Tsar Peter was very fond of the sea and sailing, and had traveled extensively in Europe. Here he was particularly fascinated by Amsterdam, which became an inspiration for the development of St. Petersburg with its canals and bridges. The city was not named after Tsar Peter the Great, but by the guardian of the pearl gate St. Peter, and St. Petersburg was actually given the Dutch name Sankt Pietersburkh.

The city flourished under Empress Catherine the Great, which ruled from 1762 to 1796. She laid the foundation for the huge Hermitage art collection, which to this day is St. Petersburg’s foremost tourist attraction. In 1914, St. Petersburg changed its name to the more Russian Petrograd, before the city lost its capital status to Moscow following the Russian Revolution in 1917. After Lenin’s death in 1924, the city was given another name; Leningrad.

Few cities had more difficulty during World War II than Leningrad. The Nazis besieged the city for almost two and a half years, and thus the supply of food was shut down. The bomb count was constant, and over a million of Leningrad’s inhabitants starved to death during these years, sometimes as many as 30,000 daily. These were thrown in huge mass graves north of the city, which you can now see at Piskaryovskoe Cemetery. In June 1941, Leningrad had 3.2 million inhabitants. In January 1944, there were approximately 550000 inhabitants left in the city.

In 1991, it was decided to change the city’s name back to St. Petersburg, and at the same time the Soviet Union disbanded. In 2000, St. Petersburg’s urban child Vladimir Putin became Russia’s second president after Boris Yeltsin resigned.

Although St. Petersburg is no longer Russia’s largest city or capital, it is still Russia’s cultural capital. Most of the Russian composers, writers and artists you have heard of come from, or worked in, St. Petersburg. A selection of these are Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Mendeleev, Brodsky, Stravinski and Dostoevsky. Ballet dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev started their careers at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and Nobel laureate Igor Pavlov worked at the city’s university.

St. Petersburg is the world’s northernmost million town, and as of 2008 has about 4.8 million inhabitants. The city is built on more than forty islands, which are connected by hundreds of bridges. St. Petersburg will surprise most first-time visitors with its western look and its many channels. St. Petersburg is a flat city, with few hills and hills. The city also has no skyscrapers, the tallest building still being the almost 300-year-old Peter-and-Paul Cathedral.

St. Petersburg and Acronyms

City Profile

  • Abbreviation: SPSU
  • Country: Russia

The river Neva

St. Petersburg is divided into two of the Neva River, and most attractions are on the south side of the river. The city’s obvious heart is the large Palace Square, or Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, in front of the old Tsar residence Winter Palace. Here you will notice the 48-meter-high Alexander Column from 1834, in memory of Tsar Alexander I’s victory over Napoleon’s invasion forces in 1812. The winter palace is not only the Russian winter tsar’s old winter residence, it is also part of the huge Hermitage museum complex, extending further east.

To the west of the Winter Palace is another impressive building, the Admiralty, which was the Russian naval headquarters for centuries. It now houses a marine school and is surrounded by a large park with numerous fountains and statues, including the famous Bronze Rider. This statue represents the city’s founder Peter the Great on horseback.

Nevsky Prospectus

Just south of the Palace Square begins what is St. Petersburg’s main street, the three-kilometer Nevsky Prospect. This is a very busy street, but it also offers some of the city’s top sights, such as the Kazan Cathedral, the National Library, the Catherine Church, the Anichkov Palace and the Catherine the Great Monument. Nevsky Prospectus was planned by Peter the Great to be the start of the road to Moscow. At the eastern end of Nevsky is the Moskovsky Vokzal train station, and the park and monastery, which, like the street, is named after the city patron Alexander Nevsky.

Within the Nevsky Prospect Triangle, the Fontanka Canal and the Neva River are several of St. Petersburg’s foremost sights. First and foremost, Kras Na Krovi Church, perhaps the most recognizable building in the entire city. The church was erected in memory of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed in a bombing raid on this very spot by the Griboedova Canal in 1881. With its golden and colorful loop domes, the Kras Na Krovi Church reminds of the even more famous St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square in Moscow.

To the east of this church is the large and well-kept Mikhailovsky Park. Here you will find the Michailovsky Palace which today houses the Russian Museum, and right next to the so-called Engineering Castle, or St.Michail’s Castle, where another tsar, Pavel I, was murdered in 1801. And just north of this park is the city’s oldest park., Letny Sad, or Summer Garden. Here Peter the Great built his home, a simple two-story house with only 14 rooms, which you would hardly have registered at all if you did not know the story behind. This too is now a museum.

Petrograd

From the summer garden you have a short distance to the Troitski Most bridge, which takes you over to Petrograd district, north of the Neva river. Here you will first come to Alexandrovsky Park, where you will find St. Petersburg’s old zoo, which was built as early as 1865. Petrograd also houses the Botanical Gardens, and the city’s oldest building, Peter the Great’s old log cabin from 1703. Here lived he while the first fortifications of St. Petersburg were built.

This construction took place on the small island of Zayachy, located in the Neva River opposite the Winter Palace. Here is the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, which you can reach via two walkways from Petrograd. Inside the fortress is the Peter-and-Paul Cathedral, which with its golden spiers is the city’s tallest building with 122 meters. This is where most of Russia’s czars are buried.

Until 1917, the fortress was mainly a prison where many well-known Russians have sat, including Dostoevsky, Trotsky and Gorki. This was also the place where Peter the Great tortured his own son Alexei to death on suspicion of conspiracy.

Today, the fortress is a popular excursion site with many museums, and below the walls on the south side is a beach with beautiful views of St. Petersburg’s historic center.

Vasilevsky

In Neva is also the considerably larger and triangular island of Vasilevsky, which is connected with both Admiralteysky in the center and Petrograd with bridges. Here are many of St. Petersburg’s museums. We mention the Marine Museum, the Geological Museum, the Literary Museum, the Zoological Museum, the Mendeleev Museum, the Art Academy Museum, the Menshikov Palace and the old Soviet submarine Narodovolets, which were in use from 1931 to 1956. We must also mention the sometimes grotesque Anthropological and Ethnographic Museum. also known as the Art Camera, founded by Peter the Great in 1714. Here, deformed fetuses, conjoined twins and other unpleasant specimens of failed anatomy are stored. You can also see the heads of Catherine I’s lover and his sister, stored in liquor. The museum is not recommended for children.

Mariinsky district

The Mariinsky district, which is named after the famous Mariinsky Theater, is located southwest of the city center. Besides the theater, where ballet stars such as Nureev and Baryshnikov started their careers, you can visit the Yusopov Palace. It is located on the Griboedova Canal and is best known for being the place where the legendary monk Rasputin was invited to dinner, then being poisoned, shot, stabbed and drowned in the canal. Russian hospitality has risen considerably since that evening in 1916.

St. Petersburg has gained a somewhat undeserved reputation as a dangerous city with a lot of street crime. But as in any major city, there are some areas you don’t stroll around on your own. If you stay away from crowded and dark alleyways, it will take a lot for something to happen. Of course, in the crowds around the tourist attractions and on the subway, there are pickpockets and purse seers like everywhere else. The much-talked-about Russian mafia also has no interest in creating problems for you as a tourist, unless you try to take control of prostitution and gambling in the city.

The worst villains you are likely to encounter are Russia’s notorious taxi drivers, who apparently demand as much as they can. Do not get into a taxi without clarifying and accepting the price in advance, otherwise you may be charged for hundreds of dollars by an avid driver. Few taxis have or use a taximeter, and absolutely none of the drivers have a change of money, so be sure to agree on an amount that you have available. It will usually be cheaper and safer to ask the hotel or restaurant to call for a taxi for you than to stop one yourself on the street.

The Russian folk line can be somewhat difficult to get hold of. You can easily get the impression that Russians are rude, grumpy, unhelpful and totally out of service. Don’t expect to have a smile and eye contact when you enter a Russian store or hotel. Courtesy phrases such as ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Please God’ or ‘Ha Det’ are also rare diets. This also applies to several of the Russian offices in Oslo, where we experienced being completely ignored by all employees for several minutes, even though we were the only customer in the room. Nevertheless, it must be said that the level of service in Russia has raised many notches since our first visit ten years ago, especially in the service industry.

And if you manage to talk to a Russian first, you will often be overwhelmed by interested questions and hospitality. And don’t forget that the stone face you see on the street in the morning is probably laughable and open in the pub that night.

Be prepared that outside of the better tourist hotels, few Russians speak English, so asking someone for help can be problematic. Neither the will to understand nor to help is intrusive. Most of the information is also in Russian, with Cyrillic letters. This includes street signs and the signs at the metro stations. A street map and a dictionary with the Cyrillic alphabet will be of great use if you plan to explore the city on your own. Always keep a copy of the name page and visa in your passport, as you can be checked by the police. You are also obliged to always carry a valid ID.

You should make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance when traveling to Russia, as the National Insurance Scheme does not cover health services for tourist stays in Russia. The standard of health care in Russia is also not what you are most likely used to. Avoid drinking tap water.

NB! If you plan to be out on the town until late at night, make sure you are on the same side of Neva as your hotel. Around 0200 the bridges are raised so that boats can get up and down the river, and then you can be stranded on the wrong side without the opportunity to get home for hours!

St.Petersburg Facts

St. Petersburg – Russia’s second largest city.

Population

About 4.8 million official permanent residents. Probably hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and guest workers as well.

Official language

Russian.

Control Form

Republic

Religion

Russian Orthodox Christianity (about 72%)

Time Difference

St. Petersburg is two hours ahead of Norway.

Currency

Russian rubles. As of August 2008, NOK 10 equals approximately 45 rubles, or 100 rubles equals approximately NOK 20. ATMs are everywhere in major cities and most major shops, hotels and restaurants take credit cards. Please note that although prices are often quoted in dollars, rubles are the only common currency.

Tips on restaurants

10% is normal if you are satisfied with the service. Some restaurants automatically add this to the bill, so check it before you double-tip.

Embassy

The Embassy of Norway is located in Moscow and can be reached on tel +7 495 933 14 10.
In St. Petersburg there is a Consulate General on Nevskiy Prospectus 25, with tel: +7 812 326 2650

Tourist

The tourist offices at Ul. Sadovaya 14/52 and at the Palace Square, to the left of the Winter Palace, are English-language and open every weekday from 1000 to 1900, until 1800 on Saturdays. Also in the Arrivals Hall at Pulkovo Airport.

Telephone

+7 (to Russia)

Emergency

Fire 01. Police 02. Ambulance / Accidents 03.

Electricity

220 volts, the same two-pin contact system as in Norway.

Holidays and Holidays

January 7 (Russian Orthodox Christmas, February 23, March 8, May 1, May 9, June 12 (National Day) and November 14).

Visa

Mandatory visa requirement for Norwegian citizens. Must be arranged in advance from the Russian Embassy. Invitation from tourist agency, hotel, business partner etc. is also required and confirmed hotel for the entire stay.

Vaccinations

No vaccines are required.

Water

Do not drink from the tap.

Nearest major cities

Helsinki, Tallinn, Novgorod.

Safety

St. Petersburg has gained a somewhat undeserved reputation as a dangerous city with a lot of street crime. As in any major city, there are some areas that you don’t stroll around on your own, but if you stick to illuminated main streets, it will take a lot for something to happen. Of course, in the crowds around the tourist attractions and on the subway, there are pickpockets and purse seers everywhere else.

SPSU: St. Petersburg State University

List of St. Petersburg Acronyms

The most commonly used abbreviations about St. Petersburg is SPSU which stands for St. Petersburg. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to V, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.

Abbreviation Meanings
EUSP European University at St. Petersburg
SPCC St. Petersburg Community College
SPLA St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly
SPLT St. Petersburg Little Theatre
SPPO St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
SPSC St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
SPGU St. Petersburg State University
SPSU St. Petersburg State University
SPTU St. Petersburg Technical University
SPT St. Petersburg Times