St. Petersburg Fact File
- Population 4 750 000.
- St. Petersburg is the biggest city in the world situated that
far in the north. Despite this fact, the average temperature in
July is 17,7 C (64 F), in January -6,5C (20 F).
- 44 islands, 90 rivers and canals.
- About 150 museums, including world famous The Hermitage and
The Russian Museum. Over 40 galleries and exhibitions of modern
- Over 100 theatres: Mariinsky (former Kirov), Mussorgsky Opera
and Ballet, Aleksandriinsky, Maly Drama Theatre, Academic Bolshoy
Drama Theatre, and others.
- 46 state and 30 private universities.
- 1270 libraries with more then 250 000 000 volumes, among them
the Russian National Library, one of the five biggest libraries
in the world, founded in 1795.
St. Petersburg Brief History
St. Petersburg, "the Cultural Capital of Russia",
the Emperors' Capital and "the city of three revolutions", was originally
meant to be the heart of Russia, - and became it. The city changed
its name three times within the last 100 years - first in 1914 to
Petrograd, because its original name sounded too German in the beginning
of the First World war. After the death of Lenin, 10 years later,
it was renamed into Leningrad, and in 1991 the majority of the city's
inhabitants voted for the original name. St.
Petersburg was founded in May 1703 by Peter the Great, the first
Emperor of Russia. In the Middle Ages these lands belonged to the
Great Novgorod, and were on the famous trade route from Scandinavia
to Greece. In the course of the Northern war Russia returned access
to the Baltic Sea, and in short time the new city became the gateway
to Western Europe. It became the capital in 1712 and remained until
1918, when the Bolshevik Government moved to Moscow. The reforms
of Peter the Great predetermined the international atmosphere of
the newborn capital.
In the first 200 years of its history the city
attracted gifted architects and artists, wealthy merchants, and
even army officers from many countries of the world came to St.
Petersburg and dedicated their lives to the flourishing of "the
Northern Venice". Now St. Petersburg is worldwide famous cultural
treasury. Recently the World Tourism Organization named it among
the five most attractive tourist centers.
St. Petersburg today, with its almost 5 million
inhabitants, is the second largest city in Russia. It has a large
number of universities, high-tech production enterprises, financial
and trade companies. The growing economical and political significance
of "the Northern Capital" make people think of transferring part
of the capital's functions from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg combines a vivid international atmosphere
with traditional Russian hospitality, so it creates favorable conditions
for foreign tourists and business partners, provides a friendly
and healthy environment for competition and cooperation.
Most enterprises and organizations work a five-day
week and they are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Shops are generally
open till 7-9 o'clock in the evening and there are hundreds of "night"
grocery stores, which are open 24 hours. If guests suddenly come
late in the evening (which often happens in Russia), it is always
possible to buy drinks, snacks and fruit next door.
Our foreign and Russian students can take part
in all traditional Celebrations from the New Year and Maslenitsa
(Mardi Gras) to Easter with public shows, parades, school parties,
Official Russian Holidays are:
|January 1, 2
||Fatherland Defender's Day
||International Women's Day
||Spring and Labour Day
||Day of Russia
||Day of Reconciliation and Accord
The school is open and classes are held all year
round except January 1st.
All payments on the territory of the Russian Federation
should be in Russian rubles. Only coins and notes issued in 1997
or later are valid currency.
Cash remains the most common way of paying for goods and services.
Big shops and restaurants accept credit cards. There are also cash
machines in the streets and metro stations.
Local Average Prices
1 Euro = 31 Rubel
||3 boxes of matches
||an ice-cream, a bottle of mineral water, a lighter, 2-3 postcards,
2 tram or bus tickets
||2 cups of coffee in a cafe, 3 bottles of beer, a box of chocolates,
stamps for 3 letters/postcards
||lunch in a cafe, a film, a CD, a short taxi ride, a bottle
||dinner in a restaurant, tickets to the theatre, a train ticket
to Moscow, 100 grams of caviar
St. Petersburg is famous for its picturesque bridges
over the Neva river, opening in summer to let big ships and boats
come through. It means that at night you can easily feel like Robinson
on one of the city's islands from 1:35 to 5:45 am. Just in case,
you can cross the Palace Bridge between 3:05 and 3:15 am.
We strongly recommend you to have a copy of your
passport and visa with you all the time for a possible police-check.
When checked stay calm and answer the questions politely. You will
have a list of school staff phone numbers to contact in a case of
According to the Russian legislation not only dealing,
but personal use of any narcotics is considered a crime.
Metro is the most convenient and reliable public transport.
St. Petersburg has one of the safest metro systems in the world.
It consists of 4 lines and 57 stations, some of them are beautiful
works of art. The metro is open from 5:45 am till midnight.
Taxi can be ordered by calling 068, 053 or 1 000 000. A taxi ride will cost about 10-15 Euro according to the distance travelled. There are also plenty of private drivers offering "taxi" services for lower prices. We recommend you to agree on the price before getting into a car.
St. Petersburg is, generally speaking, as safe
and as dangerous as any other 5 000000 city in the world. First
of all, your common sense should be your main protection: try to
avoid doing things which you consider dangerous to do in your country.
If a stranger offers you to join a vodka-drinking competition with
his friends in cheap bar - just consider the possibility that they
might need more money to buy another bottle when you are out of
We also strongly recommend avoiding playing cards,
lotteries or other games for money. People offering these amusements
in the streets and trains, at metro and railways stations are professional
swindlers, they have efficient ways of involving people into games,
so you risk losing your money and valuables even when you stop to
watch people playing. The same cautions should be taken against
people offering incredible "prizes", "discounts" and "free tours"
in the street. They often act on behalf of various companies, but
most of them on some step would ask you to pay an extra charge,
and then disappear.
There are plenty of exchange offices in St. Petersburg,
so please don't change money with unauthorized individuals - it
is at least unsafe.
Many foreigners feel suspicious about tap water
in Russia. "Extra-Class" offers to its students bottled drinking
water which is also used to make tea and coffee