Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Petersburg, popularly but erroneously called St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great, and now the capital of Russia - though efforts have been made to choose some other capital - is built on the delta of the Neva, part of the town being on the land between the main stream and branches, some on the N. bank, and part on islands. Many bridges join the different portions of the town, which is connected by railway with most of the principal towns of Russia and the European svstem. The land is low, damp, and marshy, and' subject to periodical inundations, and the alternating wet and frost quickly destroy the buildings and monuments. The Neva is frozen for five months of the year, and the winter-cold is intense. Of the thirteen districts of the city, one of the finest is the Admiralty, and Vassilevskoi contains most of the literary and scientific institutions. On some of the islands are many summer-houses and gardens. The most striking features of the city are its gilded domes, magnificent palaces, long, wide streets - the Nevskoi Prospekt, for instance, being three miles long and 130 feet wide - extensive squares, colossal buildings, and granite quays. Owing to its size, Petersburg seems thinly inhabited, save in the lively southern quarter, the Admiralty Square, the Summer Garden, and the Neva Quays. Of the many churches, mostly Orthodox, that of St. Isaac, built (1819-58) on piles, and constantly undergoing repairs through the ravages of the climate, is of Finland granite and marble, and has the form of a Greek Cross. It possesses fine peristyles, with 112 pillars, each 60 feet in height. In the centre rises a gilded dome on granite pillars, the height to the top of the cross being 336 feet. The interior is richly adorned with precious stones, gold, silver, bronze and marble. The church of SS. Peter and Paul, in the fortress, is the burial-place of the emperors. The cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan contains a statue with ornamentation to the value of £14,000, and another cathedral is of white marble. Among the dozen imperial palaces are the old palace of St. Michael, now a military engineering school, the new palace of St. Michael, the Winter Palace on the Neva (used for court ceremonial, and containing beautiful rooms, and being the storehouse of the crown jewels), and the Hermitage Palace (containing a very fine collection of pictures). Among other monuments and buildings may be mentioned the bronze statue of Peter the Great, a column 80 feet high in memory of Alexander I., statues of Catherine II. and of Nicholas, the monument of the Russo-Turkish War, the Admiralty (with naval museum), the Arsenal (with artillery museum), the Palace of the Senate, the Academy of Sciences (with museum), the University, and the Imperial Library, many of the contents of which are plunder from Poland. A deep channel connects the city with the protecting fort of Cronstadt.