Saint Petersburg
Санкт-Петербург
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.
Saint Petersburg in Russia (special marker).svg
Coordinates: 59°56′15″N 30°18′31″E / 59.93750°N 30.30861°E / 59.93750; 30.30861Coordinates: 59°56′15″N 30°18′31″E / 59.93750°N 30.30861°E / 59.93750; 30.30861
CountryRussia
Federal districtNorthwestern[1]
Economic regionNorthwestern[2]
Established27 May 1703 (1703-05-27)[3]
Government
 • BodyLegislative Assembly
 • GovernorAlexander Beglov (UR, acting)[4]
Area
 • Total1,439 km2 (556 sq mi)
Area rank82nd
Population
 • Estimate 
(2018)[6]
5,351,935
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[7])
ISO 3166 codeRU-SPE
License plates78, 98, 178, 198
OKTMO ID40000000
Official languagesRussian[8]
Websitehttp://gov.spb.ru

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, tr. Sankt-Peterburg, IPA: [ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk] (About this soundlisten)) is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012,[9] 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).

Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May [O.S. 16 May] 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow,[10] which is about 625 km (388 miles) to the south-east.

Saint Petersburg is often considered Russia's cultural capital.[11] The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.[12] Many foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.

Name

A proponent of westernising Russia, Peter the Great, who established the city, originally named it Sankt-Peterburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург;[a] note the Russian name lacks the letter s between Peter and burg).[13] On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd (Russian: Петрогра́д[a], IPA: [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat]),[14] meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German words Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad (Russian: Ленингра́д, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, the original name, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents often refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter (Russian: Пи́тер, IPA: [ˈpʲitʲɪr]).

The city's traditional nicknames among Russians are the Window to the West and the Window to Europe. The northernmost metropolis in the world, St. Petersburg is often called the Venice of the North or Russian Venice due to its many water corridors, as the city is built on swamp and water. Furthermore, St. Petersburg has strongly European-inspired architecture and culture, which is combined with the city's Russian heritage.[15][16][17] Another nickname of St. Petersburg is The City of White Nights because of a natural phenomenon which arises due to the closeness to the polar region and ensures that in summer the nights of the city do not get completely dark for a month.[18][19] Just as Venice is associated with romance, in St. Petersburg the White Nights have a high value for love couples.[20]

History