Saint Petersburg in 2003

2003 is the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. This city, which is one of the glories of European civilization, had many of its buildings restored for this anniversary. President Putin had been the Mayor of Saint Petersburg before becoming President of Russia, so we should assume that the maximum effort was applied given budget constraints.

These relatively few photos in this report do not capture the famous Nevsky Prospect, the main street of the city, nor do they capture the magnificent summer palaces on the outskirts of the city. To see more of the city, including some of the side streets, see my companion report, Ayn Rand sites in Saint Petersburg.

On this trip in Moscow, we saw where Mikhail Romanov lived and in Kostroma how he was saved from assassination by the Polish army. Mikhail founded the Romanov dynasty. His grandson Peter the Great and all of the Romanov Czars thereafter, including Nicholas II in 1998, are buried in the same church inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. See the photos below.

Peter and Paul Fortress The morning light glimmers on the golden spire inside the Peter and Paul Fortress. Winter Palace The former Winter Palace is now the Hermitage Museum. A rare site to see it without dozens of tourist buses.
Czar Church All of the Czars and their families since Peter the Great are buried in this relatively modest church. This is sacred ground for Mother Russia. The holy of holies. Peter The Great Here is the grave of Peter the Great, the Father of Modern Russia and Founder of Saint Petersburg. He was 6 feet 8 inches tall and the greatest change agent in the history of Russia.
Czar Nicholas II Czar Nicholas II, the last Czar, and his family were buried in this room in 1998. Boris Yeltsin attended the service. Czar Graves Another legendary Czar, Catherine the Great is buried, the the row behind and opposite Peter the Great.
Czar Alexander II Grave Alexander II, the Czar Liberator who freed the serfs, and his wife are the only ones with large, colored markers. Assassination Church This colorful Church, viewed from Nevsky Prospect, was built on the site of the assassination of Alexander II.

Don Dancing At a tourist restaurant near St. Petersburg, I got picked by this beautiful and talented Russian dancer. The dance involved slapping hands, then slapping one foot and then the other. Then repeating faster and faster and faster and faster . . . Don Dancing Finish I kept up with her and my heart was going about 200 beats per minute. Then we twirled faster and faster. You can see that photo in my Year in Review. Finally, we finished with a flourish. My fellow Circumnavigators congratulated me.