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A brief tour of historic and cultural St. Petersburg in Russia

Panoramic view of St. Petersburg in Russia
Photo St Petersburg by Lassi Kurkijärvi / CC BY-NC 2.0 

St. Petersburg is one of those cities that gets into your blood – a fascinating city with remarkable architecture, culture and history on offer. In the architecture, Art Nouveau, Rococo and Baroque are in evidence throughout. The ballet, theatre and music are all an integral part of the culture of the city.

Exeter International will take you on an exclusive tour of the fascinating city of St. Petersburg and below are just some of the highlights which come highly recommended, including Faberge eggs, mad monks and butterflies.
 
Faberge Museum St Petersburg, Russia
Photo by ctj71081 / CC BY-SA 2.0 
Faberge egg

The Faberge Museum, St. Petersburg

The new Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg hosts the world’s largest Faberge collection.

Among the amazingly beautiful objects in the museum are objects d’art created by Carl Faberge for Tsars Alexander III and his son Nicholas II. 

In the museum there are nine Imperial eggs (the only museum to beat this is the Kremlin's Armoury that hosts 10), five non-Imperial Faberge eggs and around 4,000 other pieces created by Faberge and his fellow master craftsmen and women in pre-revolutionary Russia.

The work is exquisite and definitely worth the visit.

Faberge Egg
Photo Michael E. Johnston/CC BY-NC 2.0 Photo Michael E. Johnston/CC BY-NC 2.0

Yusupov Palace and the Murder of the “Mad Monk” Grigory Rasputin

Yusupov Palace and Grigory Rasputin
Photo by Andrej Korzun/CC BY-SA 3.0 
The Yusupov Palace is where Prince Felix Yusupov finally managed to kill the un-killable “mad monk” Grigory Rasputin.

Well worth a visit in its own right, the palace is a beautiful place with gorgeous and opulent rooms on display, which can be toured with an audio guide at your own pace.

However, there is one area of the Palace that has to be seen separately at an extra small charge, and tickets are only on sale after 5 p.m. The Rasputin exhibit is literally in the basement where he was murdered. It took several attempts by the Prince to finally reach the goal of killing Rasputin who he poisoned and then threw into an icy canal.

If you haven’t heard about him before, it is probably a good idea to read up on Grigory Rasputin before visiting the palace.

While a little on the cheesy side, this part of the tour comes highly recommended, along with the creepy looking wax mannequins on display. You have to watch a short movie in Russian (with no sub-titles) before heading down into the basement.

However, normally a tour guide is on hand to assist those who cannot speak the lingo by explaining what the various wall labels in the basement mean.

The Mad Monk Grigory Rasputin
Photo Grigory Rasputin by Karl Bulla/Public Domain

Nabokov's Butterflies

Nabokov Museum St Petersburg
Photo by Alex Bakharev/Public Domain 
Nabokov Museum, St Petersburg Russia Vladimir Nabokov, the well known author of “Lolita” and “Pale Fire” was not just a skillful writer, but also an active collector of butterflies.

Nabokov has gained posthumous respect for his scientific research into these fascinating insects and his home has been turned into the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg.

Nabokov has been collecting butterflies since the age of six and it became an obsession with him. While not all his fascinating collections still exist, some of the exhibits are located in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Harvard and Cornell Museums, the Zoological Museum in Lausanne and the Nabokov Museum on Bolshaya Morskaya Street in St. Petersburg, the place he was born in 1899.

Fans of Nabokov’s literature will recognize the house from regular appearances in his books.

Photo by Alex Bakharev/Public Domain

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