- From Peter to the North
- From Peter to the East
- West of Peter
- Trips south of Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the capital of the Leningrad Region and one of the most interesting Russian cities. There are two high seasons in St. Petersburg: the period of white nights and the first month of autumn. In summer, when the nights are too light, St. Petersburg is noisy, fun and crowded. There are too many interesting events taking place in the northern capital at this time, which in no case should be missed. Autumn is much more suitable for trips to small towns of the Leningrad Region.
And now we are not talking about palace complexes and landscape parks, although they are also good during Indian summer. It is quiet, calm, there are no crowds of tourists who interfere with thinking about the eternal, enjoying the bright autumn colors. In addition to the imperial country palaces, there are beautiful historical sites that can amaze and surprise within 1-3 hours drive from St. Petersburg.
There are many small towns with a population of tens of thousands of people in the Leningrad Region. They are united by several factors: they are suitable for one-day excursions, they have a rich history and unusual attractions.
From Peter to the North
The city of Priozersk, founded at the end of the 13th century on the site between lakes Vuoksa and Ladoga, is located 143 km from St. Petersburg. You can overcome them by trains and suburban trains departing from Finland Station.
Before the Novgorodians came to Priozersk, who built the main attraction of the city - the Korela fortress, this settlement was owned by a local tribe. Novgorod merchants considered Priozersk to be an important strategic point, since through it it was possible to get to the Gulf of Finland by water.
The Korela fortress has survived to our time, however, nothing remains of the old wooden buildings of Novgorod. In 1580, the city was taken by the Swedes, who rebuilt the fortification in stone. You can get to the territory of the fortress through a small gate. Among the entertainment available to tourists is the ascent to the earthen rampart, from where the entire fortress is visible. Particularly impressionable travelers will be able to imagine what it would be like to be besieged in a small fortress.
The most outstanding structure of the fortress is the tower of Lars Torstensson, which was erected in 1585. Its second name is Pugachevskaya. When after 1710 Priozersk, which at that time was called Kexholm, was annexed to the Russian Empire, the Korela fortress became a prison. In 1775, the family of the rebel Emelyan Pugachev was brought here. The tower got its name in honor of these prisoners.
On the lawn near the walls of the fortress, there is a granite monument on which a phrase from the Old Russian chronicle is placed. It follows from it that the legendary Rurik died in Korel in 879. It is possible that the prince was buried somewhere on the territory of this city. Although some historians believe that Rurik died in Staraya Ladoga.
There are other attractions in Priozersk:
- A new fortress, now turned into a sanatorium. Only two gates, several underground storages and an earthen rampart have survived from it;
- male Konevsky monastery on the island of Konevets. The road to it will take about 1, 5 hours. First you need to get to the village of Vladimirovka, and from there take a boat to Konevets. The abode on a remote island, so named because of the stone that resembles the head of a horse, was founded in the 14th century. At the moment the monastery is active;
- Lenin Square, famous for the fact that monuments to the leader of the world proletariat and Emperor Peter I peacefully coexist on it.
From Peter to the East
There are several interesting cities to the east of St. Petersburg. The closest to the Northern capital is the fortified city of Shlisselburg. Lodeinoe Pole and Tikhvin are located at the same distance from it.
Shlisselburg, whose population does not exceed 15 thousand people, has long been recognized as one of the most interesting suburbs of St. Petersburg. Minibuses from St. Petersburg run to him from the Ulitsa Dybenko and Rybatskoye metro stations and electric trains.
Shlisselburg was built on Lake Ladoga. Four artificial waterways pass through the town, along which it is so pleasant to stroll, enjoying the picturesque views. Several churches built during the reign of Catherine II have survived in Shlisselburg, but its main attraction is the ancient fortress Oreshek, which was built in the place where ships left Ladoga Lake to the Neva.
In the 18th century, Oreshek became a prison where many noble prisoners were kept. Seriously damaged during the Great Patriotic War, the fortress was never rebuilt. Only the northern wall was rebuilt.
The E-105 highway connecting St. Petersburg and Murmansk will lead to the city of Lodeinoe Pole, which is located behind Shlisselburg and Staraya Ladoga. It can be reached by car in 3 hours, by bus - in 3 hours 15 minutes, by train - at least 2 hours 46 minutes.
Lodeynoye Pole is considered the city where the Baltic Fleet was created. At the beginning of the 18th century, at the local shipyard, warships were made by the order of Emperor Peter I. A monument on Uritskogo Street reminds of that time. The obelisk was erected at the place where Peter I usually stayed during his visits to the local shipyard.
Another iconic attraction of Lodeynoye Pole is the Svirskaya Pobeda park, which was laid out on the site of the Leningrad defense line. It consists of several objects, including the city museum.
If at Staraya Ladoga you turn onto the A-114 highway, you can get to the city of Tikhvin and its Assumption Monastery, which houses an amazing shrine - the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, acquired at the end of the 14th century. On holidays and weekends, a line of believers is lined up to the icon.
The Dormition Monastery is not the only tourist attraction in Tikhvin. The city also has a women's Vvedenskaya monastery and a house-museum of Rimsky-Korsakov. As you know, the famous composer was born in Tikhvin.
West of Peter
Electric trains run from Finland Station to Vyborg, which is 106 km from St. Petersburg. The history of Vyborg is amazing. They fought for him, he was conquered, he passed from hand to hand. It was laid by the Swedes in order to lose it forever in 1710. Vyborg became part of the Russian Empire. Then for some time he went to Finland, in order to become part of the Soviet Union in 1944.
Vyborg resembles lovely European provincial towns with its narrow streets and lanes with stone pavements, charming mansions covered with tiles, and a real castle of the Middle Ages. This castle, dating from the end of the 13th century, belonged to a Swedish general.
The hallmark of Vyborg is the castle tower, which you can climb to see the whole city and Vyborg Bay from above.
When you get tired of walking around Vyborg, go to Mon Repos, located 1.5 km from Vyborg, the former estate of gentlemen Nikolai. The manor house in need of renovation and a beautiful park have survived from it.
The town of Sosnovy Bor is located on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland from Vyborg. Russians are allowed to enter Sosnovy Bor without hindrance, but foreigners are slowed down, demanding certain permits. The fact is that there are several secret military and scientific facilities in Sosnovy Bor.
Sosnovy Bor is a young town, which until 1973 was a village. In addition to fairly standard attractions (monuments and churches), the city has two good entertainment towns that will be of interest to both children and adults.
One is called "Malaya Koporskaya fortress". It was built in the style of the ancient defensive castle of Koporye, which belongs to the Livonians, located near Sosnovy Bor. Now Koporye has been turned into a museum, and the "Malaya Koporskaya fortress" in Sosnovy Bor is a simplified copy of it, turned into a play area.
The second amusement park - Andersengrad - has been operating since 1980. As its name implies, it is intended to remind its visitors of the tales of the famous Andersen.
Trips south of Petersburg
It is easy to get to Kingisepp along the A-180 highway, which is 114 km away from St. Petersburg. The city began with the Yam fortress, which stood for 4 centuries - from the XIV to the XVIII centuries. Fragments of defensive structures have been preserved from it, which can be climbed.
Another attraction of Kingisepp is the Catherine Cathedral by the architect Antonio Rinaldi. Next to it, on Karl Marx Avenue, there is a local history museum, which contains various historical artifacts.
Beyond Kingisepp, on the border with Estonia, lies Ivangorod with a stunning imposing fort, now converted into a museum. Getting to the fortress is not so much difficult as it is troublesome to get to, because a visit to the border zone is possible only with a special document. True, the museum takes care of its design. To do this, you should call the museum representatives a couple of days before your trip and leave your data.
Gatchina is another small town located 38 km south of St. Petersburg. People come here by trains departing from the Baltiysky railway station and by buses departing from the Moskovskaya metro station.
There was a time when Gatchina overshadowed all the famous European palace complexes with its grandeur and splendor. The historic Gatchina Palace was not spared by the Second World War. It was restored in the 80s and opened to tourists. The palace is adjoined by four vast parks, on the territory of which you can easily get lost, looking for reservoirs, dilapidated pavilions and other park beauty.