We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
EU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Christmas Presents
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > June 2017 > TSARS V SOVIETS

TSARS V SOVIETS

One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, seek out the best ways to experience the two sides of St Petersburg: those forged by both imperial and communist Russia

Strolling past the Mikhailovsky Palace is a fake tsarina. Dressed in a corseted gown and tricorn hat, she is a glimpse of a lost world – a vestige of the centuries during which St Petersburg was the city of the tsars, the royal rulers of a vast Russian Empire. The scale of the tsars’ imperial might is reflected in another architectural landmark, the jade-green Winter Palace, but their legacy is apparent everywhere in St Petersburg.

Nearby stands the lavish Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Clustered beneath its technicolour domes today are stalls of souvenirs of the new Russia – T-shirts showing president Vladimir Putin topless, riding a bear or firing a gun, and nesting dolls depicting well-known rulers: Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev and Gorbachev.

Gold glints inside the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 brought an end to tsarist rule, creating the world’s first communist state. The leaders of the newly formed Soviet Union were keen to distance themselves from imperial Russia, and planned a new centre for St Petersburg – renamed Leningrad after Lenin’s death in 1924 – in the Moskovsky District. At its heart was the House of Soviets. Built as the city’s administrative offices and decorated with friezes of muscular workers and a Soviet crest, this was Stalin’s rival to the Winter Palace. This hulking Neoclassical building faces Moscow Square where, in the summer months, people paddle in fountains and eat ice creams from carts, and students play poker under a giant statue of Lenin, hand raised in salute.

Further up Moskovsky Avenue is the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, a memorial intended to remind these carefree citizens that their freedom was hard-won. The mood here is sombre. Figurative bronzes show the anguish of those caught in the Nazis’ 900-day Siege of Leningrad, during which 800,000 people starved to death. The emaciated statues stand in sharp contrast to today’s only visitors, a strapping young couple who stand hand-in-hand as they read the inscriptions.

WWII memories at the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

WATCH BALLET AT THE CITY’S BEST THEATRE

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) - June 2017
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - June 2017
€4.49
Or 449 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only € 2.16 per issue
SAVE
52%
€12.99
Or 1299 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 2.67 per issue
SAVE
41%
€31.99
Or 3199 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 3.49 per issue
SAVE
22%
€3.49
Or 349 points

View Issues

About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the June issue… We are heading to some of the world's most exciting cities. Discover the spirit of Havana through the eyes of five of its citizens, experience two sides to St Petersburg a century after revolution pitted tsars against Soviets, and touch down in two dozen more cities around the world, with new openings to find in places including Seattle, Johannesburg, Mexico City and Dublin. Our Great Escape this month is to the charmed coastline and stirring moors of South Devon, plus we also have a recipe-filled tour of Japan's best regional cuisine, and much more
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points