The city's northern location, its proximity to the sea and its large water area do much to determine the specific St Petersburg's climate, with its short winter days, white nights in summer (from late May till mid-July), and frequent and dramatic weather changes. The climate is humid, almost maritime, with moderately warm summers and quite long winters. The average temperature in mid-October is +6°С (+43°F).
Given the probable rapid weather changes in St Petersburg, we recommend participants in the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly to prepare in advance for sudden changes in the temperature and the weather in general.
St Petersburg is located in the GMT+3 time zone.
Power supply (socket voltage)
The power supply voltage in Russia is 220v (50–60 Hz). Type C and F sockets are common. If you plan to bring electrical appliances that require a higher voltage or if you might need another socket type, we suggest you bring an adapter with you.
Useful telephone numbers in St Petersburg
Below are the direct telephone numbers of city emergency services:
Rescue service (for mobile network subscribers): 112
City emergency services:
Rescue service: 101 (from a mobile phone), 01
Police: 102 (from a mobile phone), 02
Emergency medical service: 103 (from a mobile phone), 03
Lost Documents Centre: +7 (812) 336 5109
Free enquiry service (around the clock): 064
Around-the-clock enquiry service for tourists (Tourist Help Line): +7 (812) 303 0555
Official currency and exchange rate
The rouble is the official currency of the Russian Federation. For the latest exchange rates, please see the Central Bank of Russia website: www.cbr.ru.
The Central Bank's USD exchange rate for May 27, 2017 is RUB 56.75 roubles.
All the main types of plastic card are accepted in Russia, including Visa, MasterCard, Mir, AmericanExpress, DinersClub, and Discover.
Although payment cards are accepted in most restaurants and many stores in St Petersburg, we advise you to have cash with you.
If you lose your card, please dial the following phone numbers:
Visa: +1 (303) 967 1096
MasterCard: +1 (636) 722 7111, 8 (800) 555 0269
American Express: 8 (800) 200 9449
Diners Club: +1 (514) 877 1577, 8 (800) 200 6205
Discover: +1 (800) 347 2683, 8 (800) 707 7767
Local SIM cards for cellular communications can be purchased at the mobile operator’s stand in the Catherine Hall of Tavricheskiy Palace. In order to purchase a SIM card and conclude a contract for cellular communications services, Russian law requires that the person who will be using the SIM card must be present and show his/her passport (the passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation or a foreign citizen).
How to call to St Petersburg:
In Russia from a landline:
enter the code (8 812)
dial the 7-digit phone number
In Russia from a mobile phone:
enter the code (+7 812)
dial the 7-digit phone number
In other countries from a landline:
enter the code (00 (country code) 7 812)
dial the 7-digit phone number
In other countries from a mobile phone:
enter the code (+7 812)
dial the 7-digit phone number
How to call from St Petersburg:
To another country from a mobile phone:
dial the code for an international line: (8,10), “"+” or other
dial the code of the country and city you are calling
dial the subscriber's number
To another country from a landline:
dial the code for an international line: (8,10)
dial the code of the country and city (operator) you are calling
dial the subscriber's number
St Petersburg sights
St Petersburg is a city with 300 years of history. A few centuries is not a great age for a city. Yet, within just three centuries of rapid growth and development, seeing sudden transformations and seeking its own path, St Petersburg has evolved into an "eternal city", of unparalleled beauty and inner harmony. Elusive and mysterious, St Petersburg occupies a unique place in Russian history. For over two hundred years, it was the glorious capital of the great Russian Empire and it still preserves the status of the country's cultural and spiritual centre.
St Petersburg is the youngest of the great European cities. There is no other place in the world with so many neoclassical, eclectic, modernist and retrospective style buildings. St Petersburg's historical centre and its series of suburban palaces and gardens are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
St Petersburg is the northernmost of the world's largest cities: the 60th latitude on which it is located runs through Greenland, Alaska (Anchorage), Magadan and Norway's capital Oslo. Thanks to its northern location, St Petersburg is famous for its white nights, a key tourist sight of the city.
St Petersburg has more bridges than any other city in Europe and is the runner-up in the number of canals and islands. If you include the suburbs, the city has 64 rivers, 48 canals, 170 kilometres of coastline, about 100 islands and 800 bridges.
St Petersburg is the largest city in Europe that is not a capital. Since the early 19th century, it has had the fourth biggest population in Europe, at times exceeding Berlin, Vienna, Naples and Moscow, but always behind Paris and London.
The territory under St Petersburg's jurisdiction totals 1,439 square kilometres. It is located next to the eastern tip of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea.
Standing at the intersection of various sea, river and land routes, St Petersburg is Russia's gateway to Europe and the country's strategic centre, the point closest to the countries of the European Union.
It is home to representative offices of international organisations, consulates of various nations and the offices of federal ministries and agencies.
St Petersburg is the administrative centre of the North-Western Federal District, which includes the Republic of Karelia, Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk Region, Vologda Region, Kaliningrad Region, Leningrad Region, Murmansk Region, Novgorod Region, Pskov Region and the Nenets Autonomous Area.
It boasts 2,000 libraries, 221 museums, more than 80 theatres, 100 concert associations, 45 galleries and exhibition halls, 62 cinemas and 80 cultural organisations. The city hosts around 100 festivals and competitions in culture and arts every year, more than 50 of which are international.
State Hermitage Museum (Winter Palace)
State Hermitage is one of the world's largest art, history and culture museums.
It boasts a huge collection of around three million works of art and cultural artefacts
from around the world, including paintings, graphic art, sculptures, applied
art, archaeological finds, coins, and medals.
Founded in 1703, the Peter and Paul Fortress is where the city of St Petersburg grew from. Unparalleled in terms of Russian architecture, the Peter and Paul Cathedral ― the central building of the fortress ― contains the tombs of the Romanov Dynasty. This is where all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great to Nicholas II are buried.
Built in the early eighteenth century for the Academy of Sciences, the Kunstkamera building houses the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Kunstkamera was Russia’s first natural history museum and is famous for its rich collection of natural and anatomical curiosities dating back to the eighteenth century.
The Russian Museum, opened in 1898 by Emperor Nicholas II in the Mikhailovsky Palace, features a unique collection of Russian art, including ancient Russian paintings and applied works of art, as well as collections of paintings, watercolours and etchings from the 18th and 19th centuries. It also displays a selection of Russian sculpture, coins, medals and works of applied art.
The Summer Garden was planted in 1704 by decree of Peter the Great. It is St Petersburg’s first monument to landscape design. The Summer Garden contains Peter the Great’s Summer Palace, exact replicas of some of the rarest examples of park and garden sculpture, beautiful fencing and reconstructed fountains from the early 18th century, as well as tea and coffee houses and a monument to fabulist Ivan Krylov.
St Michael’s (Mikhailovsky or Engineers’) Castle is an exceptional architectural ensemble unlike anything else in St Petersburg. Built at the turn of the 19th century as a palace for Emperor Paul I, it is now a branch of the Russian Museum.
Erarta is Russia's largest private museum of contemporary art, with a permanent display of 2,300 paintings by 170 artists from dozens of Russian cities. The museum stages regular performances, shows and various other events to promote and popularise contemporary art.
Built in 1756, the Alexandrinsky Theatre is one of Russia’s oldest drama theatres, with both classical and modern plays in its repertoire. The theatre is led by its artistic director Valery Fokin, renowned as a People’s Artist of Russia.
Founded in 1783 as an imperial theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre is now one of the world’s most prominent opera and ballet theatres. Its company boasts such celebrated performers as Anna Netrebko, Olga Borodina, Diana Vishneva, Ekaterina Kondaurova and Ulyana Lopatkina, led by its artistic director Valery Gergiev. In early summer, the Mariinsky Theatre stages the annual Stars of the White Nights music festival.
Founded in 1833, the Mikhailovsky Theatre was originally an imperial theatre. The outstanding personalities who, at various times in history, have performed on its stage include the Johann Strauss Orchestra, Mathilde Kschessinska, Fedor Chaliapin and the Sarah Bernhardt Company. Its recent history is primarily associated with Elena Obraztsova and Farukh Ruzimatov.
The Petersburg Hall of the Nobility became the heart of the city's musical life in the late 1840s. In 1921, the Petrograd Philarmonic, currently known as the Shostakovich St Petersburg Academic Philarmonic, opened there. Its history is closely connected with the great Soviet conductor Evgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov, the current artistic director and conductor of the Philarmonic's symphony orchestra. The orchestra stages regular concerts and lectures on the history of music, while the annual Square of Arts music festival is held here in winter.
Founded in 1919, the Georgy Tovstonogov State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theatre was one of the first theatres to be opened after the 1917 Revolution. In the 1960–1980s, the theatre was headed by Georgy Tovstonogov. Andrei Moguchy has been the theatre’s artistic director since 2013.
The St Petersburg State Academic Capella is Russia’s oldest professional musical institution. It incorporates a choir initially founded in 1476 in Moscow as the Tsar’s Singing Deacons choir and a symphony orchestra, with its own concert hall dating back to 1889.
St Petersburg’s largest Orthodox cathedral, St Isaac’s, is a unique heritage building erected in 1858 by architect Auguste de Montferrand. The cathedral is 101.5 metres high. The walkway encircling the cathedral’s dome is open to the public, offering a panoramic view of the historic centre of St Petersburg.
Kazan Cathedral is St Petersburg’s main cathedral and is consecrated to the miracle-working copy of the venerable Our Lady of Kazan icon. Erected by Andrei Voronikhin in 1811, it is a unique example of Russian architecture.
Smolny Cathedral is a functioning Orthodox church, as well as a concert hall and museum. Designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, it is rightly considered a gem of the St Petersburg baroque style. The cathedral is part of the Smolny Monastery ensemble, which housed Russia’s first educational institution for girls.
3/1 Pl. Rastrelli
+7 (812) 577 1421
Church of the Saviour on Blood
A unique monument to Alexander II The Liberator, the Church of the Saviour on Blood (Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ) dominates the architectural ensemble in the centre of St Petersburg. The cathedral features Russia’s biggest collection of mosaics (covering over 7,000 square metres), slabs of varicoloured Italian marble, ornamental stones from the Urals and the Altai, as well as a collection of Russian heraldic mosaics.
Located on the Petrograd side, next to Troitskaya Square, the St Petersburg Mosque is among the largest in Europe and can accommodate up to 5,000 believers at once. The ground floor houses the prayer hall for men, while women pray on the first floor. The second floor features classrooms of the Summer school, where lessons in Arabic and the Tatar language and the fundamentals of Islam are taught. The interior of the Mosque is in full compliance with Islamic traditions and laws: the walls are decorated with ornamental paintings without a single image of an animal.
7, Kronverksky Prospekt
+7 (812) 233 9819
Grand Choral Sinagogue
The Grand Choral Synagogue is located on Lermontovsky Prospekt, next to Teatralnaya Square. The building was constructed by decree of Emperor Alexander II in 1893. Designed in the Eastern, Mauritanian style, the synagogue was built under the guidance of architects Lev Bakhman and Ivan Shaposhnikov, assisted by Nicholas Benois and Vasily Stasov. The façade has recently been repainted in its original terracotta colour. The Grand Choral Synagogue is the heart of the St Petersburg Jewish religious community, which includes about 100,000 people. Religious ceremonies, gatherings, festivities and many other events are held here.
2, Lermontovsky Prospekt
+7 (812) 713 8186
Datsan Gunzechoinei Buddhist Temple
Located on St Petersburg's Primorsky Prospekt, near Staraya Derevnya Metro station, the Datsan Gunzechoinei Buddhist Temple has long been the world's northernmost Buddhist temple. Its name is a Tibetan acronym meaning "Source of the Buddha's Religious Teaching that has Deep Compassion for All Beings." It belongs to the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and was consecrated to Kalachakra.
The St Catherine Church in St Petersburg is one of Russia's oldest Catholic churches and is a valuable architectural monument. This is the only Catholic church in Russia that has received the honoured status of a small basilica.
The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve located in St Petersburg’s closest suburb is a system of gardens and parks incorporating two palaces and their adjoining parks. The Catherine Palace houses the famous Amber Room, reopened following reconstruction in 2003.
The Pavlovsk Museum-Reserve is an ensemble of late 18th – early 19th century palaces and parks situated in the outskirts of St Petersburg. The park covers an area of roughly 600 hectares and surrounds the summer palace of Emperor Paul I. The Pavlovsk park is one of the largest landscaped gardens in Europe.
The Konstantin Palace is a resurrected monument to the history and architecture of the 18th century. It is the former residence of the Romanov grand princes and the dominant structure of the National Congress Palace State Complex. The reconstructed ensemble serves as both a state residence and a modern business and historical/cultural centre. It has hosted a Russia–EU Summit, a meeting of G8 heads of state, as well as an unprecedented G20 leaders’ summit.
The magnificent ensemble of parks and palaces at Peterhof was founded as a country retreat for Peter the Great. The Versailles-inspired fountain system of the Lower Park and the Grand Palace are a unique testament to the engineering achievements of the first half of the 18th century. In addition to the traditional expositions, guests are also welcome to visit the Museum of Imperial Bicycles, the Museum of Playing Cards, the Benois Family Museum and the Museum of Collections.
The Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum incorporates the Grand Palace, which was formerly the residence of the royal family, a park and the unique Priory Palace built for the Knights of Malta. The museum housed in the Grand Gatchina Palace displays an extensive collection of household items, china, glass, textiles and costumes, weapons dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and paintings and drawings. The museum hosts themed costume events.