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OCTOBER 18
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St Petersburg Travel Guide

St Petersburg History

When World War I broke out in August 1914, it was decided to change the name of the Russian capital from St. Petersburg to Petrograd. The old name sounded too German for contemporary Russians. Germany was now the enemy of Russia and all the forces had to be employed to ensure her defeat. The main part of the city's industry began to work to support the war effort and many of Petrograd's buildings, including a large portion of the Winter Palace, were turned into hospitals. Most construction work in the city has stopped. The war did not go too well for Russia. The tsar's government had discredited itself and political tensions started rising. To make things worse, the food supply of the Russian capital deteriorated significantly towards the end of 1916.

In 1918 the capital was moved to Moscow. The communists wanted to start life afresh; they can't do it in the city of Emperors and nobles, so they moved capital to not so aristocratic Moscow. A little bit later they renamed St.-Petersburg into the "Leningrad", means town of the Lenin, and began to rename other main cities (Ekaterniburg, Nigny-Novgorod). They thought if there are new names, there will be new life.

By 1940 the Metro was opened in the Leningrad. It was hard to built it, because the city is close to the sea and there are much water in the ground. Besides, stations were planning to use as an air-bomb shelters in a case of war, so St.-Petersburg Metro is really deep. And in 1941 Leningrad was blocked by Nazi army. Hitler wanted to capture the city and flooded it (he this city is very important for Russian culture, so he wanted to destroy it fast) by flooding it. Meanwhile by capturing St.-Petersburg, Nazi could attack Moscow from the North. But the plans were ruined, although the city was completely blocked, Leningrad remained standing. It was striking. People all over the Russia listened to the radio news from blocked Leningrad, everybody wanted desperately Leningrad to stay and it was great patriotic feeling, to know it is still frightening. Now days you can just say "blockade" in Russia and people all over the country will think about Leningrad and its defenders.

In 1944 thousands of people died of starvation during that years, and this blockade has become the real honour for people of Russia and 1989 the historical center of the city was added to the UNESCO list of world culture heritage.

The 70's and the early 80's were a period of stability for the Soviet Union and for Leningrad. Though political freedoms were largely limited, most of the city's population enjoyed relative prosperity. But when the government had initiated the reforms known worldwide as Perestroika all stability has soon disappeared.

The population began experiencing economic hardship as the reforms went on. In 1991, after a city-wide referendum, the city of Leningrad got back its old name, St. Petersburg. Now, in the second half of the 90s, St. Petersburg is still in a transition period, both economically and socially. While the city's industry is still in recession, services and retail sales are gradually improving, though economically St. Petersburg is still far behind Moscow. On the social side, the younger generations are coping with the change quite well, but unemployment is high.

In 2003 St Petersburg celebrated 300 years. Saint Petersburg is the most beautiful city of the world and always gives the welcome to foreigners and new comer of other parts of Russia with its atmosphere that it does so special a Saint Petersburg.

 

 

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