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The history of Leningrad

Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia
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It is easy to understand why there are WWII monuments all over Russia when you learn about the blockade of Leningrad. For almost 900 days St Petersburg (back then Leningrad) was surrounded by Nazis. They barely had any food, were constantly bombed, and very poor sanitation led to disease. Things were so bad that more citizens died in Leningrad alone died than all the British and American soldiers put together. It has been interesting to see all the brides and grooms taking pictures at all the WWII monuments we've seen. It is a nice way to memorialize the war that affected everyone in Russia.
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Entertainment

Mariinskiy Teatr
We bought cheap seats for an opera, and a couple minutes before starting they told the top balcony we were welcome to claim any open seats in front. The also translated the entire opera in English!

Hotels

Hostel Friends Life
Very nicely laid out with lots of space, pleanty of toilets an showers, wifi, a big common room with computers, and a kitchen. Our room even had a TV with the BBC.

Points of interest

State Hermitage Museum
Catherine the Great liked the original Raphael's Loggia in Vatican City so much that she sent many painters there for 7 years to copy the entire thing. (Tons of other art too.)
Yelagin Island
A pedestrian-only island-park that included many hand-dug lakes and a palace
Savior on the Spilled Blood
Savior on the Spilled Blood
Built where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, it is one of the few churches that looks Russian in St Petersburg; most of the others were designed by Italian architects.
Muzey S. M. Kirova
The largest museum devoted to a single Soviet figure other than Lenin, Kirov's cushy home has been preserved since he was assassinated as Leningrad Party Secretary in 1934, plus his office was moved into a room next door. He really liked to hunt: there were more mounted animals than there were Stalin portraits. I thought this might be a mothballed Soviet relic as was the Kirov house we saw in Novosibirsk, but it seems actually quite well attended by Russians.

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