Russia – The City of White Night (Part 2)
WE departed from Leningradsky, Moscow for Moskovsky, St Petersburg on express train – 650km for a four hour train ride.
The ambience is more relaxed and serene. The apartment we rented was 10 minutes walking distance from The State Hermitage Museum and the Baroque Winter Palace. This world’s oldest museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and began receiving the public 1852. This town is also known as Russian Venice.
There are more than 3 million exhibits being showcased there and the bulk is located at Winter Palace, the former residence of Russian emperor. You could imagine how lavish the Tsar Romanov lifestyle was by just looking at the size of the humongous palace complex. There are 120 rooms and each room has its own concept.
Whilst you are here, do explore Peterhof Palace, often referred to as the Russian Versaille. How to get there? Several options are available:
a) Electric trains run from Baltiskiy Station to Noviy Peterhof and you can arrive in approximately 45 minutes. Walk from the gates to the Upper Garden across Proletarskiy Park.
b) Local buses.
c) Marshrutka mini buses either from in front of Baltiskiy Station, from Avtovo (K-424) or from Leninskiy Prospekt (K-242) Metro Stations. These minibuses will drop you right in front of Peterhof gate.
d) The best way would be to take a hydrofoil across the Gulf of Finland from several point in St Petersburg such as the State Hermitage.
I was smitten by nature, be it in the palace complex compound or outside. Due to its natural beauty, I visited again the next day. Finally I understood why St Petersburg is called the City of White Night during summer. The sun never really set, hence the night is white.
What else is there to see in St Petersburg? Plenty! Peterhof State Museum, Palace Square, Tsarskoye Selo State Museum, Palace Bridge acros Neva River, Neva Embankment, Anichkov Bridge, Peter Summer Palace, Faberge Museum, Aleksandria Historical Park, Paul and Peter Fortress, Bronze Horseman monument to Peter 1, Trinity Bridge, and Bolsheokhtinskiy Bridge to name a few.
And the highlight, beside the tranquil beauty of nature, is the Grand Mosque of St Petersburg, at the opposite of Peter and Paul Fortress. This mosque was opened in 1913 and was the largest mosque in Europe outside of Turkey. Its minarets are 49 meters in height and the dome is 39 meters high. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers.
In one sentence, St Petersburg is ravishingly beautiful, as well as historically and culturally significant.
This scenario of white nights made me ponder upon one thing in relation to al-Qur’an. Al-Qur’an al-Kareem is full of light – guidance, remedy, truth and wisdom. As soon as it enters a dark room, darkness simply vanishes. Blessed are those hearts where the light conquered every molecule of the physical as well as the spiritual heart.
May you have such a splendid time in St Petersburg!