Our third day in Saint Petersburg found us wandering along the water in the direction of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Originally built by Peter the Great it houses military buildings, a beautiful church in which all the Romanovs are buried, a prison, and much more. Some of our pictures were deleted but I was able to recover some. Our walk over there took us along some of the main canals and we had a gorgeous day to be walking around.
After checking out the cathedral, we wandered over to the Neva Gate. It was from here the many political prisoners were sent to exile in Siberia, never to return home again. It is a somber experience to stand at this little port and think about the people who stood here before us. They would have looked out across the water and seen this amazing city, many knowing that it would be the last time they saw their home. Next we walked over to the University. It was surprising to see plaques with Lenin’s picture still placed on some of the buildings and it was surprisingly rundown. It is interesting to be in a city where there is so much opulence and wander around the University – usually the pride of most cities – and see it so run down. There are a few buildings that were in good condition but overall there appears to be a lack of funding in the university.
Our next stop was Saint Petersburg’s oldest museum.
Inside we were treated to some truly amazing collects from around the world. The main attraction though is the medical collection of pickled people. Everything from the heart of a giant to babies with severe birth defects are all preserved in liquid filled jars. It’s quite erie. And there are lots of preserved babies and body parts. So strange. One plaque stated that Peter the Great wanted to raise awareness that would combat the commonly held feeling that birth defects were the result of evil spirits by creating this collection. Whether or not that worked is unknown but the collection is extensive and utterly strange.
Next up, the Bronze Horseman, most famous sculpture in Saint Petersburg.
The sculptor of the statue spent twelve years perfecting each detail of his masterpiece. After that it was more walking around. We passed other architectural jewels and walked down the Nevskiy Prospekt.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the walking and heat we decided to call it a day and made our way back to the hostel. I will tell you it is particularly disheartening to walk into store after store and never feeling the sweet relief of air conditioning. With temperatures soaring to 35°C (95°F) along with high humidity, it was sweltering and I kept walking into stores just in the hopes of finding a nice little air conditioner. No such luck.