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16.08.2017 16:52
stpetersburg, parks, summer
The Best Green Spots in Saint Petersburg

Now that summer has (finally) arrived in Saint Petersburg, it’s worth taking a short trip to one of the many beautiful parks that the city has to offer. Despite being a bustling metropolis, the city is full of green spaces, many of which come with their own interesting history. 

Aleksandrovskii Garden (Александровский сад)

If you’re near the Hermitage, you’ve got several parks around you. There’s Aleksandrovskii Garden (Александровский сад), which is located very close to the banks of the river Neva. This garden is perfect for relaxing and taking in splendid views of St. Isaacs Cathedral. You can also find a few statues scattered around the garden, including those of Gogol, Lermontov, and of the composer Glinka.

The park was built around the already-existing Admiralty Building in 1872-74, to mark 200 years since the birth of Peter the Great. It was formally opened in 1874 in the presence of Emperor Alexander II, which explains why the garden bears such a name.

Nearest metro: Admiralteiskaya
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUUNJSn1B


Field of Mars (Марсово поле)

To the other side of the Hermitage, you can find several other gardens. Firstly, you can go to the Field of Mars (Марсово поле) – a park named after the Roman god of war. The park dates back to the first years of the city and, even before it acquired the name ‘Field of Mars’ in 1805, it was used as a place to commemorate Russian victories in wars. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the park was used as a burial site for those who died fighting. In 1957, an Eternal Flame was lit in the centre of the park. This flame was the first Eternal Flame in Russia, and it was used to light the Eternal Flame that now sits outside the Kremlin in Moscow. 

Nearest Metro: Nevsky Prospect
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUURDCZoD

Summer Garden (Летний сад)

Nearby is the Summer Garden (Летний сад), commissioned by Peter the Great in 1704 to accompany his Summer Palace. The garden was supposedly designed with the help of Peter himself, who instructed it to be built according to strict geometrical principles and to feature statues acquired from his tours around Europe.

Nearest metro: Nevsky Prospect
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUURLgbCD


Mikhailovskii Garden (Михайловский сад)

Also nearby is Mikhailovskii Garden (Михайловский сад), which surrounds the Russian Museum (Русский музей) and is within jumping distance from the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood (Спас на Крови). Designed by Karlo Rossi at the start of the 19th century, the garden represents a unique blend of French (regular) and English (irregular) landscaping. In this garden, you can find lakes, meadow-like expanses of grass, and even a small Pavilion, which served as the quay for small boats of the imperial family.

Nearest metro: Nevsky Prospect
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBQQzMaSoA


Yekaterininskii Park (Екатерининский сквер)

If you’re a bit further down Nevsky Prospect, you could visit Yekaterininskii Park (Екатерининский сквер). The park was built at the start of the 19th century in honour of Catherine II, who reigned from 1762 to 1796, and was opened to the public in 1873. A key feature of the park is the statue of Catherine II, situated in the centre and overlooking Nevsky Prospect. This park is perfect if you need a bit of peace and quiet in and amidst the hustle and bustle of Nevsky.

Nearest metro: Nevsky Prospect
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUYuTbsxC


Yusupovskii Garden (Юсуповский сад)

A little further from Nevsky (but still very central) is Yusupovskii Garden (Юсуповский сад). Located on Sadovaya street on the Fontanka Embankment, this park is a popular park due to its idyllic atmosphere, with its shady willow trees, enchanting ponds, and meandering paths. The park used to belong to the estate of the Yusupov family, a family who, thanks to Prince Yusupov’s good relationship with Peter the Great, were very wealthy and affluent in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the estate was sold and later became state property. Interestingly, towards the end of the 19th century, the park became a popular place for ice skating and, in 1924, the first Soviet Figure Skating Championship was held in the park!

Nearest metro: Sadovaya
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUYy6cVDB


Kirov Central Culture and Leisure Park (ЦПКиО)

Further from the centre (but still very much worth the trip) is the Kirov Central Culture and Leisure Park (ЦПКиО - Центральный парк культуры и отдыха имени С.М. Кирова). Located on Elegin island, the park was built in 1932 and was opened for visitors the following year. You can do a variety of things at this park: you can skate, ride a row-boat or paddle-boat, go cycling, feed squirrels (food is provided for them), or even visit the mini-zoo. The entrance is free during the week, and on the weekends you can get a free pass if you present your student card.

Nearest metros: Krestovskii Ostrov
Maps: https://yandex.ru/maps/-/CBUY5ChUPD

Wherever you choose to relax, don’t forget to take plenty of water, sun protection, and an umbrella - you never know what Petersburg weather will do! 

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