We arrived in St. Petersburg, a city founded in 1703, where Europe and Russia merge in history, architecture and culture. With 80 rivers and canals and more than 300 bridges, it’s often called the Venice of the North.
The group stopped for a photo at the iconic Church on the Spilt Blood, with its multi-colored onion domes along the river. In 1881, revolutionaries threw a bomb at the carriage of Tsar Alexander II, who escaped uninjured. The Tsar went to help others affected by the blast and was killed by another bomb, thrown by an assassin. Ironically, when he died, unbeknownst to those seeking political freedom, Alexander had the draft of a constitution in his pocket.
We also visited the fortress and church of Saint Peter and Paul, where the city was founded, and the history of the nation’s leaders is told in the burial places of the its leaders, beginning with Peter the Great, who built the Russian empire, creating a national army and navy and launching extensive educational and culture reforms.
The tombs of the Nicolas and Alexandra Romanav family, the last tsarist family who were executed by a firing squad in 1918.
The shots that called the Russian people to revolution and signaled them to storm the winter palace, were fired at the fortress on Oct. 25, 1917. This movement ultimately brought Vladimir Lenin to power and launched the creation of the communist state.