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Things to do in Saint-Petersburg

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Peterhof
One of St. Petersburg's most famous and popular visitor attractions, the palace and park at Peterhof (also known as Petrodvorets) are often referred to as "the Russian Versailles", although many visitors conclude that the comparison does a disservice to the grandeur and scope of this majestic estate. Versailles was, however, the inspiration for Peter the Great's desire to build an imperial palace in the suburbs of his new city and, after an aborted attempt at Strelna, Peterhof - which means "Peter's Court" in German - became the site for the Tsar's Monplaisir Palace, and then of the original Grand Palace. The estate was equally popular with Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade. Improvements to the park continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Catherine the Great, after leaving her own mark on the park, moved the court to Pushkin, but Peterhof once again became the official Imperial Residence in the reign of Nicholas I, who ordered the building of the modest Cottage Palace in 1826. Like almost all St. Petersburg's suburban estates, Peterhof was ravaged by German troops during the Second World War. It was, however, one of the first to be resurrected and, thanks to the work of military engineers as well as over 1,000 volunteers, the Lower Park opened to the public in 1945 and the facades of the Grand Palace were restored in 1952. The name was also de-Germanicized in 1944, becoming Petrodvorets, the name under which the surrounding town is still known. The palace and park are once again known as Peterhof.
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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This Church was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was severely wounded and died in March 1881.The church was built from 1883 till 1907. The construction was funded by the imperial family. Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The Church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
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Palace Bridge
Although it is only a 20th century creation, Palace Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most famous sights of St. Petersburg, and is quite literally unmissable for most visitors to the city, who will find themselves continually using the bridge to move between Palace Square, home to the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum, and the numerous historic attractions on Vasilevskiy Ostrov. Despite the grandeur and extravagance of the surrounding architecture, Palace Bridge itself is a relatively simple structure, comprising five cast-iron spans resting on granite-clad, packed-rubble piers. Height of the bridge was strictly limited, so as not to obstruct the view of the monuments around. The central span of the bridge splits into two wings, which are raised through an angle of over 45° to allow ships to pass up the Neva River, and the view of the golden spire of the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral between the two raised wings is one of the most widespread and memorable images of St. Petersburg. It also makes Palace Embankment the centre of nightly celebrations during the White Nights, when thousands of locals and visitors gather to watch Palace Bridge open in the small hours.
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Narva Bastions
In the 17th century, Narva was a city on the border between Sweden and Russia, which Sweden wanted to turn into a regional capital. The designer of the defence fortifications was a military engineer and architect Erik Dahlberg.
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Dark Garden
This is Narva’s oldest park, an example of park architecture from the end of the 19th century. Located on the Bastions. There are two memorials in the park and its environs. The first is the iron cross erected on the Victoria Basion in 1853 in memory of the Russian soldiers that died during the Siege of Narva in the Great Northern War. The second memorial marks the graves of soldiers that died in the War of Independence in November 1918.
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Narva Town Hall
German, Swedish and Italian architectural influences are mixed in the building style of the Town Hall that dates back to the 17th century (architect G. Teuffel). The architectural complex of the Town Hall Square included the Town Hall, Stock Exchange, and residences of the wealthy Swedish citizenry.
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Northern yard of Narva Castle
The Northern yard is our attempt of recreating the 17th century. Here, we imagine genuine and vibrant early modern urban quarters with houses, people, and their everyday lives. This way, a guest of the Northern yard is instantly taken 300–400 years back in time.
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Narva Museum
Narva Museum today – it is the Narva stronghold, the Northern Courtyard, and the Art Gallery. These are more than architectural monuments, as the castle and the gallery also have exhibition halls. The exhibition of Narva castle talks about the history of Narva from the 13th century until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1991, the Art Gallery was opened. This allowed the museum to host Estonian and foreign art exhibitions in addition to displaying its own art collection. In 2007, Põhjaõu was opened as a new tourist attraction in the Northern Courtyard of the castle; this is how Narva Museum interprets the district of artisans dating from the 17th century.
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Paul Keres Monument
The monument dedicated to the 100th birthday of Paul Keres, an Estonian chess player and international grandmaster, is located on a square between Puškin Street and Peeter Square. The authors of the monument are well-known Estonian sculptors Aivar Simson and Paul Mänd. Their idea was to make it possible for people to sit opposite to Keres behind the chessboard and think about the next move. The monument depicts the game between Keres and Walter Browne in Vancouver in 1975. The monument mistakenly shows Keres playing with white pieces. The sculpture is made of bronze.
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Ylaemaa Gem Museum
Ylämaa Gem Museum was founded in the year 1982. The museum is the first gem museum in Finland that is open for public. Over 250 000 visitors have visited in Ylämaa gem museum to this point. The Ylämaa Gem Museum exhibition presents over four thousand gems, minerals, and fossils from all over the world. The specialities of the museum are genuine fossils of dinosaur and mammoth, and different types of meteorite. Among other things, you will see a replica collection of the world’s most famous diamonds, desert roses, ocean jaspers, quarter-ton rose quartz from Madagascar, various mineral ores, and 4000 other exciting specimens. Prehistoric fossils, corals and meteorites are also fascinating. You will learn a lot about the most beautiful labradorite of the world, spectrolite, found only in Ylämaa, some kilometres from Gem Museum. At the museum, you will also be presented fluorescent minerals radiating in magnificent bright colours, an experience to remember.
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Lohionginta Korpikeidas
Lohionginta Korpikeidas is a fishing place with a guaranteed catch! You can take your freshly caught fish with you or have it smoked. A domestic animal park is an excellent destination for family trips. Sheep, rabbits, chickens and roosters, guinea pigs, chipmunks, turkeys, pigeons, emus, a miniature pig and pony riding. Open also during winter time for fishing.
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St. Mary's Church of Lappee
Situated in the heart of Lappeenranta, St. Mary’s Church of Lappee is a double cruciform wooden church that was originally built in 1794. The current church was built by Juhana Salonen, from Savitaipale, although it has undergone restoration work over the years. The altarpiece, representing Christ’s Ascension, was painted by Aleksandra Frosterus-Såltin in 1887, and there are many other paintings in the church by unknown artists.
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Wolkoff House Museum
Built in 1826, Wolkoff House is located in the centre of the town and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Lappeenranta. It originally belonged to a Russian merchant family, from 1872 to 1986, and was opened as a museum to the public in 1993.
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Aviation Museum of Karelia
Situated in Lappenranta airport, the Aviation Museum of Karelia opened to the public in 2000. The basic exhibition displays fighter planes MIG-21BIS, SAAB 35S, DRAKEN, NIEUPORT 17, FOLLAND GNAT and the school plane SAAB 91D SAFIR.
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Lappeenranta Orthodox Church
The Church of the Virgin Mary is the oldest orthodox church in Finland and is situated in Linnoitus, otherwise known as the Fortress of Lappeenranta. There was a wooden church on the site as far back as 1742, the present church was completed in 1785. The most valuable icon here is the 200-year-old Communion of the Holy, found in the middle of the north wall.
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South Karelia Art Museum
Founded in 1965, the Lappeenranta Art Museum initially occupied the same premises as the South Karelia Museum of Cultural History, at the northern tip of the Lappeenranta Fortress. In the 1980s, the Art Museum moved to its present site in the neoclassic-style barracks (built in 1798), opposite the Orthodox Church. In 1986, the Art Museum became the Regional Art Museum of South-East Finland. The museum is home to a collection of Finnish art from the mid-19th century to the present day. The museum’s largest single collection of old Finnish art was accumulated by Viipurin Taiteenystävät ry (Vyborg Friends of Art); this collection includes works by many well-known artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Pekka Halonen, Tyko Sallinen, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm and Eero Järnefelt. The collection has paintings by artists who were active in Vyborg or were born there. The contemporary art collections, on the other hand, focus in particular on art from south-east Finland and include paintings by Leena Luostarinen, Unto Ahjotuli, Anne Tompuri, Irmeli Tarmo, Eeva Vesterinen, Heimo Suntio and Sinikka Kurkinen etc. etc. Every year, the Art Museum also stages between three and four temporary exhibitions which feature both the latest trends in the world of art and works representing earlier periods in the history of art.
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The Fortress of Lappeenranta
The Fortress of Lappeenranta is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland. Inhabited and full of life even today, it once formed part of a defence system that also included the fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki and the fortress of Hamina. Although different in size, all three of these fortresses are of a similar nature and share the same passion for development. While seeking to protect and preserve these areas through careful land use planning, they also aim to increase services and levels of activity around the year. The Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, the Fortress was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. Today, the Fortress of Lappeenranta is a valuable component of Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and forms part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations.
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Lusto - The Finnish Forest Museum
Lusto – The Finnish Forest Museum is a destination for the entire family. It’s a place that brings back memories and creates new experiences. The national museum responsible for forest culture is located in Punkaharju, in the most beautiful landscape of ridges and lakes in eastern Finland. Lusto’s exhibitions and events provide a diverse and illustrative insight into the significance of forests in the life of Finns. Lusto is sure to appeal to visitors of all ages!
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The Johanna Oras Manor Gallery
Johanna and Reijo Oras purchased the Tuunaankartano Manor, situated in the heart of the Retretti area in Punkaharju. The manor-house, built in the 1910s, is the permanent location for Johanna Oras´s summer exhibition. A side building will be renovated into the artist´s summer atelier, offering something exceptional in Finland; the public will have the chance to follow the artist at work and see some of the mysterious birth processes of a work of art from inspiration to the final brush touch.
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Hyterma
Hytermä islands are nature reserve area and museum islands, about 7km from the centre of Kerimäki towards Hälvä. Hytermä was declared a protected nature area in the year 1931, and the fact that is has survived almost completely in its natural state is all down to an ex-rural police chief (1916-1940) Heikki Väyrynen, a.k.a. Romu-Heikki, and his wife. The islands have a one-of-a-kind collection of art made from rocks and easily walked nature paths. Hytermä can only be reached by boat which you can rent before rowing the 400m to the island. Once there you will also find a wonderful sandy beach and a pier. Hytermä is situated 7 km from the centre of Kerimäki (Savonlinna-Kerimäki 23 km), address: Hälvänsaarentie 80, Kerimäki.
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Kerimaeki Church
The church of Kerimäki is the world’s largest Christian wooden church and has the most spacious interior in Finland. It is 45 meters long, 42 meters wide and 27 meters high. The height of the dome is 37 meters.
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Olavinlinna Castle
The building of Olavinlinna Castle began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region
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Museum Shop of Olavinlinna Castle
The Museum Shop of the Olavinlinna Castle has a wide range of the National Board of Antiquities’ publications as well as other historical books, nostalgic posters and postcards.
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Savonlinna Market Square
Finland has hundreds of market squares, but only one with the name Savonlinna! The location alone in the heart of the lively summer tourist city, amidst the exceptionally beautiful lake scenery and on the banks of the fast-flowing Haapasalmi, which connects the lakes Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi, makes Savonlinna market square unique. The principal city parks and the passenger harbour are integral parts of its setting. During the festival season, the start of each day of opera is celebrated in Harbour Park next to the market square every morning. Historical steamships call their goodbyes in the harbour and modern motor cruisers start their journeys from their berths at the square, adding their own greetings to the general hubbub. With the general structural change, the businesses on the market square have also adapted, putting more emphasis on the summer, which has become all the livelier with an ambience you can almost touch. The market provides unforgettable moments for visitors as well as locals, enjoying the delicacies of market cafés, fish restaurants and market stalls.
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Savonlinna Cathedral
Savonlinna Cathedral is the main church of Savonlinna’s Evangelical-Lutheran parish. The name of the church originates from the cathedral, the seat of a bishop, located in Savonlinna from 1897 to 1924. The church was designed by architect A.H. Dahlström in 1858, and it was consecrated on 2 February 1879. The church was damaged during an air raid in 1940. The reconstruction was designed by architect B. Lilljeqvist. The altar choir ceiling fresco, paintings on the gallery bannisters, and the chandeliers were created by artist Antti Salmenlinna. The altarpiece “Jesus in Gethsemane” is a triptych painted by artist Paavo Leinonen. The church textiles, designed by artist Helena Karvonen, are from 1979.
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Spahotel Casino
Spahotel Casino is located on a magnificent lakeside site on Kasino island, right in the centre of the city of Savonlinna. The hotel complex includes a spa, the hotel, a restaurant and a wide range of wellness and free-time facilities and services. Also the Savonlinna Hall, just across the forecourt, offers concerts, theatre performance and other cultural events. Spahotel Casino offers a wide range of spa, beauty care, wellness and health services. Hot water pools are an excellent way of relaxing after a busy day. Also, try a waterfall massage in the outdoor hot waterfall. To exercise, you can swim upstream. After a spell in a Finnish sauna or a steam bath, in the summertime, you can take a dip into the blue Lake Saimaa. We have also thought of the little ones for whom there is special children’s pool. Spahotel Casino also has a wide range of different kind of treatments available in the spa. Treatments vary from recreational treatments, rehabilitation and physiotherapy to beauty and wellness treatments. Fysiosatama physiotherapy, Savonlinna unit of the Kyyhkylä Rehabilitation Centre and Ruusunen Day Spa are all located on the second floor of the Spahotel Casino pampering guests.
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Alatskivi Park
Alatskivi Castle Park – the biggest park in Tartu County (130 ha) – was established by squire von Stackelberg in the end of the 18th century. The Alatskivi Castle built according to the designs of Arved von Nolcken with the surrounding park is one of the main sights in the area. The towers and terraces of the castle offer beautiful views of the lakes, the church and the surrounding landscape. A marked hiking track runs through the park. The majority of the trees growing in the park are local species, such as lime trees, maples and oaks.
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Runeberg Museum
Welcome to Finland’s oldest home museum! Come and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the 1860s bourgeois home (kirjailijakoti) as guests of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877) and his wife Fredrika (1807-1879). The museum’s unique atmosphere is created by furniture, works of art, dishes and old house plants, many of which have been grown from Fredrika’s cuttings. During the summer season you can discover the floral splendour of the house’s carefully restored garden.
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Kokonniemi Ski Centre
Kokonniemi is a ski center located next to downtown Porvoo (under 50 km from Helsinki). The ski area consists of six very different slopes, a ski rental where you can rent both snowboards and skis as well as buy the ski passes required for the lifts. Next to the ski rental, you will find the restaurant Hölmöpulu where you can both dine or simply relax with a cup of hot chocolate. If you prefer cross country skiing there are many different tracks to choose from around the downhill area, we also rent cross country packages in case you do not have your own gear with you.
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Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum
This private collection is open to the public during the summer months and to groups by arrangement throughout the year. One of the best toy museums in the country, exhibiting a large number of toys, all of which children have played with at some point in time.
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Porvoo Museum
Porvoo Museum is both a historical museum and an art museum. The two buildings in which it is housed date from the 1760s and stand on the edge of the square beside the Old Town Hall in the heart of the oldest part of Porvoo.
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Porvoo Cathedral
The church was originally made of wood. The first stone walls were built between 1410 and 1420 and in about 1450 the church was expanded four meters towards east and six meters towards south.
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Art Gallery Villi Villa
Artist Pentti Ikäheimonen art gallery Villi Villa is located in the middle of a beautiful Finnish lake landscape, only 5 km from the center of Rantasalmi. Come and explore the remodelled building and artwork that breathe both rural and natural beauty. The gallery presents a sales exhibition of Pentti Ikäheimonen and visiting artists as well as works by former masters.
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Upside Down House
What to do with your family, children, friends, guests, or colleagues in Tartu? Are you looking for new experiences and great photos? You have come to the right place! The Upside Down House is an exciting and dizzying experience where all of this is possible. The Upside Down House has furniture, a refrigerator, and everything else which is usually found on the floor – but here, they are on the ceiling. Well, actually, they are on the floor, but here, the ceiling is the floor. But wait – maybe it is you that is upside down? The house is also slightly sloped to test your balance. All of this is confusing, funny, and exciting :) The visit takes about 30 minutes – during this time, you will experience the house fully and are able to take cool pictures as well!
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University of Tartu Botanical Gardens
The University of Tartu Botanical Garden offers study programmes and excursions for visitors of all ages. There are more than 10,000 species and varieties of plants in the garden. In addition to natural plants, including rare protected plants, we introduce new decorative plants. In the greenhouses, rainforest and desert plants can be seen. It is the oldest botanical garden in the Baltic States, operating for more than 200 years in the same location. The garden is designed by world-renowned botanists, professors Ledebour and Bunge. Guests can visit the greenhouses with a ticket, but the garden is open for everyone for free. There is a playground for children.
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AHHAA Science Centre
Want to surprise yourself? The AHHAA Science Centre offers science, excitement, adventure and useful skills, as well as a fun time for everyone. Our centre is an attractive learning environment in which you are bound to learn something new. The majority of our exhibits are 'hands-on', so you can try everything yourself, whether it be the planetarium, the school laboratory pilot programme, creating educational materials or the science theatre. You can even host your own birthday party here.