The images of St. Petersburg in the museum "Collection" exposition

Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad,
I am fascinated by you forever!

Nikolai Golbraich, 2010

Saint Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world with rich historical and cultural heritage, traditionally celebrates its birthday in the end of May. On May 27, 2023, Saint Petersburg is celebrating its 320th jubilee. The city on the floating Neva river, born as a daring challenge to the elements, was the embodiment of Peter the Great dream of a mighty Russian state. Magnificent Saint Petersburg, revolutionary Petrograd, unconquered Leningrad... Its granite embankments remember fateful events that have largely determined the course of world history.

Today, Saint Petersburg is the largest metropolis in north-west Russia, the most important economic, transport, cultural and scientific center. Millions of people around the world dream of visiting this city to see its famous architectural ensembles, unique museum collections, magnificent embankments, bridges and fountains.

The start of Saint Petersburg's 320th anniversary celebrations will be heralded by the traditional midday cannon shot from the Naryshkin Bastion of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Events will take place in museums, theatres, concert halls, parks and squares. Traditional events this year received a completely new look and feel, as well as new technical equipment and repertoire. Tulip and ice cream festivals, opening of fountains in the Summer Garden (Letniy sad), the annual “Classics at the Palace Square” (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad) opera celebrities concert, the Petrovsky Festival of Fire and other events will be held in the Northern capital.

On the Saint Petersburg 320th birth jubilee we are recalling its founder – the museum Collection exposition features the sculpture “Peter I”, created by Alexander Opekushin in 1872. The name of Peter I is inextricably linked with the "Northern Palmyra", the inscription on the map that lies at the feet of the great reformer confirms it - it reads "Saint Petersburg will be built here".

North Palmyra is one among many poetic names of Saint Petersburg that emerged in the Classicism epoch and derived inspiration from antiquity. European travelers of the time were amazed when, in the midst of the vast northern marshes, they suddenly saw a string of regular facades with countless columns – - similar to the classic structures that adorn an oasis in the Syrian wilderness. Apart from the abundance of slender columns and open spaces, Saint Petersburg was been compared to Palmyra for its opulence, wealth and elegance.  The opinion of our contemporaries, this comparison "... turned out to be much more accurate than "Northern Venice". If the comparison with the latter was based on external allusion — a city on the water, abundance of canals, comparison with Palmyra was essentially one of regularity and orderliness of architecture, impressive perspectives and tastefully measured luxury”.

We invite you to look at the watercolor that is exhibited in the section "Graphics" - "Panorama of Nevsky Prospect. Right, shadow side”, which was created by V. Sadovnikov in 1830. One can examine in detail what Nevsky Prospect looked like in the first quarter of the 19th century.

“Medallion with Saint Petersburg city plan”, the miniature plan of the city and showing the hydrographic and topographic characteristics of the area, built-up and designed quarters, canals bridges, and places of interest, is stored in the collection section ”Maps”. The image is framed in a laurel wreath interwoven with ribbons. This small medallion, 9 cm in diameter, was created in 1790. It was created by the miniaturist and engraver Johann Christian Nabholz from the drawing by Deybel.

The museum exposition features other items related to the history of Saint Petersburg, its cultural heritage and geographical location. For example, the section Russian Glass Art and Ceramics features several items bearing the image of the city -- plaque with the image of the Palace Square, shot glasses with the image of the Stock Exchange building (based on the engraving by Ivan Chesky from the drawing by Mikhail Shaposhnikov), goblet with the Emperor Peter I portreit, mirror monogram and image of a double-headed eagle. The section “Russian metal artworks”  features a snuffbox with the image of the monument to Peter the Great.

We warmly congratulate the citizens and guests of Saint Petersburg on the 320th anniversary of the city!

Julie A. Buckler. St. Petersburg and the Problem of Imperial Architectural Style. // Cultures of Forgery: Making Nations, Making Selves. 2013. ISBN 978-1-135-45827-0. P. 56.
The Russian Price of Palmyra. Egor Kholmogorov. 2016
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