Here you will find news, events, and information about tourism in St. Petersburg. If you find any of the events interesting and wish to attend as part of a city tour or shore excursion, please contact us.
Aeroflot to Launch Low Cost Airline
State owned flagship air carrier Aeroflot has announced plans to launch a low cost airline in Russia called Dobrolyot (Goodflight). This will be the first low cost airline in Russia and targets popular domestic travel destinations from Moscow including St Petersburg, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Samara, and Yekaterinburg.
Service is planned to start as early as July 2014 and plans to break even by 2017 with passenger traffic estimated at 1 billion people. For the airline to break even there will be a big push to sell food and drink and stewards will receive a commission for sales made.
Travelers can expect ticket prices to be 40% less than existing airline fares and the food and drink assortment to be limited.
Fashion Week Kicks off at Gallery Shopping Center in St Petersburg
From October 5th to 13th one of the largest shopping centers in St Petersburg will hosts its annual fashion week. Fashion experts will display the latest trends in fashion and up-and-coming designers will get a chance to present their collections as part of a competition to gain recognition in the Russian fashion industry.
The shopping center will also be offering special deals, famous guests, and interesting activities throughout the week. Russian designers and stylists will also hold several free workshops for visitors to learn more about the fashion industry.
Visitors to St Petersburg who are interested in shopping will certainly enjoy Fashion Week at Gallery with its wide array of shops to suit all tastes and styles.
“Chaplin: The Musical” comes to St. Petersburg (photo courtesy – SPT)
The State Theater of Musical Comedy is presenting the US made “Chaplin: The Musical” as part of the musicals world tour.
The musical tells the life story of the “little tramp”, silent film star Charlie Chaplin from his poor childhood, to a movie star in Hollywood, and finally to Switzerland where he is living in self-imposed exile during the 1950’s.
Chaplin had his U.S. residency revoked after openly supporting the Communist ideal which was sweeping through the Soviet Union.
Chaplin: The Musical’ is showcasing at the State Theater of Musical Comedy, 13 Italianskaya Ulitsa, on Sept. 24 & 25 and during the month of October.
St Petersburg International Film Festival Set to Start
The St. Petersburg International Film Festival, now in its second year and run as part of the International Cinema Forum, is set to begin on Friday and run through Sept. 22. Screenings will be shown across four theatres including the Aurora, Dom Kino, Rodina and Angleterre cinemas, and will include films by world-class filmmakers alongside the debut films of lesser-known new directors.
Prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress will all be awarded by a jury that includes filmmakers Juris Poshkus and Christoph Schaub, the head of Tribeca Film Festival Geoffrey Gilmore and Director of the European Film Academy Marion Döring. The jury will be led this year by Sergei Bodrov, whose has had two of his films nominated for Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category by America’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A fifth category — the People’s Choice Award — will be awarded based on votes made throughout the festival by the public.
In addition to the competition program, the festival consists of 16 non-competing films that cover a wide assortment of topics. Films about soccer are brought together in the 22 Frames program, while movies from Georgia will be screened as part of the New Old Friends program. Films from Asia, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands are all also grouped into different sections.
The opening act of the film festival will be “Jobs,” American director Joshua Michael Stern’s biopic of Steve Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role. The film tells the legendary and tumultuous tale of Jobs as he carved a path that changed technology — and the world — forever and will be shown at a private gala opening.
The only Russian film to be presented as part of the competition is “Kicking Off,” a traumatic look at a group of soccer hooligans that is also based on real events.
The films in competition will be vying for a statuette of a golden angel on a pedestal, the symbol of the festival.
One of the featured guests at this year’s festival is American director Oliver Stone, who will present a program of his films. Known for his controversial versions of recent American history, some of them at deep odds with conventional myth, the festival will screen his latest film “Savages” alongside his documentary “Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States,” “JFK,” and “Alexander: The Ultimate Cut.”
One of the most anticipated special programs, “Pikirovka,” will also involve audience involvement. Russian TV presenters will join the audience in an open discussion following seven of the films shown at the festival.
The second year of the film festival shows how much change has taken place since the first year.
There are more films with a larger geographic range, movies for children, and free concert of film music to be held at Manezh Square.
The St. Petersburg International Film Festival runs from Sept. 13 to 22 at different locations around St Petersburg. More information can be found at – www.festival-spb.ru.
Art Prospect Festival in St Petersburg
As contemporary art is not viewed as especially outstanding in urban St. Petersburg, a new exhibition is attempting to introduce the public to the appeal of public art. Known as Art Prospect, the public art festival opens on Sept. 12 with a presentation of a “Mobile Sanatorium for Plants,” a project by Dutch arts collective Cascoland in collaboration with Pink Pony Express, at 46 Liteiny Prospect. Starting small, the venture is now in its second year and brings together local and international artists to present their outdoor works in the semi-public spaces of courtyards along Liteiny Prospect.
The concept behind the venture is to create a houseplant hotel, similar to a pet hotel, where local St. Petersburg residents can bring their houseplants to be cared for while they are away on vacation. The mobile part of the name refers to the fact that the exhibition can be relocated to different parts of the city, offering visual interest and raising awareness about the project.
Using various art forms, including collage, sculpture, video, and performance, the artists will transform Liteiny Prospekt into an interactive space for creative dialogue with residents about the urban environment. The work of 15 artists from Russia, the Netherlands and the United States will exhibit the festival’s theme of the artist as urban gardener, with an emphasis on green and ecological issues.
“The Art Prospect Festival seeks to mobilize local artists, organizations and residents to participate in the shaping of their public space as a reflection of their own identity,” stated Susan Katz of CEC ArtsLink, one of the project sponsors. “To challenge perceptions about the role of contemporary art and empower individuals and city communities to bring art into everyday life, Art Prospect encourages artists and the community to creatively address how we can make our urban environment greener and environmentally sustainable, and to consider the relationship between what we consume and how it is created.”
Community involvement is an especially important element of the festival and Cascoland, a collective of artists, architects, designers and performers, will work with local residents to develop and present their installation. The artists were brought to St. Petersburg as part of the cultural program of NLRF2013, a yearlong celebration of relations between the Netherlands and Russia.
Access to all festival projects and programs is free and the projects will be on display day and night for the duration of the festival, which ends on September 15th.
For more information you can visit – www.artprospectfestival.ru
New Anti-Smoking Restrictions in Russia
One of the general perceptions about Russians (besides bears walking on the streets) is that of a culture full of smokers. And if compared with Europe and the US smoking is more widespread and cigarettes much less expensive.
However, the Russian government has been taking measures to reduce smoking in the country as a measure to fight population decline and reduce the death rate caused by smoking. As of June 1st, smoking is banned in the following places: public transportation and in schools, museums and hospitals, universities, sporting facilities, stairwells of apartment buildings, government and office buildings, playgrounds, beaches, gas stations and any area within 15 meters of a metro entrance, as well as bus stops, train stations and all airports. In addition, all advertising of tobacco products and smoking (including on the Internet) are prohibited.
As of next June (2014) a more Western-style ban on smoking will begin. This ban will include cafes & bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, open-air markets, long-distance trains and on railway station platforms. Cigarettes won’t be openly displayed and banned from sale at the small kiosks that dot the city. The price of cigarettes will also be significantly increased.
For visitors to the city that don’t smoke this is certainly a healthy step in the right direction for Russia and will make your visit to St Petersburg that much more pleasant.
The Putins Are Getting Divorced
After almost 30 years of marriage, President Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila have announced they have mutually agreed to be divorced. The couple was rarely seen together in public and Lyudmila was not a public figure as many first ladies from other countries such as outspoken Hilary Clinton.
Lyudmila Putina mentioned “Our marriage is over, since we practically never see each other.” “Our kids are grown up and each lives her own life. Things worked out such that each of us has his own life. I truly don’t like being public, and flights are difficult for me. We practically never see each other.”
Putin rarely mentions Lyudmila or his two daughters Yekaterina and Maria, and they are rarely seen in public.
Tabloids in Russia have linked the President with former gymnast and current State Duma Deputy from United Russia Alina Kabayeva. In May 2009, Russian newspapers reported that Alina was pregnant and that Putin could be the father. Kabayeva denied the story, saying she wasn’t even pregnant. Shortly thereafter, President Putin responded to by criticizing the reporters for having “snotty noses and erotic fantasies,”
This story will certainly give visitors to Russia something interesting to discuss with local Russians during their visit to St Petersburg.
5 Star Hotels in St Petersburg Nominated for Awards (5/7/2013)
The World Travel Awards have nominated two 5 Star hotels in St Petersburg for their annual awards. The Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg has been nominated in the category of Europe’s Leading Business Hotel and Taleon Imperial St. Petersburg has been nominated in the category of Europe’s Leading Hotel. You can also caste your vote on their website – www.worldtravelawards.com/ Voting finishes on June 16. We believe these nominations salute the great quality of hotels available for tourists visiting St Petersburg.
Sense of Color Exhibition in St Petersburg (through November 6, 2011)
A new exhibition has opened at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg which is titled “The Sense of Color” and showcases the artwork of famous Italian artist Gianni Maimeri. Read more…
Open Air Film Festival in St Petersburg (August 20-28)
From August 20th – 28th St. Petersburg will host the annual Cinema International Festival of Short and Animated Films. As the only open-air film festival in Russia and the largest international short film forum in Russia, the organizers aim to promote independent films from around the world on the grand stage in St. Petersburg.
“Open Cinema is eager to attract creative people who appreciate independent, individual visions of contemporary film trends,” commented the organizers. “The festival’s main figure is the filmmaker. Since the short film format is usually how young filmmakers start out, they get an opportunity to express their own position and vision of filmmaking through this trend without facing pressure from producers or being under the influence of the mainstream cinema world.”
100 films were selected to compete in the competition from 800 shorts. There will be four categories of the competition including fiction, animation, non-fiction and experimental short films. “We were searching for films that are able to surprise, to dispute stereotypes, to stay in people’s minds; cinema that challenges and captivates the imagination,” say organizers. “This is cinema beyond the traditional genres, cinema that is not afraid to be an exemption, and cinema worth demonstrating on the big screen.”
In addition, up to 150 participants will compete for the Open Cinema grand prix, which is a symbolic “Rule the time” hourglass. Natalya Karamnova, one of the festival’s organizers commented that “On the hourglass, the flow of sand can by controlled manually.” “In this hourglass, the sand flows through in 15 minutes — this is the average length of a short film. This prize is our allegorical wish to the winning filmmaker: For time to stand still for every viewer of his or her film,” she said.
In addition to the competition there will be other forms of contemporary art including street performances, fashion shows, art exhibitions, video installations, and various musical performances.
The start of the festival will be on the beach of Peter and Paul Fortress. On August 22nd the festival will be located in the Mirage movie theatre on Petrograsky Island and the Avrora movie theatre.
All competitions will be judged by a panel of film specialists from Russia and abroad. A full program is available at www.artbereg.ru.
Summer Exhibitions in St. Petersburg (7/21/2011)
Don’t let rainy days put a damper on your visit to St. Petersburg in the Summer… Or perhaps you simply want to beat the heat? Here are some exhibitions for the summer that offer you a chance to see the beauty of St. Petersburg museums through exceptional exhibitions.
Stroganov Palace is showing contemporary Canadian artist Birgit Freybe Bateman and his travel photographs of various countries including India, China, Japan, Italy, and even Russia. Bateman offers unusual photo angles, vivid colors, and contrasting textures to give his artwork the feel of oil paintings. This exposition is showing through August 29th.
At Mikhailovsky Palace visitors will find 150 works from Russian artist Boris Grigoriev including paintings and graphics of famous Russian artists of the early 20th-century including Maxim Gorky and Fyodor Chaliapin, among others. Grigoriev is famous around the world for his portraits and the collection was assembled from private collections in Russia and other countries. This exhibition is shown until August 15th.
Novy Museum Gallery on Vasilevsky Island has a special exhibition of non-conformist art from St. Petersburg and Moscow artists starting from the 1950′s and going through the 1980′s. The collection is presented by the founder of the Novy Museum, Aslan Chekhoyev, and includes works by Boris Turetsky, Oskar Rabin, Lev Kropivnitsky and others.
A historical exhibit will open this summer at the Pushkin Apartment Museum on the River Moika titled “The Last Months of his Life.” Here visitors will see a reconstruction of Alexander Pushkin’s study with the couch on which he died and includes several belongings of the famous Russian poet. The actual museum is closed to the public until Feb. 10 next year in preparation for the 175th anniversary of the poet’s tragic death in a duel in 1837.
Lastly, women visitors to St. Petersburg will enjoy an embroidery exhibition by Maria Arendt which will be shown at the Al Gallery on Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa. The pieces are meant to be humorous and are named after the first lines of Russian chastushki (funny rhymes that begin innocently and end with a vulgar joke). Each piece appears to be laconic but has hidden depth that brings a joke upon first impression.
St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow celebrates 450 years (7/16/2011)
One of the most iconic and enduring symbols of Russia recently celebrated its’ 450th anniversary on July 12. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow celebrated by opening a special exhibition titled “holy fool”, which refers to the famous St. Basil, who was the man who dared challenge the authority of Ivan the Terrible during his purges.
The church was constructed to commemorate Russia’s victory over the Mongols and was severely damaged during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Restoration of the church has taken more than a decade and cost $14 million dollars.
Peterhof Palace Church Re-opened to the Public (7/16/2011)
The famous church in the palace of Peterhof was reopened to the public recently after extensive restoration. The 18th century church has complete interior restoration started in 2001 and includes an exposition of church icons and equipment on display for tourists.
The church has quite a storied past as the last Russian tsar, Alexey was baptized there and the church was the site of celebration for major military victories. The church was severely damaged during World War II and a fire ravaged the interior in 1941. This is a wonderful new addition to a tour of Peterhof for all tourists to enjoy.
Beer and Kvas Festival in St. Petersburg (6/30/2011)
A Beer and Kvas festival is being organized this Saturday at the Peterburgsky Sports and Concert Complex (SKK). Kvas is a fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread and is non-alcoholic as the alcohol content is less than 1.2%. This is an annual event and includes cultural aspects, classes on brewing, lectures, sports activities, and a photo exhibition.
St Petersburg City plans to attract more tourists (6/26/2011)
The 2011-16 tourism development plan for the city has been created and by 2016 the city plans to spend up to 16 percent of the city’s gross domestic product on attracting tourists and a receive up to 8 million guests by 2016.
For the year 2010, St Petersburg attracted 5 million tourists and the city spent $4.12 billion dollars, or 10% of the cities total GDP. The city hopes visitors will stay more nights (an average of 5 nights) and with a pleasant visit, return to the city for additional visits.
To accomplish such lofty goals the city plans to attract visitors with exhibitions, conferences, art and cultural exhibits, yacht tourism, and even camping. The city also wants to change the tourist season from seasonal to year-round.
St. Petersburg to become Las Vegas style marriage capital for foreign tourists (6/13/2011)
Sergei Korneyev of the Russia Travel Industry Union says the Russian capital has now decided to offer “quickie marriages” to attract more tourists to St. Petersburg. Within 72 hours couples visiting St Petersburg will be allowed to get a marriage licence and have a ceremony in one of the beautiful Russian Catholic or Orthodox churches that dot the city. New registry offices will be opened and new registrars will be trained to serve foreign tourists arriving for a wedding. It is also notable that this 72 exemption will not be available for Russian citizens. While this idea is certainly a novel one, we believe having a wedding in St. Petersburg can be a memorable and romantic event. Why not to be married in St. Petersburg?!
St. Petersburg is listed by Royal Caribbean as a main port of call (6/13/2011)
Recently Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein explained that only a few cities are given overnight port stops including St. Petersburg, Venice, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Sydney. This further enhances the status of St. Petersburg as a major tourist destination. To read the original article about port of calls for Royal Caribbean click here.
Events for June 2011
June 10 -15 – St Petersburg International Film Festival
From June 10th to June 15th the city will host the second St. Petersburg International Film Festival. Several famous and controversial Russian filmmakers will be in attendance and the festival will showcase both Russian and foreign films.
In the first part of the festival several films that have already won awards at other film festivals will be shown and a VIP jury will decide the best films.
The second part of the festival will be dedicated to Russian films in the theme “New Territories” and will showcase films that are experimental or bring something new and exciting to the filmmaking process.
Lastly there will be a filmmaking summer school for aspiring filmmakers and producers. The festival is sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg.
June 16th – Sting to perform in St. Petersburg
Sting will play a free concert in St. Petersburg sponsored by the Government of St. Petersburg and the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The concert will be held in Palace Square and VIP tickets can be purchased for the event upon request.
June 1 – 30th – Tukay’s Gardens
A new exhibition to mark the 125th anniversary of Gabdulla Tukay (the famous Tartar poet) is on display at Sheremetyev Palace during the month of June. The exhibition includes over 60 illustrations from Tukay’s collection which were lent to the Palace by the Tartarstan State Art Museum. There is also a display of Tartar decorative art from the early 20th century.
June 2 – July 4 – Exhibition of American Painter Nelson Shanks
Realist painter Nelson Shanks will have an exhibition of artwork in Mikhailovsky Castle during the month of June. Shanks paints still life, allegories and portraits. Some of his most famous portraits includes Princess Diana, Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton.
June 6 – June 30th – “In Any Weather” Exhibition at “S.P.A.S.” Gallery
A summer exhibition at “S.P.A.S.” Gallery promises to boost the mood of any visitor with exotic colors and flowers. It is an expression of beauty and joy in any weather and shows the life of a flower from beginning to end.
June 12 – 23 – First Isaak Shvarts International Arts Festival
This festival features a collection of both Russian and foreign musicians including the Konstantinosky Palace Grand Symphony Orchestra.
Samson makes his return to Peterhof
The famous sculpture of Samson fighting with a lion has been placed back in his home at the center of the Peterhof fountains. Over 1 kilogram of gold was used to restore Samson to his most shining glory, and just in time for the start of the 2011 tourist season in St. Petersburg.
The original Samson statue was made in 1735 and was replaced with a bronze statue that disappeared during the Nazi invasion of St. Petersburg. Fortunately in 1947 the statue was remade using pre-war photos and can now be enjoyed by all visitors to Peterhof.
A View of Russia – New Exhibition
April 20,,2011 – A new 800 square meter miniature model of Russia has been constructed in St. Petersburg showcasing the cities all of Russia, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.
The project is titled Grandmarket in Russian or Grand Model and was created by Sergei Morozov. The Grandmarket took more than 4 years to complete and includes many of Russia’s famous monuments, buildings, and cities. “It is an attempt to give people the chance to learn more about Russia, to make them proud of their country, and also to attract children to new activities,” Mikheyev said.
This exhibit is truly hands-on and with over 100 buttons visitors can activate and includes moving cars, trains, chiming bells, cannon fire, and even a space rocket. Over 100 artists have participated in the creation of the magnificent model and the full exhibit will open at the end of 2011.
‘Grandmaket’ is located at 16 Ulitsa Tsvetochnaya, lit. L. Currently it is open in a test phase on Sundays from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. Tickets are priced at $12.40 for adults and $7 for children. For more information, visit www.grandmaket.ru.
New Contemporary Art Museum in St. Petersburg
May 20th, 2010 witnessed the opening of the new Erarta Museum and Gallery of Contemporary Art on Vasilevsky Island in St. Petersburg. With 5 floors of art space, it is the largest non-governmental contemporary art museum in Russia. The museum also contains a gallery with some of the artwork being for sale.
The museum contains artwork from the end of World War II until the present and the gallery includes an impressive collection of more than 2,000 works by 140 artists.
Mikhail Ovchinnikov, the museum’s curator, commented “The need for a museum and gallery of modern art has been evident to everyone for some time.”
To accomplish such a feat in Russia required traveling around the country offering an art contest to draw out undiscovered talent across the huge Russian landscape. The museum can provide a change for up-and-coming artists to display their works to the world and encourages artists to send photos of their artwork for review or to sell on the Erarta website.
For more information about the Erarta Museum and Gallery of Contemporary Art, click here.
KGB in the USSR:
People, Events, Actions- if you fancy yourself as James Bond, this exhibition will satisfy those espionage fantasies. You can see the slew of documentary evidence and photos of famous and infamous double agents, As well as secret cameras and the weapons of choice of your friendly neighborhood agent, there is also a selection of videos which shows KGB agents on missions.
Tokarev: Life in Weapons
Fedor Tokarev is best known for developing the TT-30 and TT -33, the latter of which was the predominant firearm used by Soviet troops on the Great Patriotic war (WWII). Tokarev’s designs are praised for their ruggedness and accuracy, which earned him awards such as the Hero of Socialist Labour Award in 1940. (Artillery museum)
Kalashnikov: Man, Weaponry, Legend
The exhibition is devoted to the 85th birthday of M.Kalashnikov features an outstanding armorer of the contemporaneity.On display, over 80 modifications of AK (Kalashnikov’s machine gun), including the test models and experimental samples that have been made since 1942. Numerous documents, photos, books, and personal belongings track Kalashnikov’s everyday life, hobbies and literary work (Artillery museum)
Aromas of Antiquity
An exhibition devoted to the culture of aromas and fragrances in Ancient Greece and Rome. The richest collections on Antiquity in the State Hermitage contain a galore of censers for fragrances and flasks that were created by masters of Ancient Greece, Etruria and Rome. Some of these artifacts are true small artistic masterpieces, many of them have never been shown to the public before.
Alexander The Great. The Road to the Orient
Devoted to the most famous military leader and political figure of Antiquity, the exhibition also features “Hellinism” as a phenomenon, an epic. The exhibition focuses on the route of Alexander of Macedonia in space (Oriental campaign) and in time- from the Antiquity till nowadays. The exhibition visits every place the war commander went, the process of Hellinization was launched: the adoption of Greek art, architecture, language, and life style. This influence has embraced a vast territory: from Greece via the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Egypt to Central Asia and India; its can be found in Mongolia and other countries beyond the Ecumene (i.e., the ancient Greek universe). The exhibition is structured following Alexander’s campaign route, and includes artworks by West-European and Russian maitres of the XVI-XIX centuries, showing the famous conqueror; unique monuments, featuring the artistic style of the countries annexed by the Alexander’s Empire; and items giving a notion on the cultural and political ambiance, where his individuality formed.
Museum of Costumes
This exhibition shows off items by the best west-European craftsmen of the the late XVIII-early XX centuries, including garments made for the Romanov’s House. The exhibition features various fashion trends and famous apparel brands from Paris, Vienna and London. Samples of fabrics, handmade embroidery, applique, and lace are displayed