The Port of St. Petersburg is located in the delta of the Neva River as it enters the Gulf of Finland in the middle taiga lowlands in western Russia. About 165 nautical miles east-southeast of the Port of Helsinki in Finland and about 185 nautical miles east of the Port of Tallinn in Estonia, the Port of St. Petersburg covers 42 islands in the delta and some of the mainland floodplain. The Port of St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after Moscow. In 2006, over 4.5 million people lived in the Port of St. Petersburg.
Photo by Thomas Mavrofides
The Port of St. Petersburg is an important gateway for trade and a center for industry and finance. Industries in the Port of St. Petersburg include the oil and gas trade, aerospace, electronics and radio, computers and software, and shipbuilding. Manufacturers produce heavy machinery and transport equipment, including military supplies, mining equipment, medical equipment, aluminum alloys, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, apparel, and food. The Port of St. Petersburg consists of three large commercial seaports: Bolshoi, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. Many river ports on the Neva River create a huge complex system and make the Port of St. Petersburg the main gateway between Russia and the Baltic Sea. The Port of St. Petersburg is also one of the world's most popular cruise destinations
Seeking an outlet to the Baltic, Russia's Peter the Great took control of the delta River Neva in 1703. Soon after that, he laid the foundation stones for his Peter-Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island, thus establishing the Port of St. Petersburg. Peter continued to construct fortifications to protect delta approaches and founded a shipyard from which the first warship was launched in 1706. The first house in the Port of St. Petersburg was built near the Peter-Paul Fortress for Peter the Great, and it is a popular museum today.
Established by Peter the Great and completed in 1727, the Kunstkammer was the first museum in Russia. View is from the River Neva.
Photo by Sergey Barichev
The first palace of stone was finished in 1714 for the Port of St. Petersburg's first governor. Peter planned an elaborate capital there from the beginning, bringing in craftsmen, architects, and artisans from around the world to build his new Port of St. Petersburg. He transferred Russia's capital there from Moscow in 1712 even though Sweden did not cede sovereignty to Russia until 1721. Peter moved nobles and merchants to his new capital. Building the Port of St. Petersburg was difficult. Many bridges were built across canals and river channels, and the flood-prone marshes and harsh climate cost many lives. Some have said that the Port of St. Petersburg "? rests on a swamp of bones."
Nevertheless, the harbor was constructed, and Peter the Great made the Port of St. Petersburg Russia's major port for foreign trade. Work started on canals in 1703 and, by 1709, the Port of St. Petersburg had a direct water route to the Volga River basin and central Russia. Industry sprang up, and the Port of St. Petersburg's shipyard stimulated services for the growing fleet including a foundry and a gunpowder factory. The shipyard built both warships and merchant vessels. By the mid-1700s, the Port of St. Petersburg's population reached over 150 thousand. By the end of the century, over 220 thousand people lived in the Port of St. Petersburg, more than a third of them working for the government or in the armed forces.
Photo by František Krátký
Construction of the Port of St. Petersburg continued throughout the 18th Century, and elegant buildings in the Russian Baroque style were added to the earlier simple Peter-Paul Fortress and Summer Palace. By the end of the 18th Century, new buildings appeared in a Neoclassical style, making the Port of St. Petersburg a marvel among cities and a world cultural hub. Russia's first ballet school opened there, and its first conservatory of music opened in 1862.
The Port of St. Petersburg's imperial growth under tsarist rule was countered by the development of an industrial community of workers. With industrial growth and the opening of a new modern canal system and railroad during the early 19th Century, the Port of St. Petersburg's population grew from just over a million in 1864 to 1.5 million in 1900. Migration from the countryside pushed population growth to 2.5 million by 1917.
Photo by František Krátký
The Port of St. Petersburg's factory environment was a breeding ground for revolution. St. Petersburg's skilled labor force was politically active and relatively sophisticated. Lack of adequate public transportation forced workers to live near their work, and terrible overcrowding resulted with the related poor sanitation. Public services in the Port of St. Petersburg?were completely inadequate, and epidemics were frequent.
In 1825, a serious rebellion arose that was suppressed cruelly. Worker unrest and revolutionary activity continued through the rest of the century, culminating in a general strike in 1905 where over 150 thousand workers participated. The famous event of Bloody Sunday, where over 100 people were killed by the tsar's troops, ended a mass march to the Winter Palace. This was the first event leading to the Russian revolution and the end of tsarist rule after the end of World War I.
Photo by Yoky
After the revolution, the name of the Port of St. Petersburg was changed to Petrograd. Civil war overtook Russia from 1918 to 1920, but the Bolsheviks prevailed and moved the capital to Moscow. The civil war ruined the Port of St. Petersburg's economy, and population quickly decreased. By 1920, the Port of St. Petersburg was only a third of its previous size, and starvation was common. When Lenin died in 1924, the city was renamed Leningrad to honor him. The Soviet Union's five-year plans put much of the burden of development on the Port of St. Petersburg. By 1939, it produced 11% of all of the country's industrial output, and its population was over 3 million.
Being an initial target of the German invasion in 1941, the Port of St. Petersburg suffered what is called the 900-day Siege when Germany blockaded the city. Leningrad endured assaults, bombing from artillery and air, and serious food shortages. About 660 thousand people in the Port of St. Petersburg died during the siege. While the blockage was broken in 1943, the Germans remained at the Port of St. Petersburg's borders for another year. Before they retreated, the Germans destroyed several palaces, and the city did not reach 3 million again until the 1960s.
Place of the Imperial Council, West Side, St. Petersburg, taken between 1890 and 1905
Photo by Photoglob AG
The Port of St. Petersburg's character began to change in the 1980s when Russia's government started introducing more democracy and openness. When other political parties became legal in 1990, the Port of St. Petersburg elected a council of Communist and non-Communist reformers who pushed for free-market practices and began taking the Communist Party's assets and privileges. In 1991, a citywide referendum restored the name of St. Petersburg to the city.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, crime became a major problem for the Port of St. Petersburg. Several prominent politicians were assassinated, and the Port of St. Petersburg won a reputation as the crime capital of Russia. Even though the local economy grew faster than the country's, unemployment was high.
Photo by Vladimir Volokhonsky
The Port of St. Petersburg underwent a major overhaul, with new cafes and restaurants, lighting of bridges and landmarks, and construction of new cultural centers. The Port of St. Petersburg continued to be haunted by the homeless, but many people's lives improved as employment in the national government increased. In 2006, the Port of St. Petersburg hosted the annual Group of Eight Summit.