St. Petersburg is a federal city of the Russian Federation, the second largest city in the country, located in the northwest of the country, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter I and from 1712 to 1918 was the capital of the Russian Empire.
Today the population of the city is about 4.5 million people; it is an important economic, political, transport and cultural center of the state. St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, attracting many tourists every year.
The city center and palace and park ensembles have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The city houses over 200 museums and about 70 theaters.
The city is undoubtedly the cultural pearl of humanity. It is no coincidence that a large number of stories, legends and myths revolve around him, his stories, some of which we will consider.
Finns were the original inhabitants of the Petersburg lands. This myth is often used by Finnish historians, which is not surprising. Allegedly, the original inhabitants of the Neva lands are not Russians at all, but the Ingermanland Finns. In the press of this Scandinavian republic, and even here, you can often find information that some place names in St. Petersburg and its environs were renamed from the original Finnish forms. However, researchers note the discrepancy between the Finnish place names and the allegedly renamed Russians. Long before the foundation of the city, Russian villages existed in the area along the Neva, while the number of Finnish settlements was insignificant. It is believed that the Finns appeared here in large numbers only after the Stolbovo Peace in 1617, when this territory became part of Sweden. Studying the Swedish censuses, the historian S. Semenov found that in 1623 there were almost 90% of Russians in Ingria, but 70 years later their share decreased to 26%. It is obvious that the local population gradually migrated to Russia, not wanting to live under Swedish rule. Earlier this date, the population was mixed, in addition to the Russians, Karelians and Izhora lived here, the share of Finns was small.
St. Petersburg was built on swamps in an uninhabited area. Largely thanks to Pushkin, who wrote about the emergence of the city "from the darkness of the swamps, from the swamp of blat", this myth arose. In fact, in this area since ancient times there was a fairly large city of Nyen, as well as at least thirty villages. Where Liteiny Prospekt now begins, there used to be the village of Frolovshchina, at the sources of the Fontanka - the settlement of Kanduya, Spasskoye was located on the site of Smolny, and so on. There were villages on Krestovsky Island, on the Karpovka River, and on the banks of the Okhta there were as many as 12 settlements. Therefore, it is not surprising that all this infrastructure was actively involved in the construction of the city. It is not surprising that the barracks of the Semenovsky regiment were located far from the center of the built city, because they were actually attached to the existing village, which served the soldiers and officers, providing them with food and shelter.
St. Petersburg is actually built on bones. There is an opinion that during the construction of the city the labor of serfs was widely used, of which no one particularly shore, therefore, in a difficult climate, there were many victims among the builders. However, the source of such information is foreigners, who did not particularly delve into the real state of affairs, but built their conclusions on the basis of hostility to the tsar-reformer. But traces of mass graves must have remained then! The remains of the perished peasants could not disappear without a trace, who, according to conservative estimates, died from 30 thousand, and according to the most courageous ones, even up to 300 thousand. And in the 50s of the 20th century, the archaeologist A. Grach conducted systematic excavations in order to discover mass graves. Imagine his surprise when, instead of mass graves, he found ordinary cesspools in which food waste from the cattle, which the builders ate, were buried. After examining the documents, historians came to the conclusion that St. Petersburg was built entirely on serfs, and civilian workers, while there was a humane shift method, according to which work was carried out 3-5 months a year. The artels went home to spend the winter. The deaths of several hundred people who built Oranienbaum can be considered the most massive death of builders, but this was not caused by the atrocities of the authorities, but by the outbreak of an epidemic. In addition, the construction was carried out under the leadership of Menshikov, on a private basis, so the state did not control the entire process. Naturally, the labor of serfs was used, largely thanks to the landowners, who cost their houses with the help of the labor of their subjects, and the state used the services of convicts, but the scale of this phenomenon should not be exaggerated.
During the war on the Road of Life, huge losses were suffered. Many Western authors, as well as domestic ones, cite the following statistics - only one truck out of three successfully passed the Road of Life. However, the numbers differ, but this myth unites them. But, given that more than 280 trucks came to the city every day, it follows that the losses amounted to 560, which means that in just one blockade winter the country would have lost 88 thousand cars. For comparison, much fewer cars were delivered to the USSR under Lend-Lease. So do not underestimate the importance and effectiveness of the Road of Life.
During the Finnish war, Mannerheim's troops stopped at the old border. In the memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim, it is indicated that the Finnish troops stopped at the Svir line. The fact is that the reason for the war on the part of the USSR was the security of Leningrad, and the violation of the border by the Finns would just confirm the legitimacy of Soviet claims. That is why the troops stopped at the old lines, despite the pressure from the Germans. However, there are opponents to this point of view. Many historians believe that the Finns were stopped not for political reasons, but for the fortifications of the "Stalin Line", which were also provided with artillery fire. Including large caliber. Moreover, there are documented facts of orders for Finnish military units to cross the old border, which was met with massive refusals among the soldiers. It should be mentioned that after the siege ring around Leningrad was closed in the fall of 1941, Mannerheim officially announced that Finland was not interested in the existence of such a settlement as Leningrad. Thus, the Finns really did not cross the border, but the reasons were not at all their peacefulness, but the power of the Red Army.
The blockade of Leningrad was deliberately delayed by Stalin. According to this myth, Stalin was in no hurry to break through the blockade of the city, although he had all the possibilities for this. The goal was the destruction of the Leningrad intelligentsia by the Nazis. However, publicly available sources indicate that throughout the defense of the city, the country's leadership took all measures to evacuate the country, and this primarily concerned those who could not actively participate in the defense of Leningrad - the elderly, children, including the intelligentsia. Aviation was often used to transport children, as well as to deliver especially valuable cargo. Indeed, until the last moment there were intellectuals in the city, but those who could help the city with the help of their specialization. It should be said that the ration was less than that of the workers who were engaged in hard labor. So the position of the intelligentsia was on a par with other groups of people, there is no need to talk about any systematic destruction.
St. Petersburg is a large city. The townspeople, standing for hours in traffic jams and spending considerable time on travel, believe that St. Petersburg is a big city. Moreover, this opinion is confirmed if we compare St. Petersburg with the nearby cities of Finland. However, it is worth comparing the area of the city with the truly giants - Berlin. Paris, the same Moscow. It turns out that the area of St. Petersburg is relatively small, the center occupies a gigantic area, since this is a historical building, and it does not allow alterations. The number of inhabitants is much higher than reasonable standards. In addition to the center, there is a ring of residential areas, which are actually isolated from it by industrial zones. The layout of the city is not at all adapted to the number of inhabitants who live in it. The area of the city itself is 5 times less than the area of Moscow, 8 times less than London and Paris. But Saratov, for example, has the same area with a population 4 times less. Thus, the city's infrastructure is adapted to accommodate 1, maximum 2, million people. This discrepancy also causes discomfort among the townspeople, which manifests itself in difficulties with transport, a lack of places for recreation, problems with housing, poor work of utilities and so on. The solution is either in the development of infrastructure, or in the gradual outflow of citizens to more favorable places, the trend towards which is observed.
St. Petersburg is the largest port city. But tourists who come to St. Petersburg by land do not have such an impression. The fact is that the city cannot be called a port city in the traditional sense of the word. Indeed, the architecture is abundantly present with nautical motives, however, it huddles close to the center, while its moorings and cranes are hidden from the eyes of tourists. The city does not have a promenade typical of ports with cafes and yachts at the pier. And the cargo port is not significant by European standards; in terms of cargo turnover, it is comparable to Helsinki, the port backyards of Europe. Already in Peter's times it was known that the average depth of the Gulf of Finland section to Kronstadt was 3 meters, which is clearly not enough for the passage of merchant ships. Therefore, a channel 12-14 meters deep was built along the bottom of the bay, but this is not enough for the passage of ships up to 100 thousand tons. Today the demand for cargo turnover is about 150 million tons per year, while in fact it is five times less. Yes, and ships more than 200 meters in length will simply not be able to turn around in the port, which automatically excludes the city from those that can be visited on a cruise ship. By this limitation alone, the city loses a large number of tourists. And in St. Petersburg there is no developed infrastructure for tourist ships or yachts. It turned out that having received access to the sea through the Baltic states in the USSR, the port of Leningrad then practically did not develop, the fruits of which we are reaping today - the city is not a major European port.
St. Petersburg is a major tourist center. For the emergence of tourism, it is necessary, first of all, to create conditions for guests. A developed tourist center must meet all the requirements of the most demanding visitors. In the case of St. Petersburg, the city, despite its attractiveness comparable to Paris, is far behind in terms of tourist opportunities. For example, the city is able to retain a tourist almost more than anyone else in Europe, but there are only 31 thousand hotel rooms. According to this indicator, it makes no sense to compete with Paris or Berlin, but with the modest Finnish Turku, in which there are 45 thousand hotel beds per 180 thousand of the population, it is quite possible. St. Petersburg is practically devoid of excursion transport, which would deliver tourists to attractions, and municipal transport is underdeveloped. There is no decent entertainment center in the city - a water park or Disney Land, an aquarium or a SPA hotel. Foreign tourists are deliberately discriminated against, as they pay more for all tourist services, and this is repulsive, harming the prestige of the city. In Europe, it is accepted that the main travelers are people of retirement age, who, in case of pleasant impressions, will advise this place to richer children. But what will pensioners see in St. Petersburg? What kind of visit to the Hermitage are they charged 5 times more? The city still has to work and work on the development of tourism, for example, in London 70% of the city budget is filled precisely through this item.
St. Petersburg is the cultural capital. Undoubtedly, the city is rich in its cultural roots, the number of museums and the education of its inhabitants. But will all this make the outer ring of residential areas more cultured? Today, the overwhelming majority of residents cannot have a good rest, attend cultural events, since almost all places of culture and entertainment are located on the territory of the historical center. In the sleeping areas, the recreation industry is not developing. Going to the center, "thanks" to the transport network, is not often issued, besides, such a pleasure turns out to be not cheap. It is no coincidence that the majority of townspeople rarely leave their neighborhoods. Today, the number of children's creative teams, studio theaters and other organizations for which the city was so famous is constantly decreasing. Of course, in the past, St. Petersburg was indeed a cultural capital, but this title, given the current trends in the city's development, can quickly be lost.
When the city was announced, an eagle appeared over Peter. Legend has it that on May 16, 1703, Peter I examined the island of Yeni-Saari. Suddenly the king stopped, cut out a couple of pieces of turf, put their cross on the cross and announced that there would be a city here. And at that moment an eagle appeared in the sky and began to soar over Peter. It looked very symbolic. In fact, on the island of Yeni-Saari (the Finnish name would later be changed to "Hare"), not a city was founded, but a fortress. The settlement arose later, on the neighboring Berezovy Island, under the protection of a defensive complex. Some researchers claim that from May 11 to May 20, Peter was not in these places at all. The appearance of an eagle in the sky was also doubtful - what could a mountain bird do over the swamps? She was never seen over the Neva.
St. Petersburg is named after its founder, Peter I. Tsar Peter was baptized on June 29, 1672 on Peter's day. The ruler has long dreamed of naming a fortress in honor of his heavenly angel. It was planned that the city of Petra would appear on the Don in the event of the successful completion of the Azov campaign. But there was a failure. On May 16, 1703, the fortress of St. Petersburg was laid on the Neva. But already on June 29, after the laying of the Cathedral of Peter and Paul in it, they began to call it Peter and Paul. And the old original name has already passed to the whole city. But until the moment this name was officially fixed, another name was found in the correspondence - St. Petropolis. The Hermitage even contains the first engraving depicting a city with this unusual name.
The symbol of the city is the copper monument to Peter I. This monument was the very first in the city. Surprisingly, the Bronze Horseman is not copper at all, but bronze. The monument got its own name thanks to the poem of the same name by Pushkin.
The Kisses Bridge is named after the lovers. It is believed that lovers met and kissed on this bridge, which gave the name to the object. It is symbolic that the bridge, moreover, is never lifted, as if not wishing to tear hearts apart. In fact, the Kisses Bridge got its name from the Kiss tavern. This institution was located on the left bank of the Moika River at the corner of Nikolskaya Street in the house of the merchant Potseluev. It seems obvious that it was the merchant's surname that gave the name to the inn, and then to the bridge.
Vasilievsky Island is named after the artilleryman, captain Vasily Korchmin. There is a legend that under Peter, there was a fortification in the western part of the island under the command of Korchmin. When the king sent orders there, he simply said: "To Basil on the island." This is how the name seems to have come about. However, the island received its name long before the founding of St. Petersburg.In 1500, in the census register of Vodinskaya pyatina in Veliky Novgorod, it is said about Vasilyevsky Island. But he also had another name, Finnish - Elk or Hirva-Saari. Peter planned to place the center of the new city here.
Barmaleeva Street on the Petrogradskaya Side got its name in honor of the robber from Chukovsky's fairy tale "Aibolit". In fact, everything was exactly the opposite. In the 1920s, while walking around the city with the artist Dobuzhinsky, Chukovsky suddenly came across a street with a strange name. Creative personalities immediately began to fantasize on this topic, inventing the African robber Barmaley. The artist created his portrait, and the poet later wrote poetry about him. In the Russian language there is even an old word "barmolit", meaning slurred speech. Perhaps, a certain person was nicknamed "Barmaley", then the nickname became a surname. And then a street appeared in the place where Barmaley or Barmaleev was the landowner.
St. Petersburg holds the world record for the number of bridges. This beautiful myth flatters the locals. Within the city there are about a hundred rivers, branches, channels and canals, about the same number of reservoirs. The total number of bridges is 340-370, depending on the quality of the count. But this is clearly not a world record. There are 2,300 bridges in Hamburg, which is more than in St. Petersburg, Venice and Amsterdam combined.
The floods in the city were caused by the Neva. This myth has been around for two centuries. Today it is already clear that cyclones are to blame for this, driving water flows in autumn to this particular place of the Gulf of Finland. So a high wave is formed, forcing the waters of the Neva to rise. Over the entire history of the city, more than three hundred floods were recorded, three of which (in 1777, 1824 and 1924) were catastrophic.
In the gilded ball of the Admiralty spire is a box with gold coins. It is believed that this coin-box contains samples of all gold coins minted since the founding of the city. The box does exist, but it is not treasures that are hidden in it, but information about the repairs of the spire and weather vane during the entire existence of the Admiralty, as well as about the craftsmen who carried out the work.
Valery Chkalov was flying under the Troitsky Bridge. During the filming of the film "Valery Chkalov" director Kalatozov heard a brave pilot flying under the Troitsky Bridge in tsarist times. This story impressed the filmmaker and made it into the script. Chkalov was allegedly expelled from the Air Force for a hooligan flight under the bridge. And he did this to win the heart of his beloved. This legend found life, they even began to write when the flight took place, on which plane and what the hero's future wife was watching. However, she herself claimed that she had never seen her husband's flights. And Chkalov himself in 1926-1928 could not fly over Leningrad. He then served in Bryansk, then studied in Lipetsk, then served a criminal sentence. You can fly under the bridge only during the day. But then it would be full of eyewitnesses on the embankments! They did not appear, and in the Leningrad press in 1924-1928 nothing was written about such a flight. But in 1940, the press enthusiastically wrote how Chkalov's trick was "repeated" by Yevgeny Borisenko. He did this under the Kirov bridge during the filming of a film about the pilot.
St. Petersburg stands on 101 islands. In the middle of the 19th century, when the capital islands were counted, there were really 101 of them. Even then this number was less than in the previous century. Then the islands counted 147. The number decreased due to numerous factors, both natural and related to human activities. Some islands were washed away by the sea and the wind, others fell prey to new canals, and others merged together. By the middle of the 20th century, only 42 islands remained on the city's map.
The building of the Twelve Collegia stands with its butt towards the embankment to make way for the Menshikov Palace. This myth has turned into a kind of historical anecdote. Indeed, it seems strange that the building stands not along the embankment, but perpendicular to it. After all, it has always been significant and could become the center of the entire complex. According to legend, Peter, leaving the city under construction, instructed Alexander Menshikov to control the structure of the building. The assistant saw that the long building, according to the architect's plan, should face the Neva. Only then, on the embankment, the best part of the city, there will be no room for Menshikov's own palace. He certainly wanted to stake out a place for himself by ordering to deploy the building perpendicular to the river. Peter, seeing the building, was furious. But it was too late to stop the construction. The tsar did not dare to execute Menshikov, simply fining him. The legend still raises doubts. Historians believe that the facade of the building of the Twelve Collegia was planned to be oriented towards the main square of the city. It was just that later there was a redevelopment and this could not be carried out, the building had already found its place.
Zhdanov Street is named after the party official Andrei Zhdanov, who led Leningrad during the blockade. Zhdanovskaya Street got its name back in 1887. It, like the embankment of the same name, was named after the Zhdanovka River in the Petrogradsky district of the city.
Zhukov Street is named after the legendary commander who fought near Leningrad. The street in the Kalininsky district has nothing to do with the Soviet marshal. She received her name in 1923 in honor of Ilya Zhukov. This secretary of the Vyborg district party committee was a participant in the Civil War. In honor of Marshal Zhukov, the avenue was named in the city.