St. Petersburg, Russia

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Saint Petersburg (Petrograd in Russian) is a city located in the western part of Russia on the Baltic Sea. In the past it was a major cultural center of Europe.

St. Petersburg is a major Russian port. The city was founded by tsar Peter the Great after conquering the land from Sweden in 1703, and named after the apostle St. Peter. It was built in the location of the former Swedish fortress of Nöteborg, in the marshlands where the river Neva drains into the Gulf of Finland. It was the national capital of Russia under the tsars. During the World War I, the name St. Petersburg was seen to be too German and the city was renamed Petrograd. In 1917, the Bolshevik revolution broke out in Petrograd. The nearby German armies forced a move of the capital to Moscow, which has been the capital of Russia ever since. During Soviet rule, the city was known as Leningrad. It was besieged by the German army during World War II.

The original name--St. Petersburg--was restored after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

A famous landmark in St. Petersburg is the Hermitage art museum, which includes the tsars' Winter Palace.