There are only three reasons why tourists wonder through the streets of Saint-Petersburg at night: they’re either drunk, lost, or on their way to the banks of the Neva river to see one of the 22 bridges being drawn. The bridges irrevocably divide the city in two halves for several hours so if you decide to go, make sure you’re on the right side when that happens!
What you should know before the clock strikes half past one in St. Petersburg, is this. Next to the Dutch language you bump into a lot, the Russian city has something else in common with Amsterdam: bridges! Before this ‘Russian Amsterdam’ became St. Petersburg, it was a swamp area in the northwestern corner of Russia, that belonged to the Swedish. Peter The Great stole the territory from the Swedes to realize his dream: he wanted to found a new city here that would become the most important metropolis of Russia. The megalomaniac Tsar had St. Petersburg built from the ground up, as a kind of 18th century Dubai. After having lived many years in the Netherlands, Amsterdam had clearly made an impression on the tsar: the road and canal system of the Dutch capital served as an inspiration for the construction of Saint Petersburg. Countless meandering canals, islands and bridges make up the map of the Russian city today.
Three rivers, 342 bridges
The Neva river cuts the city in two halves. The red dot is the Palace brigde
The famous Palace bridge
Every bridge has its curfew
A short 360° video along the Neva:
Want a unique view of the Palace bridge drawing? Buy a cruise ticket: tourist boats make good money buy sailing through the bridge as soon as bridge is in motion.