August 1, 2016

RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg / Leningrad Oblast) - Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

According to European criteria, Saint Petersburg, the most western city of Russia, is a young city, in 2003 celebrating "only" 300 years since Peter the Great built it from nothing into a region newly conquered from the Swedish, at the mouth of the Neva River, in a inhospitable coastal area of the Gulf of Finland. Built by conscripted peasants from all over the Empire (but mainly Estonians and Finnish), whom joined russian soldiers, but also Swedish and Ottoman prisoners of war, and aimed at fulfilling the ambitions of Peter to transform Russia into a modern European country, Saint Petersburg became the capital of the Empire in 1712.

It remained the seat of the Romanov Dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tzars until the communist revolution of 1917 (with only one break, between 1728 and 1732). What did Peter the Great for Saint Petersburg, in less than 20 years, but with a lot of money and Western architects and craftsmen, I don't think to did any other European monarch for one of his cities. As plenty of other Russian cities, Saint Petersburg changed its name several times, in 1914 becoming Petrograd, then in 1924 Leningrad, that in 1991 to return to the first name.

Therefor the "Venice of the North", with its numerous canals and more than 400 bridges, is the result of a vast urban project, and its architectural heritage reconciles the very different Baroque and pure Neoclassical styles. It occupied the shore on both sides of the Gulf of Finland as well as the Kronstadt fortress-town on Kotlin Island, while moving up the Neva towards its source in Sсhlisselburg. This Russian-European city, surrounded by suburban ensembles, became a socio-cultural phenomenon with an incomparable historic urban landscape, characterized by an absolute hierarchy of structures.

The greatness of Russia's northern capital, with its horizontal silhouette coupled with vertical landmarks and its ensembles of embankments and squares, lies in the heart of the city's “imperial” spirit, its genius loci. The main feature and attraction of Saint Petersburg's historical centre is characterized by a perfect harmony of architecture and waterscapes. The city fabric is richly woven through with ensembles. These assemblages, linking one to another, create a complex multi-layered system where not one element exists alone or is isolated from its environment.

In modern times, the city bore witness to and participated in the majestic and tragic events of the 1917 February and October Revolutions and the heroic blockade of 1941-1944, in which some million human lives were lost. Having survived the unprecedented trials of the 20th century, the city continues to be a symbol and base of Russian culture for new times and one of its centres of science, culture and education. Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, which become an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, contains the following objects (the ones with links are presented on the blog):
  1. Historic Centre of St. Petersburg
  2. Historical Part of the Town of Kronstadt
  3. Fortress of Kronstadt
    • Forts of the Island Kotlin
      • Redoubts Dena (Fort Den)
      • Fort Shanz
      • Fort Catherine
      • Fort Rift
      • Fort Constantin
      • Tolbukhin Signal Tower on Tolbukhin Island
    • Forts of the Gulf of Finland
      • Obrutchev Fort
      • Totleben Fort
      • North Forts Nos. 1-7
      • Paul Fort (Riesbank)
      • Kronshlot Fort
      • Alexander Fort ("Tchumny")
      • Peter Fort
      • South Forts Nos. 1-3
    • Forts of the Coast of the Gulf of Finland
      • Fort Lissy Noss
      • Fort Inno
      • Grey Horse Fort (Seraya Lochad)
      • Krasnaya Gorka fort (Red Hill)
    • Civil Engineering
      • the Barrier of Cribwork
      • the Barrier of Pile
      • the Barrier of Stone
  4. Historical Centre of the Town of Petrokrepost (Shlisselburg)
  5. The Oreshek Fortress on Orekhovy Island at the source of the Neva
  6. Palaces and Park Ensembles of the Town of Pushkin and its Historical Centre
  7. Palaces and Parks of the town of Pavlovsk and its Historical Centre
  8. Pulkovo Observatory
  9. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Village of Ropsha
  10. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Village of Gostilitsy
  11. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Village of Taytsy
  12. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Town of Gatchina and its Historical Centre
  13. Ensemble of the Coastal Monastery of St. Sergius
  14. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Town of Strelna and its Historical Centre
  15. Palace and Park Ensemble "Mikhailovka"
  16. Palace and Park Ensemble "Znamenka"
  17. Palace and Park Ensemble of the Town of Petrodvorets and its Historical Centre
  18. Palace and Park Ensemble "Sobstvennaya Datcha"
  19. Palace and Park Ensemble "Sergeevka"
  20. Palace and Park Ensembles of the Town of Lomonosov and its Historical Centre
  21. Pavlovo-Koltushi
  22. Zinoviev's Estate
  23. Shuvalov's Estate
  24. Viazemsky's Estate
  25. Sestroretsky Razliv
  26. I. Repin Estate "The Penates"
  27. Cemetery of the Village of Komarovo
  28. Lindulovskaya Rotcsha
  29. River Neva with Banks and Embankments
  30. Izhorsky Bench (Glint)
  31. Dudergofs Heights
  32. Koltushi Elevation
  33. Yukkovskaya Elevation
  34. The Roads
    • Moskovskoye Highway
    • Kievskoye Highway
    • Railway Leningrad-Pavlovsk
    • the Highway Pushkin-Gatchina
    • Volkhovskoe Highway
    • Tallinskoye Highway
    • Peterhofskoye Highway
    • Ropshinskoye Highway
    • Gostilitskoye Highway
    • Primorskoye Highway
    • Vyborgskoye Highway
    • Koltushskoye Highway
    • Ligovsky Canal
  35. The Fairways
    • the Maritime Channel
    • Petrovsky
    • Kronstadsky
    • Zelenogorsky
  36. The Green Belt of Glory
    • the Blockade Ring
    • the Road of Life
    • Oranienbaumsky Spring-Board
Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments - UNESCO official website
Saint Petersburg - Wikipedia
Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments - Wikipedia

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