Sunday 27 May 2018


Reckoned from when Tsar Peter the Great laid the groundwork for the Fortress of Peter and Paul at the estuary where the River Neva empties into the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic to protect his recent conquests in the Great Northern War from resurgent Swedish colonists, the grand city of Saint Petersburg’s founding is traced to this date (16 May, Old Style) in 1703, making this the three hundred and fifteenth anniversary.
In order to fulfil aspirations as a world power, Peter concluded that Russia needed a seaport and the empire’s harbour in Arkhangelsk which was frozen over half the year was not surfeiting that requisite. After conscripting labourers from all over Russia, the city was ready for occupation and the capital was moved from Moscow, where it remained until the dissolution of Imperial Russia after the October Revolution in 1917 and was renamed Petrograd—to remove any Germanic sounding elements and the capital restored to Moscow. Called Leningrad during Communist times, the original name was adopted again with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Along with Moscow and Sevastopol (another important port on the Black Sea founded some eight decades later with the annexation of the once independent Khanate of the Crimea as an outcome—previously here and here, of the Russo-Turkish War), Saint Petersburg is counted among three federal cities and constituencies of the Russian Federation. Learn more at the city’s official web-site, in Russian and English.