Don’t miss the chance to visit Saint-Petersburg from water along its numerous rivers and canals. Peter the Great designed the city as the Second Amsterdam and the Second Venice, with canals in place of streets and citizens skilful in sailing. According to Peter's plans, in summer, the citizens had to move around in boats and in winter when the water turned into ice in sledges. Thanks to the intricate system of canals, St. Petersburg is often referred to as the "Venice of the North" which is a popular lyric name for the Northern capital.
St. Petersburg has about 93 rivers and canals. The total length of the overall waterway is 300 km, out of which 20 channels of about 160 km are artificially dug out.
Before flowing into the Gulf of Finland, the Neva river splits into many effluents, such as: the Malaya Neva, the Moika, the Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Kronversky and Kryukov canals, Ovodny canal, the Black River, the Small and the Big Ohta, the Small, the Medium and the Large Neva and other rivers and canals. All these numerous rivers and canals form a set of islands on which the city of St. Petersburg is located and thus being called the “Venice of the North”.
The Neva River takes its beginning from Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe, and flows into the Gulf of Finland. The total length of the Neva River is 74 miles.
Bout rides along the rivers and canals of Saint-Petersburg can become a wonderful pastime for tourists. Boat tour allows you not only to have a good time enjoying spectacular views of St. Petersburg and taking vivid photos, but also to visit many important places of the city, learn about the history of the buildings and streets. So once you’re done with your Hermitage museum tour come out straight to the Palace Embankment to enjoy St. Petersburg from water with the sights of the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Spit of the Basil Island.
Many of the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg are mentioned in literature classics. Among them is the famous Griboyedov Canal. The original name of this canal is the Krivusha river, which stands for something curving. And indeed this river has a lot of crooks and turns. It stretches for 3 miles through the centre of the city and is crossed by 21 bridges. It was dug out in 1739 to move cargo from Sennaya Square, and in the Soviet times got the name of the Russian playwright and diplomat, Alexander Griboedov.
No less is known about the Fontanka river, floating along which you can see many monuments such as Izmailovsky (Trinity) Cathedral, and St. Michael's Castle, the residence of Emperor Paul I, where he eventually was murdered. The Black River is notorious for the duel between Alexander Pushkin and a French baron George Dantes.
Definitely, the most romantic place in Saint-Petersburg is the Winter Canal, the shortest river in the city, only 228 metres long. It connects the Bolshaya Neva with the Moika River in the vicinity of the Winter Palace. The special picturesqueness to the canal is added by the arch which unites the Old Hermitage and the Hermitage Theater, built by architect Yury Felten next to the Hermitage Bridge. Being on the Hermitage museum tour you can easily enjoy the view of the Winter canal from the windows of the Foyer of the Hermitage Theatre.
The tour might take 1-3 hours
The Winter Canal that unites the Moika river with the Neva.
View of the Palace Bridge drawn during the night.