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Although it's a relative newcomer to the major European cities list (having only been officially founded in 1703 by none other than Peter the Great himself—hence the name), St. Petersburg is certainly one of Europe's more grand metropolises. Home to some of the most captivating cathedrals in the world, packed with world class museums and art galleries, and bristling with some of the most ornate and stunning architecture anywhere, St. Petersburg doesn't have too much trouble showing you why it's a city worthy of a Czar.
Having been the capital of Russia for over 200 years, it shouldn't come as a surprise as to this city's sheer cultural magnitude. From miles of museums and palaces (which are packed with everything from priceless works of art to oddities of Mother Russia's past) to stunning promenades, riverside walkways, besotting parks, and verdant (season permitting) gardens, filling your days in St. Petersburg shouldn't be too much of a chore—and when the sun sets, things keep whirring right along. Catch a show at a jazz bar, kick back with a cocktail, or pull out all the stops: don your fanciest apparel and see a ballet at one of the many performing arts centers. And if you can swing it, be sure to soak in the city's nocturnal beauty, too; its drawbridges and facades beguile in an entirely new way under streetlights and dark Russian skies.
Its dining scene, too, is an international marvel worthy of its royal roots. Whether you're looking for exquisite French cuisine, grab-and-go pastries, or are willing to take your palate to India, China, Japan, Azerbaijan, Georgia (the Republic of Georgia, mind you), and a host of other countries, St. Petersburg has quite a gamut of dining options to suit your taste.
For a city so technically new, St. Petersburg has established as one of the most historically important cities in the world. Its as regal as it is immense, as stunning as it is sprawling; between its Baroque architecture, density of museums, and sheer amount of cultural clout, St. Petersburg is a city upholding its imperial pedigree—and looking good doing so.