Art, architecture, history, travel

Post 1974 Leningrad/St Petersburg USSR

7/21 Sunday Leningrad

Leningrad looks a lot nicer than Moscow. At night during the Summer they raise the many brides over the Neva. If you stay out late and are on the wrong side of the bridge it can be very expensive to get back to your hotel. However I’m dying for a drink—of water that is. This is the first city in which I can’t wait to leave. I got that feeling a lunch, but I hope that changes. Being sick doesn’t help my attitude either. I hope I don’t offend to many people but I think I’m turning mean. We are staying at “Druzhba” (“Friendship”) Hotel. It is on Krestovsky Island in the gulf of Finland. I’m rooming with David. They gave us a suite, because they said blacks are oppressed in the United States and David is black.

(In 1999 I would return to Leningrad, renamed St. Petersburg with my family including Aunt Margaret from Cincinnati The tour of Leningrad was much better than that of Moscow. Alla seemed to know a lot more, or at least told us more than the other guide. I once did a project of Russia, which involved the revolution. I’m glad I can see some of the things I read about. like the Aurora, winter and summer palaces Finland station and other places. I don’t see why a Czar would have a winter and summer palace in the same city. I also can’t see a Czar spending the winter in a cold place like Leningrad. The ballet tonight, Swan Lake was good but I don’t like ballet. It seemed that we went to a tourist place the titles were given in English. In addition, half the performance was taped, not live. Nevertheless, I still had a good time although I didn’t like the ballet. I hope I can find something to drink soon.

The PISKARIOVSKOYE MEMORIAL CEMETERY is dedicated to the men who died during the siege of Leningrad. There are mass graves and row after row of them, two million in all. The statue is dedicated to Mother Russia; she looks out over all her sons who died in the war. They also have their own Trevi fountain in the cemetery. It works the same way.

Leningrad was originally named St. Petersburg, it was changed to Petrograd during WWI, and after Lenin’s death changed to Leningrad. Peter the Great founded Leningrad on May 16, 1703. The city was built in order to help Russia hold the land it had won from the Swedes. Peter wanted Russia to have a sea outlet so he fought the Swedes, won. Took some land, and built a city on part of it. The first building was the Peter and Paul fortress, which soon came to be used as a political prison. Another early building was the Peter and Paul Cathedral. St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia until after the revolution, when it was moved to Moscow. For many years no stone buildings could be built anywhere but in Leningrad, during the Czars.


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