Palace Square, St. Petersburg

Palace Square, St. Petersburg (must see)

One cannot truly experience St. Petersburg without visiting Palace Square (Russian: Dvortsovaya Ploshchad), the central square of St. Petersburg. The place takes its name from the Winter Palace that frames it at one end.

The southern side of the square, formed as an arc, emerged in the late 18th century, designed by George von Velten; whereas the overall ensemble – masterminded as a vast monument to the Russian victory over Napoleonic France – came into existence under Alexander I (reigned 1801–1825).

The architect Carlo Rossi took 10 years, from 1819 to 1829, to create a bow-shaped plaza which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a bronze Roman quadriga. One of the most stunning architectural elements of the square is the Alexander Column designed by Auguste de Montferrand in 1830–1834. This red granite column (the tallest of its kind in the world) stands 47.5 meters high and weighs some 500 tons. It is set so well that requires no attachment to the base. The monument is topped with an angel holding a cross.

The square features a mix of architectural styles, ranging from Baroque of the white-and-turquoise Winter Palace (re-built between 1754 and 1762) to the Neoclassical Imperial-style of the General Staff Building (1819–1829). The eastern side of the square comprises Alexander Brullov's building of the Guards Corps Headquarters (1837–1843), overlooking the western side which opens towards Admiralty Square.

Many historic events took place at Palace Square over the years, including the so-called Bloody Sunday massacre of 9 January 1905, during which the Tsar’s troops gunned down hundreds of peaceful demonstrators thus giving start to the first Russian Revolution of 1905. Another revolution, of 1917, also culminated here with the storming of the Winter Palace. A signal for that attack came from the nearby moored Cruiser Aurora which fired a shot from her forecastle gun on 25 October 1917.

Why You Should Visit:
Immaculately clean square and extremely picturesque, in large part, due to the Hermitage and the Winter Palace.

Tip:
Highly photogenic, so make sure to bring a good camera and come early in the morning when the sun rises behind the General Staff Building, casting nice shadows over the horse-drawn chariot on top of it.
A 20-minute horse ride (not expensive) can give you a special dimension to visiting the place.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in St. Petersburg. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Palace Square on Map

Sight Name: Palace Square
Sight Location: St. Petersburg, Russia (See walking tours in St. Petersburg)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in St. Petersburg, Russia

Create Your Own Walk in St. Petersburg

Create Your Own Walk in St. Petersburg

Creating your own self-guided walk in St. Petersburg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
St. Petersburg Introduction Walking Tour

St. Petersburg Introduction Walking Tour

Russia's northern capital, Saint Petersburg is the country's second largest city where nearly every stone breathes history. It is named after apostle Saint Peter and traditionally dubbed by the Russians as “the Window to Europe” “opened” by Peter the Great on 27 May 1703 on the site of a captured Swedish fortress amid the swamp and the Neva River.

The city is integral with...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Russian Literary Heritage Walking Tour

Russian Literary Heritage Walking Tour

Many world-famous Russian writers and poets lived in Saint Petersburg. All of them described this beautiful city in their works. We offer you an unforgettable walking tour around the museums devoted to some of the most outstanding figures in Russian Literature. Do not miss the opportunity to see places of Saint Petersburg where Pushkin, Blok, Dostoevsky and others lived and created their...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Vasilievsky Island Walking Tour

Vasilievsky Island Walking Tour

Vasilievsky Island is a part of Saint Petersburg's historic center. The southern embankment of the island has long attracted tourists with its old beautiful buildings, some of which date back to the 18th century. This self-guided walking tour takes you to explore the most popular attractions on St Petersburg's Vasilievsky Island.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Nevsky Prospekt Walking Tour

Nevsky Prospekt Walking Tour

Nevsky Prospekt (Nevsky Avenue) is the main artery of Saint Petersburg, named after the Alexander Nevsky Lavra (the monastery), standing at the eastern end of the avenue. The lavra commemorates a prominent warlord and legendary figure in the Russian history, Prince Saint Alexander Nevsky (1221–1263).

Following his founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Tsar Peter the Great planned the course...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Palace Embankment Walking Tour

Palace Embankment Walking Tour

Stretching along the River Neva in the very heart of St Petersburg is the Palace Embankment. A long standing tourist attraction, other than fresh air and a pleasant view of the river, the Embankment offers a terrific sight of the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Vasilievsky Island. The Embankment also holds marvelous landmarks such as the Winter Palace, the Hermitage Theatre, the Marble Palace and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Bolshevik Revolution Walking Tour

Bolshevik Revolution Walking Tour

In the early 20th century Russia endured several revolutions waged against the Tsarist autocracy. The old regime fell and gave rise to a new formation, the Soviet Union. All the Russian revolutions took place in Saint Petersburg. Take this tour and discover the traces of Russian revolutions that had effect on the course of history of Russia and the entire world.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 11.5 Km or 7.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Unique Russian Things to Seek in St. Petersburg

16 Unique Russian Things to Seek in St. Petersburg

The "cradle of two revolutions", St. Petersburg bears cultural and historic significance for Russia that is hard to overestimate. Perhaps, nearly every stone in the downtown part of the city breathes history and can qualify as a memorable souvenir, although picking up them for such purpose...