Bolshevik Revolution Walking Tour (Self Guided), St. Petersburg

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.
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Bolshevik Revolution Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Bolshevik Revolution Walking Tour
Guide Location: Russia » St. Petersburg (See other walking tours in St. Petersburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 11.5 Km or 7.1 Miles
Author: emily
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Vosstaniya Square
  • Apartment Museum of the Alliluevs
  • Lenin Memorial Museum (Smolny Institute)
  • Finlyandsky Rail Terminal
  • Cruiser Aurora
  • State Museum of the Political History of Russia
  • Peter and Paul Fortress
Vosstaniya Square

1) Vosstaniya Square

Vosstaniya Square, also known as Uprising Square, is a major traffic hub located at the intersection of Nevsky Prospekt, Ligovsky Prospekt, Vosstaniya Street, and Goncharnaya Street. It is in front of the Moscow Terminal and the metro station Ploshchad Vosstaniya is also nearby. Additionally, trams, trolleybuses, buses, taxis, and marshrutkas use the square as a transportation hub. Prior to the Russian Revolution of February 1917, the square was named the Znamenskaya.

Fyodor Demertsov designed the Neoclassical structure. The Communists removed the original statue of Alexander III that was in the center of the square in 1937. The statue of Alexander III was moved to the Marble Palace in the 1990s. In 1985, the Hero-City Obelisk, a 36 meter pentahedron sculpture, was installed in the center of the square to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Victory Day. A gold star tops the obelisk and bronze reliefs that celebrate Leningrad’s victory over the Germans decorate each side of the figure. The designers were Vladimir Lukyanov and Aleksandr Alymov.

***In February 1917, mass demonstrations and clashes with police took place in Znamenskaya Square. In memory of these events the area became known as the Vosstaniya Square (Uprising Square) in 1918.***PH***
Thousands of commuters pass by the square each day. Vosstaniya Square is particularly beautiful when viewed at night.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Apartment Museum of the Alliluevs

2) Apartment Museum of the Alliluevs

The Apartment Museum of the Alliluevs, often referred to as Lenin’s secret flat, was home to Sergey Allileuv, a Russian revolutionary and his daughter Nadezhda Allilueva, Stalin’s second wife. Allileuv was also a participant in the October 1917 Revolution. The Allileuvs provided refuge not only to Lenin, but to Stalin as well. Lenin only stayed for three days, until he could find a better place to hide. Stalin hid in the apartment for more than a year.

Established in 1937, the quaint apartment is a part of the Saint Petersburg Historical Memorial Museum of Smolny. The apartment furnishings are quite simple and bare, but they illustrate perfectly how the working class lived at that time. Visitors may find the display of the multiple Lenin statues atop many books a little eerie. There are many patriotic photographs of Lenin throughout the small dwelling. You will also be privy to Lenin’s voice via the gramophone that plays as you walk through the dwelling.

Although the apartment is an important part of Russian history because of Stalin and Lenin, it is actually more famous for being the home of Stalin’s tragic wife. An average of 10,000 patrons visits each year. Over 187 items are available for viewing. Only group visits are allowed.
Lenin Memorial Museum (Smolny Institute)

3) Lenin Memorial Museum (Smolny Institute)

The Lenin Memorial Museum is housed in a structure that used to contain the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens. The building, built from 1806 to 1808, was one of the first educational institutes for women. It was at the Smolny where young girls were made into ladies. But, this is not why the building is important. The museum is located in a building that is a major part of Russian history.

During the October 1917 Revolution, the Smolny became Lenin’s temporary residence and then the headquarters for the local communist party. In 1927, a statue of Lenin was installed in front of the building. The statue designers were Vasily Kozlov, Vladimir Shchuko, and Vladimir Gelfreikh. In addition, Sergi Kirov, an important Bolshevik leader was assassinated at this location. In 1991, the Smolny became the seat of the city mayor and the city government.

The museum was established in 1992. The Smolny Photo/Document Exhibit, First Soviet Government Exhibit, and Days of the Siege Exhibit are some of the displays that remember the building’s history. Patrons will enjoy viewing Lenin’s office and living quarters, the assembly hall in which Lenin spoke, as well as the former school for the girls. The gallery is one of the few Lenin museums still in existence. An average of 62,000 people per year visit.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Finlyandsky Rail Terminal

4) Finlyandsky Rail Terminal

Best known as the terminal that Vladimir Lenin used to return to Russia from Germany to start the 1918 Revolution, the Finlyandsky Rail Terminal is a major terminal in St. Petersburg that provides a link to Finland and other Scandinavian countries. Lenin rode into St. Petersburg on engine #293 disguised as a railway worker. Previously, Lenin had to flee to avoid persecution during the July Days riots.

The Finnish State Railways built the terminal and Swedish architects designed it. The terminal opened in 1870. The station was owned by the Finnish State Railways until 1917 when the company’s employees left Russia. Later on, ownership of the company was exchanged for some Russian property in Finland.

The previous station even contained a pavilion for the Tsar and his family. The terminal building is impressive and large and has a number of conveniences for its passengers. A cafeteria, bank, ticket office, waiting room, and several retail stores are just some of the comforts customers can enjoy while waiting. In the 1950s, the current station was demolished and replaced with a modern structure. An estimated 12 million passengers travel the terminal each year. One cannot miss the impressive statue of Lenin across the street from the terminal.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cruiser Aurora

5) Cruiser Aurora

The Cruiser Aurora is a famous vessel that allegedly fired the first shot that launched the Revolution. The ship was constructed in 1897 by the New Admirateisky Shipyard and went into service in 1900. It was one of the biggest ships at its time of construction. It weighs 7,600 tons, is 416 feet long, and 55 feet wide. It is moored in front of the Nakhimov Naval Academy north of the Neva River.

The Cruiser Aurora has participated in many battles. Its first introduction to battle was the Russo-Japanese War. She then participated in the October 1917 Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. After World War II, the Cruiser Aurora became a training center for the navy. In 1968, the craft received the Order of the Red Banner for her service performance.

The ship became a museum in 1956. The museum features over 500 documents, photographs, and objects that illustrate the ship’s illustrious history. The museum is closed the last Wednesday of each month. Tours of the underwater cruiser machine boiler are also available. Twenty-eight million people have visited the Cruiser Aurora since 1956.

Why You Should Visit:
The ship is almost brand new as it has been renovated in 2016. Not a lot of information in English, but there are enough interesting photos and artifacts in the museum below the deck to understand the most important historical facts.

Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun: 10:30am-4pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
State Museum of the Political History of Russia

6) State Museum of the Political History of Russia

The State Museum of Political History of Russia (known as the State Museum of Revolution before August 1991) is a historical and political museum founded in 1919. The stated purpose of the museum is to record and showcase the political history of the Russian Federation.

The museum houses artifacts owned by key figures in the history of Russia such as the belongings of politicians, statesmen, scientists and military leaders, among them Sergei Witte, Nicholas II, Vladimir Lenin, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Yuri Gagarin. A calendar of exhibitions is available online.

The idea of creating a future Museum to commemorate the Revolution had its origins in the minds of activists of political parties and social movements during The First Russian Revolution of 1905-1907. Russian Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries, and Anarchists in Paris, Zurich, and Berlin discussed the need to create a museum of revolution after the tsarist regime was overthrown. Participants of the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will"), who received the opportunity to return to St. Petersburg from prisons and exile after the tsarist Manifesto on October 17, 1905, began to collect and preserve revolutionary relics for the future museum.

Museum collection is around 500 000 objects. A remarkable part of the collection is an unique gathering of posters, bills and slogans of the end of the XIXth and the XXth centuries; collection of propaganda porcelain of 1920s and gathering of Revolutionary banners of 1917.

The exposition "Soviet Epoch Between Utopia and Reality" is dedicated to daily life of people in USSR in times of Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. You can see a typical kitchen of communal flat, a cabinet of bureaucrat of 1940-50s, can hear about attitude to religion and art in Soviet society, about prisoners of GULAG and dissident movement.

The temporary exhibitions together with memorial rooms: "Lenin's Study" and the Room of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of Bolshevik Party can give you a new vision of the events of 1917
Sight description based on wikipedia
Peter and Paul Fortress

7) Peter and Paul Fortress (must see)

The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706 to 1740 as a star fortress. It contains the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Trubetskii prison, Peter's Boathouse and the The Mint.

The cathedral is the burial place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, with the exception of Peter II and Ivan VI. The remains of Nicholas II and his family and entourage were re-interred there, in the side chapel of St. Catherine, on July 17, 1998. The newer Grand Ducal Mausoleum (built in the Neo-Baroque style under Leon Benois's supervision in 1896–1908) is connected to the cathedral by a corridor.

Between the first half of 1700s and early 1920s it served as a prison for political criminals. During the February Revolution of 1917, the Fortress was attacked by mutinous soldiers of the Pavlovsky Regiment and the prisoners were freed. Under the Provisional Government, hundreds of Tsarist officials were held in the Fortress. The Tsar was threatened with being incarcerated at the Fortress on his return from Mogilev to Tsarskoe Selo.

On October 25, the fortress quickly fell into Bolshevik hands. Following the ultimatum from the Petrograd Soviet to the Provisional Government ministers in the Winter Palace, after the blank salvo of the Cruiser Aurora at 21.00, the guns of the Fortress fired 30 or so shells at the Winter Palace. Just two hit, inflicting only minor damage, and the defenders refused to surrender at that time. At 02.10 on the morning of October 26 (J), the Winter Palace was taken by forces under Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko; the captured ministers were taken to the Fortress as prisoners.

In the years before and after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Peter and Paul Fortress was portrayed by Bolshevik propaganda as a hellish, torturous place, where thousands of prisoners suffered endlessly in filthy, cramped, and grossly overcrowded dungeons amid frequent torture and malnutrition. Such legends had the effect of turning the prison into a symbol of government oppression in the minds of the common folk. In reality, conditions in the fortress were far less brutal than believed; no more than one hundred prisoners were ever kept in the prison at a time, and most prisoners had access to such luxuries as tobacco, writing paper, and literature (including subversive books such as Karl Marx's Das Kapital). When the fortress was liberated during the early stages of the revolution in February 1917, the prison was holding only nineteen recently incarcerated prisoners, the ringleaders of a mutinous army regiment that had sided with the revolutionaries during the mass protests on the 26th.

Despite their ultimate falsehood, stories about the prison were vital to the spread of Bolshevik revolutionary sentiment. The legends served to portray the government as cruel and indiscriminate in the administration of justice, helping to turn the common mind against Tsarist rule. Many inmates, after being released, wrote chilling and increasingly exaggerated accounts of life there that solidified the structure's horrible image in the public mind and pushed the people further towards dissent.

In 1924, most of the site was converted to a museum. The structure suffered heavy damage during the bombardment of the city during World War II by the Luftwaffe who were laying siege to the city. It has been faithfully restored post-war and is a prime tourist attraction.

Today it has been adapted as the central and most important part of the State Museum of Saint Petersburg History. The museum has gradually become virtually the sole owner of the fortress building, except the structure occupied by the Saint Petersburg Mint (Monetniy Dvor).

According to a centuries-old tradition, a cannon is fired each noon from the Naryshkin Bastion. The honorary right to make a traditional midday shot is sometimes given to honorary residents and famous guests of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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