About St. Petersburg.
Peter the First founded a new Russian fortress on little Hare Island in the Neva delta in 1703. For the first few years the St. Petersburg was a small town around the Peter and Paul Fortress, mainly provided the needs of the fortress. The situation turned upside down when in 1712 Peter the First decided to make it the new capital of Russia and it gave new sources and opportunities for city development.
St. Petersburg is built on 42 islands at the Neva delta where the river flows into the Gulf of Finland. It is one of the world's leading cities in terms of its number of rivers, islands and bridges. St. Petersburg is sometimes called a museum of bridges - it has over 300 of them. 69 rivers and other waterways flow through the city and its immediate environs; within the city limits there are 40 rivers, tributaries, canals and other waterways with a total length of 217.5 km.
St. Petersburg has 10 cathedrals, 39 Orthodox churches, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches, an Armenian-Gregorian church, a Buddhist temple, a Muslim mosque and two synagogues.
The city is famous for its theatres - not only for the companies, but also for the beauty of the theatres themselves.
The historic center of the city is Palace Square, which incorporates the Winter Palace, the General Staff Headquarters and Ministries Buildings. The Winter Palace used to be the Imperial residence. Several rooms in the palace were used to house unique works of art, and these rooms came to be known as the Hermitage.
The population was 4,695,000 people in St. Petersburg in 2000. The city has an area of 606 sq. km.The city with the immediate suburbs on the lowlands along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland has 1439 sq. km. St. Petersburg measures 44 km from north to south and 25 km from east to west.