Saint Petersburg, Russia Accessible Travel

The city on the Neva River, Saint Petersburg, in Russia bears a lot of names and each name has a geographical, romantic, political, historical or cultural meaning: the Northern Capital, The City of White Nights, The City of Three Revolutions, and The Northern Venice. Locals take pride in their city that is full of historical and cultural values. The city with a rich history is awaiting you.

The city was conceived by Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, to be not only an outpost of Russia in the Northwest Region and the new capital of the Russian Empire but also a message to Europe. Saint Petersberg showed that Russia is not a wild Asian country as it was thought of at the time but a great European state that is able and willing to play an important role on the political and economic arenas of the world. That is why so much effort and money were invested in construction of Saint Petersburg. Being still at war and winning back its right to the territory of the Baltic Sea, the country started to create a fairytale made of stone and gold, crystal glass and granite.

Even nowadays, people are struck by the palaces and fountains of Peterhof, Pavlovsk and Pushkin and the stark beauty of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress used as military fortifications, a political prison and a museum throughout its history. Also worth mentioning is the Winter Palace that today hosts the most famous Russian museum in the world, i.e. the State Hermitage Museum.

If you take a stroll through its streets, every house in the historic center of Saint Petersburg will tell you entertaining and instructive stories about itself, its former owners and tenants. Apart from being interesting, the stories may turn out to be weird. For example, the story of great Grigory Rasputin who lived in the city on the River Neva and was murdered there. Today,  the memorial plaque is the only reminder that this was the dwelling of the person which could control the government and had unrestricted influence on the last Russian tsar.

The city is filled with the breath of history as characters created by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and writer Dostoevsky. If you try hard, you can find a ghost of student Raskolnikov on the streets of Saint Petersburg tormented by the committed crime and secretly dreaming of the punishment to free his soul from pangs of conscience. Saint Petersburg is rich in history, indeed.

Saint Petersburg is the city of three revolutions. This part of history is equally remarkable to any tourist who visits our city. Of course, most of all, the October Revolution that generated the first communist-regime state in the world. Even today the main symbol of the 1917 Revolution, the Aurora Cruiser, let’s tourists feel the spirit of revolutionary Petrograd, as Saint Petersburg used to be called.

During the World War II, when the city was called Leningrad, residents of the city forever inscribed their names in the history of Russia by protecting their city from a siege. There are a lot of museums and monuments in the city and in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg dedicated to the events that took place on those days and the people who accomplished feats at that difficult time for both the country and the city.

Saint Petersburg is also the most romantic city in Russia, the City of White Nights. During the White Nights the city is crowded with couples walking through its beautiful streets all night long. The beauty of the city architecture, rivers and canals, gardens and parks, and the sky lit up with the sun slightly sunk over the horizon invoke romantic moods. It is worth living through at least once in a lifetime to remember it for ever.

The view of the bridges flinging their wings open over the dark waters of the Neva River is a sight that attracts thousands of people, both tourists and residents of the city since raised bridges are one of the city’s symbols. Innumerable rivers and canals, bridges and berths clad in granite brought glory and the name of the Northern Venice to Saint Petersburg.

Saint Petersburg hosts numerous cultural events, such as exhibitions, concerts and shows. Most temporary exhibitions are held on the premises of the major national museums, e.g. the State Hermitage or the Russian Museum, and therefore are fully accessible to wheelchair visitors. However, some exhibitions are hosted by smaller galleries which do not feature accessibility aids, yet we are committed to arrange such access upon request.

Accessible Attractions
Accessibility is one of the key requirements of wheelchair travelers. All tourist attractions listed in our proposals are fully accessible with the aid of either permanent facilities (such as ramps and electric lifts) or our mobile devices. Listed below are some tourist attractions and their accessibility to wheelchair visitors.

The State Hermitage
The State Hermitage is the main museum of our city. The museum is situated in the Winter Palace of Russian emperors as well as in the buildings of Small, Old and New Hermitages, in the Hermitage Theater and Reserve house. It will show you not only the history of the Czars but also the rich collection of chef-d’oeuvres collected under its roof. The Hermitage is one of the most accessible places in our city. Despite numerous multi-floor routes, all of them feature electric lifts. Several large capacity elevators are also available. Toilet cabins for disabled visitors are adapted properly.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Rich spiritual life of the city is revealed in its churches and cathedrals. You can visit a magnificent example of cathedral architecture at the Isaakievsky Cathedral. This architectural monument would strike you with its attire and solemn atmosphere. Cathedral is one of the first attractions in the city to offer a ramp and an electric lift. Additionally, in 2012 the cathedral acquired an elevator to enable wheelchair travelers to visit the Colonnade and see the panoramic  view of the city. Before this experience was available only to those who were able to climb up the narrow spiral steel stairs, but this is no more.

The Russian Museum and The Russian Museum of Ethnography
These museums feature electric lifts allowing the visitors access to all floors; additionally, they feature toilet cabins for wheelchair visitors. Diorama “Breakthrough of the Leningrad siege” and Memorial dedicated to Heroic defenders of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War. Unfortunately, these sites are not equipped with permanent electric lifts, yet they offer mobile stairclimbers for wheelchair visitors but no adapted toilet cabins.

Catherine Palace
The Catherine Palace is the summer residence of Russian emperors and Empresses with many secrets. The Palace would amaze you with its splendor and richness. You would listen to stories and legends connected to this place. You would see the legendary Amber Chamber you must have heard of. The palace is fully adapted for wheelchair visitors. The lifts and adapted toilet cabins will prevent distraction from sightseeing. You will be able to enjoy an unimpeded outdoor session through the lanes of the palace park. All the lanes are made of fine gravel. Inter-level transitions within the park are fitted with ramps.

The Mariinsky Theater
The Mariinsky Theater is where you can enjoy the world renowned Russian ballet and yet  another reason to visit St. Petersburg. Regarding accessibility of Mariinsky: for many years this opera house was not adapted for wheelchair audience, yet today the management has been doing its best to provide excellent accessibility to excellent performances for this audience category. The opera house is fitted with ramps and features polite and attentive staff. All you need is to take your seat and enjoy an outstanding performance. This attraction is not included in the price of tour but is optional.

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