One man’s single-minded determination built this city on a swamp, on territory claimed by the enemy. Years later, Hitler decreed it should be wiped off the face of the earth. The name of the city? St. Petersburg, Russia’s Window on Europe, Venice of the North, City of Light, is quite simply the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. It overwhelms the eye, and the soul.
It was conceived in the mind of Peter the Great, aptly named, as he stood 7’2″ tall and cast an even longer shadow, and born by his will, built, as they say, with the bones of thousands of serfs, and built where no city could or should be built.
“The history of the city,” writes the BBC, “is a story of the triumph of human will over the elements.” It was the Russian winter, after all, that finally defeated Napoleon, and St. Petersburg is nearly parallel to Helsinki.
It is said that one day the tsar of Russia, who, determined to make Russia a country in its own right, not the colony of one of the super powers busy at…