26 July 2010

Another Important Step In The Right Direction

I first visited St. Petersburg in 1997.  The city was reputed to be very beautiful; during that visit, I could see why the city was indeed a beautiful city in the past.  But, the St. Petersburg of 1997 was not inspiring.  The city had fallen into disrepair and, outside the principle route in the city, felt very industrial.

A mere 13 years later, St. Petersburg is a different city.  I had complained that Moscow had lost the opportunity to be as beautiful as London or Paris, but St. Petersburg is as beautiful.  The city is magnificent now and as glorious as it was intended to be when it was first conceived by Peter I in the early eighteenth century.

The glory of Church of the Savior on Blood is impressive and tells the story of the city within one edifice. The very short version of the church's (and the city's) story is:
  • Built by a czar
  • Immaculately decorated and ornamented over many years
  • Ignored during the communist era to a large degree
  • Improbably survives a vicious enemy attack
  • Is resurrected like the mythical fire bird, Phoenix
  • It is once again an international city and a gateway to the West
St. Petersburg should be on anyone's list who wants to see the best of Europe.  

And, hopefully in due time, the rest of Russia will flourish on the same trajectory.

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