in Saint-Petersburg

The "Silver age" city

(turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg)

This period in the city's history was both brilliant and troublesome. It all began with the splendid coronation of Nicholas II in Moscow, which resulted in the thousands of casualties of the Khodynka disaster, and ended with the cruelest of wars - WWI. However, in the early 1900s St. Petersburg was obsessed with celebration.

1905-07.  Embankment of Neva river.

In 1902 bureaucratic St. Petersburg celebrated 100 years of the government reforms of Alexander I and his establishment of the ministries.

In May 1903 St Petersburg celebrated the city's 200th anniversary. The new Troitski (Trinity) Bridge was officially opened in the presence of the Emporer and a church service took place in Senatskaya Square next to the Bronze Horseman, to commemorate the founder of the city.

But trouble began to brew in January 1905, when a peaceful demonstration of workers was fired on by troops on Palace Square. This triggered public outrage and marked the start of the 1905-07 Revolution. The events of January 9 1905 rapidly became known as "Bloody Sunday". On October 17 1905 Nicholas II was forced to issue a manifesto proclaiming a number of civil rights and instituting a new parliament, consisting of the Duma and the reformed State Council.

Chernyshov bridge

The opening of the Duma in 1906 gave fresh grounds for hope to thousands of liberals in the intelligentsia. The district where the Duma was located soon became one of the most popular residential areas in the city. However, their hope was short lived. The government curtailed many of these freedoms and blocked many of the Duma's initiatives. Finally, worn down by the harships of WWI, the public's patience waned and the revolutionary events of 1917 were set in motion.

But before the onslaught of the 1917 Revolution, St. Petersburg enjoyed a cultural revival which became known as the "Silver Age" and involved many of the city's best known artists, musicians, composers, writers and poets.

With a population of 2 million people, the modern metropolis of St. Petersburg was to face many horrors in the coming war.

Next: Petrograd during WWI and the Revolution

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References from my tourists:

Benito Favretto:
Dobbiamo ringraziare veramente di cuore Nikolay che con il suo entusiasmo e la sua conoscenza ci ha fatto amare ancora di piu' questa splendida citta.Il tour cittadino ci ha colpiti e impressionati e la visita all'Hermitage tolto le parole di fronte alla magnificenza e all'esistenza di cosi' tante opere presenti(un giorno le comprero' e faranno ritorno in patria… :-).
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Benito Favretto on the Palace Square