St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city's iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia's cultural center, with venues such as the Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works.
The Hermitage Museum has a vast, world-famous collection of antiquities and paintings, many displayed in the gilt-trimmed baroque Winter Palace on Palace Square. Iconic churches include the Savior on Spilled Blood, a Russian Orthodox cathedral with ornate onion domes. Nevsky Prospekt is a shopping and dining strip, and its intersection with Dumskaya forms the main nightlife district. Popular activities are skating and skiing in city parks or boating urban canals and the Neva River. White Nights is a massive citywide summer festival.