Everybody has their own St. Petersburg. In the 315 years of the city’s history, it has been home to over a dozen generations, each of which has seen and imagined this city in their own way. Those who built the city amid the winds, the marshes, and the incredulity of their contemporaries. Those who established the city’s fame in stone, in painting, in literature, in theatre, in cinema, and in scientific discovery. Those who lived with the city through great events, unaware of their greatness or their historic importance, just getting on with their work from day to day and from year to year. Those who departed for strange lands and faraway cities, only to return to these built-up islands and hurry along Nevsky Prospekt under the endless gray rain, glancing at the facades and paving stones, recognizing the curve of cartouches and the frames of shop windows familiar from childhood, and realizing with astonishment how much the trees have grown.
In St. Petersburg, everything is special. The trams clank and chime in their own particular way, and the metro has its own peculiar smell. The words we use for things as simple as an entryway or a loaf of bread are different from elsewhere. This is a city that knows how to come together in the face of adversity, as much now as in the past. But at the same time, St. Petersburg is not a separate planet. It is a lively crossroads of cultures, religions, peoples, and ideas. The city appreciates talent, hard work, friendliness, and especially beauty in all its aspects.