Historical Sights of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after its capital — Moscow, with the population of about 6 million people. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Our guests who left for Paris right after having visited St. Petersburg, and spent several days there on the banks of the Seine, witnessed that they found the city on the Neva river more amazing, more beautiful, and more impressive than Paris. Our city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great (ruled 1682 -1725) in 1703 and from 1712 became the new capital of Russia. It had this status up until 1918 when the capital was brought back to Moscow.
This city witnessed many important historical events. In fact, the whole history of the Russian Empire lies here on the banks of the Neva River. Russia became a European empire at the beginning of the 18th century; in fact, Peter the Great was the first Russian emperor. It was the era of vast changes in our country, and Peter was the greatest reformer ever. Almost all the emperors starting with Peter himself are buried in St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral that is situated on the territory of Peter and Paul’s Fortress which is the birthplace of our city. The gilded spire of the cathedral with a three meter high angel on top is one of the symbols of our city.
St. Petersburg thus started as a fortress to protect the lands along the banks of the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland from Sweden. In fact these lands had always been an apple of discord between Russia and its «northern neighbor» Sweden. Separate fights were held throughout centuries up until 1700 when a war was started that was one of the most important happenings in the history of St. Petersburg and Russia and that came down into history as the Northern War. It was started by the Swedish king Karl XII. For Peter I who was the ruler of our country then the main purpose of the war was to regain the lands along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland that were lost to Sweden in 1617 as a result of a peace treaty.
The beginning of the 17th century was a hard time for Russia when Lithuania and Poland were trying to capture Moscow. Russia was weak and without a tsar then and it asked Sweden for help. As a result of this «help» Russia lost the access to the Baltic Sea. The country could not develop without it that is why in 1700 Peter entered this war that lasted for 21 years and was ended in 1721 with a total victory of Russia. To protect the newly regained lands Peter and Paul’s Fortress was founded on a little Hare’s Island.
The fortress developed into a city under the rule of the Romanovs — the ruling dynasty in Russia from Peter’s grandfather Mikhail until the last Russian emperor Nicholas II.
It was at the time of Elizabeth, Peter’s daughter (ruled 1741-1761), that the city obtained its magnificence in architecture. One style was ruling in the middle of the 18th century — baroque, and there was an architect who could not be surpassed in creating baroque masterpieces — Francesco Rastrelli (1700-1771). This Italian architect, who was the favorite court architect of Elizabeth I, built a lot of richly decorated baroque buildings in St. Petersburg and its suburbs, which are now a distinguishing feature of our city. Among them are the Winter Palace — former main imperial residence, the Smolny Convent (former residence of the first women's school in Russia), and summer imperial palaces in Tsarskoe Selo (now Pushkin) and Peterhof (now Petrodvorets). The Winter Palace is one of the most splendid buildings in St. Petersburg. Almost all the Romanovs starting from Catherine the Great resided there. The palace had hundreds of rooms; many of them were State Halls the interiors of which are preserved till the present days and open to visitors.
When you are inside of these miraculous halls you’ll have a strong sensation of having got back to the times of the emperors. When you take the magnificent State Gala Staircase covered with a red velvet carpet and decorated with sculptures, huge mirrors, ceiling paintings, marble, gilded wood carvings — all to the baroque style — you are going to feel yourself one of the astonished guests invited to the pompous balls and receptions held in the Winter Palace. They had never before imagined such richness and splendor. Candles were lit in the vast Great Throne Room where the Emperor and Empress as well as Grand Dukes received their guests. Nobody was forgotten. The provincial nobility was received in the Emblem Hall covered all over with gilded bronze and sparkling in the candlelight.
Now the Winter Palace does not only display beautiful interiors but also houses our greatest pride — the Hermitage Museum. It ranks among the best museums of West European art in the world such as the Louver in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery and the British Museum in London and Prado in Madrid. The Hermitage possesses the masterpieces of such great painters as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Hals, Velasquez, Goya, El Greco, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kandinsky, and many others. The Hermitage has more than 3 million exhibits, among them not only paintings but also antique sculptures, medieval applied art, cameos, ancient and 18-19th century gold and jewels, coins, archeological finds, collections of the Eastern countries — Egypt, Iran, China and Tibet, Japan. There is also a Russian department though the main collection of the Russian Art is to be found in the Russian Museum. In the Hermitage you'll find imperial carriages covered with gilded wood carvings, upholstered with velvet and decorated with French paintings; original Russian sledge, Peter I’s personal set of medical instruments, and a whole gallery of the Romanovs’ gala portraits.
The Hermitage comprises several buildings, and the Winter Palace is just one of them. All the five buildings are situated on the bank of the Neva river. Behind them there is one of the little rivers — the Moyka — flowing, and the Neva is connected with the Moyka by a short canal that flows write between the buildings of the Hermitage. It’s called The Winter Canal, and this is one of the most poetic corners of the «old St.Petersburg». It was described in Alexander Pushkin’s famous «Queen of Spades», and until now is the place for romantic dates of people who are in love. This place is especially lovely when seen from the water — when you sail either along the Moyka or along the Neva River in a boat and cast a look on the beautiful arch that frames the Winter Canal.
The City of Los Angeles, also known simply as L.A. or informally as the City of Angels, is the second-largest city in the United States in terms of population, as well as one of the most important cultural, economic, scientific and entertainment centers in the world. It was incorporated as a city in California on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood, and is the county seat and the largest city in Los Angeles County.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 3.69 million, though a July 1, 2004 estimate placed the city’s population at 3.85 million, out of 10 million residents in the county.
Los Angeles serves as the core and most important city of the sprawling Southern California urban area which counts nearly 18 million residents. The city is also large by geographic standards since it sprawls over more than 465 square miles (1,200 square kilometers), making it larger than either New York City or Chicago in area.
Los Angeles is also one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world, as well as a vanguard of creativity and innovation, since it is home to individuals from virtually every nation on Earth. In addition, Los Angeles has hosted two Olympic Games, in 1932 and 1984, and is home to world-renowned scientific and cultural institutions. People have always been attracted to the world-class city for its balmy weather, unique and vibrant lifestyle, high-velocity energy, Pacific Rim Gateway status, and the opportunity to realize the «American Dream».
Boston is the largest city and unofficial capital of the region known as New England. Boston is one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most culturally significant large cities in the United States. Its economy is based on education, health care, finance, and technology.
Boston has many nicknames. The City on a Hill came from original Massachusetts Bay Colony’s governor John Winthrop’s goal to create the biblical «City on a Hill.» It also refers to the original three hills of Boston. Beantown refers to early Bostonian merchants' habit for making baked beans with imported molasses.
The Hub* is a shortened form of writer Oliver Wendell Holmes’ phrase The Hub of the Solar System, now more commonly The Hub of the Universe. William Tudor, co-founder of the North American Review, christened the city The Athens of America for its great cultural and intellectual influence. The city lies at the center of the Boston CMSA (Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area), the seventh largest in the United States. The area encompasses parts of the states of New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Boston was founded on September 17, 1630, by Puritan colonists from England, on a peninsula called Shawmut by its original Native American inhabitants. The peninsula was connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, and surrounded by the waters of Massachusetts Bay and the marshes at the mouth of the Charles River. Boston's early European settlers first called the area Trimountaine. They later renamed the town for Boston, England, in Lincolnshire, from which several prominent «pilgrims» colonists emigrated.
A majority of Boston’s early citizens were Puritans. Puritan ethics molded an extremely stable and well-structured society in Boston. For example, shortly after Boston’s settlement, Puritans founded America's first school, Boston Latin School (1635), and America’s first college, Harvard College (1636). Hard work, moral uprightness, and an emphasis on education remain part of Boston's culture. Over the past several decades, Boston has experienced a dramatic loss of regional institutions and traditions, which once gave it a very distinct social character. Boston has begun to resemble other parts of the continuous string of Northeast seaboard cities dubbed the BosWash megalopolis*.
*the Hub (амер.) — шутливое прозвище Бостона
*агломерация крупных городов, мегалополис
Chicago, known as the «Second City,» the «Windy City,» and (and other nicknames) is the third most populous city in the United States, following New York and Los Angeles. Chicago is located in the Midwestern state of Illinois along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. When combined with its suburbs and nine surrounding counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, the greater metropolitan area known as Chicagoland encompasses a population of nearly 10 million people.
The city takes its name from the indigenous Potawatomi tribe, who called the marshes on which Chicago was later built «Checagou,» which translates to «wild onion» or «garlic». The origin of Chicago’s nickname as «The Windy City» is debated and has many possible politically-motivated origins. The phrase was created by New York newspapers in the 1880s. Following the Chicago Fire the city rebuilt itself fairly quickly. Hence, the Chicago citizenry began to brag to New Yorkers of the new city's life and vitality, only to be labeled as windbags.
Growing from its 1833 founding as a frontier town of the Old Northwest into one of the world’s premier cities, Chicago is ranked as one of 10 «Alpha» (most influential) world cities. Chicago was the site of the world’s first skyscraper, and today is the architectural, financial, and cultural capital of the Midwest and transportation center of the country, with more rail lines and interstates radiating from the city than any other city in the country. Chicago also leads the country in the number of conventions hosted annually.
The city has long been known around the world as a financial, industrial, and transportation center and for its ethnic diversity. Chicago’s skyscrapers, local cuisine, political traditions, and sports teams are some of its most recognized symbols. A variety of colloquial nicknames reflect Chicago’s unique character.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States. Houston covers more than 600 square miles (1,558.4 km²) and is the county seat of Harris County- the third most populous in the country. As of the 2004 U.S.Census estimate, Houston had a total population of more than 2 million. The city is at the heart of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area, the largest cultural and economic center of the Gulf Coast region and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.3 million in 10 counties.
Houston is known for its energy (particularly oil) and aeronautics industries, and for its ship channel. The area is also the world's leading center for building oilfield equipment. The Port of Houston is the sixth-largest port in the world; amid other U.S. ports, it is the busiest in foreign tonnage and second in overall tonnage. Houston is the seat of the internationally-renowned Texas Medical Center, which contains the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions.
Houston is ranked as one of 11 U.S. world-class cities by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. The city has a vibrant visual and performing arts scene — the Houston Theatre District is ranked second in the country for the number of theatre seats in a concentrated downtown area per capita and has world-class visual and performing arts organizations. The city is also close to beaches on Galveston Island as well as one of the United States' largest concentrations of pleasure boats and tourist attractions.
Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the United States and the largest in population and area in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Since 1952, the city and county have shared a common government, yet the county still exists as a separate entity within Pennsylvania. As of July 1, 2004, the population of the city was estimated at 1,470,151. Philadelphia has the third largest downtown residential population in the U.S., behind New York and Chicago. It is also the second largest city on the U.S. East Coast (after New York). The Philadelphia metropoltan area is the fourh largest in the U.S. by the current official definition, with some 5.7 million people. Philadelphia is the central city of the Delaware Valley metropolitan area.
Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historically significant cities in the United States. Philadelphia was a major center of the independence movement during the American Revolutionary War. The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were drafted here and signed in the city's Independence Hall. The United States Marine Corps also began here on november 10, 1755, when Samuel Nicholas began recruiting men at Tun Tavern.
During part of the 18 century, the city was the second capital and most populous city of the United States. At that time, it eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin playing an extraordinary role in Philadelphia’s rise. The city limits have been coterminous with Philadelphia County since The Act of Consolidation, 1854. Until then, the city consisted only of the area bounded by South and Vine Streets and the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The city's expansion incorporated current day West, South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and Northeast Philadelphia, as well as Germantown and many smaller communities.
Philadelphia is also one of the largest college towns in the U.S., with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city limits and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area.
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada, United States. The city is the largest to be founded in the 20th century, and is a major vacation, shopping, and gambling destination.
Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (44.5 ha) owned by Montana Senator William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad, was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County.
Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911 when it adopted its first charter.Las Vegas was given its name by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or Meadows (Vega in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas.
The name Las Vegas is often applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This 4½ mi (7¼ km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is mostly outside the Las Vegas city limits, in the unincorporated town of Paradise. The center of gambling (азартная игра) in the US, Las Vegas is sometimes called Sin City due to the popularity of legalized gambling, availability of alcoholic beverages any time (like all of Nevada), various forms and degrees of adult entertainment. The nickname favored by local government and promoters of tourism is The Entertainment Capital of the World. The city’s glamorous image has made it a popular setting for films and television programmes.