Catherine the Great turned St. Petersburg into a ?Grand City?, famous for its Winter Palace and the Hermitage. Today?s St. Petersburg still exhibits imperial grandeur, reminding visitors that this was once the capital of a vast empire, reigned and constructed by those with an eye for beauty. and talent. After all, what other city can bathe in in the legacy of Doestevsky, Nabokov, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich?
When visiting St. Petersburg, it will be no a surprise that the city also goes by the name ?Venice of the North?. Its enchanting rivers and canals are decorated with 342 beautiful bridges. The handsome Anchikove Most bridge, known for its spectacular horse decorations, is one of the four bridges which leads to Nevsky Prospect the city?s most famous boulevard, lined with department stores, upscale boutiques, cafes, restaurants, art stands and Gostiny Dvor (35 Nevsky Prospect), one of the world?s first shopping arcades, dating back to the 18th Century. Behind the vast yellow frontage lay upscale boutiques of European designers like Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier, discount clothing stores and a wide variety of stores offering Beluga caviar, furs, hats, toys and matryoshka dolls.
Gostiny Dvor is also home to the Chocolate Museum. A chocolate store with fine works of Chocolate Art. Hand-made sculptures of animals, cars, dolls and Lenin, but also your very own chocolate chess set or chocolate 'Faberg?' egg. Other outlets of the Chocolate Museum can be found in the basement of the Stroganov Palace (Nevsky Prospekt 17) and at elite department store The Passage (48 Nevsky Prospekt), right across Gostiny Dvor.
Pick up on your Russian literature at Dom Knigi (28 Nevsky Prospekt), or enjoy their selection of specialized literature on art and travel.
St. Petersburg is also known for its many veshchevoi rynok or ?things? markets. Apraksin Dvor (Sadovaya Street 28-30) sells fur coats, Turkish leather jackets, 20? Russian-made underwear, Chinese-made plastic chess sets, and just about anything else at prices far below what shops charge you. A trip to covered Food market Kuznechny is an experience in itself.Here you'll be eating fresh fruit and spicy pickled cucumbers from the tips of knives, or wafers dipped in more types of honey than you knew existed. If you're planning to purchase be prepared to put your poker face on...the starting prices can be excessive.
After a day of shopping and sightseeing on and around Nevsky Prospect, relax and unwind at Caf? Vienna (Nevsky Prospect, 57), one of the most celebrated coffee and teahouses in St Petersburg inside the Corinthia Hotel. Next to a wide selection of blends and varieties, the cafe also offers sensational cakes, deserts and savory snacks.