Happy Birthday, Saint Petersburg!
С праздником нашего города!
May is a very special month for me as it is the month, when the City of Saint Petersburg was born in the year of 1703. It is hard to believe, really, that it has already been three hundred and sixteen years since Peter I (the Great) founded this majestic city on the banks of the Neva River, spanning the river’s entire delta. One of the greatest Russian tsars, Peter I had a grand vision of Russia, the vision that placed the country firmly in the European world. Until then, though geographically European, Russia was really an Asian country, both in its tastes, and in its customs. Peter’s monumental dream of a truly European Russia required magnificent changes in absolutely every facet of the country’s life, including changing its capital. And so, Peter went to work…in the Netherlands.
There is a famous saying in Russia, regarding the significance of the building of the City of Saint Petersburg for the future of the whole country, saying, which has by now been used and overused for centuries: Peter I cut the window into Europe. But that was definitely true, as the northern port city of this magnitude allowed to dramatically increase trade with Europe, while also protecting the country’s north. What ensued after could not be described as anything, but a huge building boom in the city, undertaken with the direction from some of the most prominent European architects of that time. When this building of buildings was over, the world witnessed the coming of age of another great European capital, showcasing an army of grand buildings and palaces, European down to the last speck of sand in their mortar.
Saint Petersburg’s birthday is a great occasion for everyone to celebrate and honor the city’s beautiful palaces, bridges, and canals that together define and stand as a testament to the notion that European way is the only correct and efficient way for any country to live, as everything else is as backward, as backward can be. Ancient history is really meaningless in the grandiose amalgamation of every aspect of our civilization, blocking the path to living life happily and only looking forward.