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Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments

Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments

The 'Venice of the North', with its numerous canals and more than 400 bridges, is the result of a vast urban project begun in 1703 under Peter the Great. Later known as Leningrad (in the former USSR), the city is closely associated with the October Revolution. Its architectural heritage reconciles the very different Baroque and pure neoclassical styles, as can be seen in the Admiralty, the Winter Palace, the Marble Palace and the Hermitage.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Centre historique de Saint-Pétersbourg et ensembles monumentaux annexes

La « Venise du Nord », avec ses nombreux canaux et plus de 400 ponts, est avant tout le résultat d'un vaste projet d'urbanisme commencé en 1703 sous Pierre le Grand. Connue plus tard sous le nom de Leningrad (en ex-URSS), elle reste étroitement associée à la révolution d'Octobre. Son patrimoine architectural concilie dans ses édifices les styles opposés du baroque et du pur néoclassicisme comme on le voit dans l'Amirauté, le palais d'Hiver, le palais de Marbre et l'Ermitage.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

وسط سانت بطرسبرغ التاريخي ومجمّعات فنيّة ملحقة بها

هي بندقيّة الشمال بقنواتها العديدة وجسورها التي يتعدّى عددها الأربعمائة وقد بُنيت عملاً بمشروع تنظيم عمراني واسع بدأ عام 1703 بقيادة بطرس الأكبر. وعُرفت لاحقاً باسم لينينغراد (في الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق)، ظلّت مرتبطةً ارتبطاً وثيقاً بثورة أكتوبر. ويجمع تراثها الهندسي في أبنيتها بين الطراز الباروكي والنيوكلاسيكي  كما يتجلّى في مقر الأميرالية وقصر الشتاء الرخامي ودير النساك.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Исторический центр Санкт-Петербурга и связанные с ним группы памятников

«Северная Венеция», с ее множеством каналов и более чем 400 мостами, – это результат величайшего градостроительного проекта, начатого в 1703 г. при Петре Великом. Город оказался тесно связанным с Октябрьской революцией 1917 г., и в 1924-1991 гг. он носил имя Ленинград. В его архитектурном наследии сочетаются столь различные стили как барокко и классицизм, что можно видеть на примере Адмиралтейства, Зимнего дворца, Мраморного дворца и Эрмитажа.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Centro histórico de San Petersburgo y conjuntos monumentales anejos

Llamada la “Venecia del Norte” por sus numerosos canales y más de 400 puentes, la ciudad San Petersburgo es fruto del vasto proyecto urbanístico iniciado en 1703 por Pedro el Grande. Bautizada con el nombre de Leningrado en tiempos de la Unión Soviética, la ciudad estuvo estrechamente asociada a la Revolución de Octubre. En su patrimonio arquitectónico se armonizan los estilos opuestos del barroco y el neoclasicismo, tal como se puede apreciar en el Almirantazgo, el Palacio de Invierno, el Palacio de Mármol y el Ermitage.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Sint-Petersburg en gerelateerde groepen van monumenten

Het historisch centrum van Sint-Petersburg wordt wel het ‘Venetië van het Noorden’ genoemd. Het is met zijn vele kanalen en meer dan 400 bruggen het resultaat van een groot stedelijk project dat in 1703 onder het regime van Peter de Grote werd opgestart. De stad heette Leningrad in de voormalige Sovjet-Unie en is nauw verbonden met de Oktoberrevolutie. Het architecturale erfgoed verenigt de zeer verschillende barokstijl en de zuivere neoklassieke stijl, zoals te zien is in de Admiraliteit, het Winterpaleis en de Hermitage. In het historisch centrum komt een gevoel van tijdloze grandeur tot leven.

Source: unesco.nl

Outstanding Universal Value
Brief synthesis

The unique urban landscape of the port and capital city of Saint Petersburg, rising out of the Neva estuary where it meets the Gulf of Finland, was the greatest urban creation of the 18th century.

Saint Petersburg was built at the beginning of the 18th century in an astonishingly short period of time, according to an orderly plan based on many of Peter the Great's own ideas. The city was constructed under difficult conditions on lowlands unprotected from floodwaters, and in the face of severe shortages of materials and workers.

Within the first decades of its history, Saint Petersburg became a grandiose agglomeration consisting of the historical city core surrounded by ceremonial country residences, an advanced fortification system, estates and dachas, settlements and small towns linked by radial routes. It occupied the shore on both sides of the Gulf of Finland as well as the Kronstadt fortress-town on Kotlin Island, while moving up the Neva towards its source in Sсhlisselburg. This Russian-European city, surrounded by suburban ensembles, became a socio-cultural phenomenon with an incomparable historic urban landscape, characterized by an absolute hierarchy of structures.

A network of canals, streets and quays was built gradually, beginning in the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725). The Nevski perspective did not become the city's major east-west axis until 1738. Similarly, under the Empresses Anna Ioannovna (1730-1740), Elisabeth Petrovna (1741-1762) and Catherine II the Great (1762- 1796), the urban landscape of Saint Petersburg took on the monumental splendour that assured the world-renowned of the "Venice of the North". An array of foreign architects (Rastrelli, Rinaldi, Quarenghi, Cameron and Vallin de la Mothe) rivaled one another with audaciousness and splendour in the capital's huge palaces and convents and in imperial and princely suburban residences, amongst which one numbers Peterhof (Petrodvorets), Lomonosov, Tsarskoуe Selo (Pushkin), Pavlovsk and Gatchina.

The greatness of Russia's northern capital, with its horizontal silhouette coupled with vertical landmarks and its ensembles of embankments and squares, lies in the heart of the city's “imperial” spirit, its genius loci. The main feature and attraction of Saint Petersburg's historical centre is characterized by a perfect harmony of architecture and waterscapes.

The full-flowing Neva bequeathed the city an exceptional spatial scale and wealth of spectacle. It became its main square and chief thoroughfare.

The Neva water spaces were natural extensions of the system of city squares. The regularly-spaced network of streets superimposed on this natural background endowed the city with an artistic contrast and perceptual richness. With its “view of stern and grace”, Saint Petersburg required a unified construction as an ensemble with Teutonic unity, qualities which emerged simultaneously with its birth.

The city fabric is richly woven through with ensembles. These assemblages, linking one to another, create a complex multi-layered system where not one element exists alone or is isolated from its environment. The overarching value of all of the components in this system stems from their incorporation into a harmonious whole.

It is precisely because of this that Saint Petersburg undoubtedly remains the only grand project in the history of urban planning to preserve its logical integrity despite rapid changes in architectural styles.

In modern times, the city bore witness to and participated in the majestic and tragic events of the 1917 February and October Revolutions and the heroic blockade of 1941-1944, in which some million human lives were lost. Having survived the unprecedented trials of the 20th century, the city continues to be a symbol and base of Russian culture for new times and one of its centres of science, culture and education tied eternally to the personalities and creative works of Outstanding Universal Value.

Criterion (i): In the field of urban design, Saint Petersburg represents a unique artistic achievement in the ambition of the program, the coherency of the plan and the speed of execution. From 1703 to 1725, Peter the Great lifted from a landscape of marshes, peat bogs and rocks, architectural styles in stone and marble for a capital, Saint Petersburg, which he wished to be the most beautiful city in all of Europe.

Criterion (ii): The ensembles designed in Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area by Rastrelli, Vallin de la Mothe, Cameron, Rinaldi, Zakharov, Voronikhine, Rossi, Montferrand and others, exerted great influence on the development of architecture and monumental arts in Russia and Finland in the 18th and 19th centuries. The normative value of the capital was increased from the beginning by the establishment of the Academy of Sciences, followed by that of the Academy of Fine Arts. The urban model of Saint Petersburg, which was completed under Catherine II, Alexander I and Nicholas I, was used during the reconstruction of Moscow following the fire of 1812, and for new cities, such as Odessa or Sebastopol, in the southern part of the Empire.

Criterion (iv): The nominated cultural property links outstanding examples of baroque imperial residences with the architectural ensemble of Saint Petersburg, which is the baroque and neoclassical capital par excellence. The palaces of Peterhof (Petrodvorets) and Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), which were restored following destruction during the Second World War, are some of the most significant constructions.

Criterion (vi): Saint Petersburg was twice directly and tangibly associated with events of universal significance. From 1703 to 1725, the construction of Saint Petersburg (recalled by the equestrian statue of Peter the Great by Falconet, located in Senatskaya Square) symbolizes the opening of Russia to the western world and the emergence of the empire of the Tsars on the international scene. The Bolshevik Revolution triumphed in Petrograd in 1917 (the city had been renamed in 1914). The Aurora cruiser and the town house of Mathilde Kchesinskaia, later the museum of the Great Socialist Revolution of October, are, in the heart of Leningrad, symbols of the formation of the U.S.S.R.


The Saint Petersburg metropolitan area as a whole, and its historic centre in particular, have preserved their integrity. This has to do with the fact that the development of the historical centre practically ceased in 1913, and in 1918 the capital was moved to Moscow. As a result, new construction projects and the growth of industrial zones occurred outside the limits of the historic centre.

Its integrity is ensured through the preservation of its planned layout, silhouette and opportunities for an unobstructed view, but high buildings and inappropriate development around the property have been an issue. The property also suffers from the impacts of traffic, air pollution and relative humidity.


The site has preserved the authenticity of its chief components. The initial city layout and a large portion of the original structures in Saint Petersburg's historic centre are testament to its Outstanding Universal Value.

The high quality of restoration and reconstruction efforts, accomplished on the basis of historical documents and using authentic techniques and materials, along with the work being done to restore the monuments and palace-parks of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs, are part of a strategy to preserve the integrity of the cultural landscape of the entire metropolitan area.

Protection and management requirements

Since the moment of its inscription on the World Heritage List, the site was protected in accordance with USSR and RSFSR law: 19 October 1976 No. 4962-IX “On the preservation and use of historical and cultural monuments” (USSR), and 15 December 1978 “On the preservation and use of historical and cultural monuments” (RSFSR). Protected zones and their regimes were approved by the Leningrad City Council Executive Committee decision No.1045, dated 30 December 1988, “On the approval of borders unifying the historical and cultural monuments of the protected zone in Leningrad's central rayon”. In 1987, a master plan for the development of Leningrad and the Leningrad oblast for the period extending through 2005 was worked out by the main architectural-planning directorate of the Leningrad City Council and approved by the leadership of the USSR.

In recent years, legislation has been expanded in the sphere of protection of cultural heritage and urban development. The following laws were passed and amended between 2002 and 2014: “On the cultural heritage (historical and cultural) of the Russian Federation” (2002, 2014), The town planning code of the Russian Federation (2004, 2014), “On the master plan of Saint Petersburg” (2005, 2013), Leningrad oblast and Saint Petersburg regional laws protecting cultural heritage (2006, 2012; 2007, 2014), the law passed by the city of Saint Petersburg “On the boundaries of zones of protection of cultural heritage in the territory of Saint Petersburg and the modes of land use within the boundaries of such zones and on amendments into the law of Saint Petersburg”, and "On the master plan of Saint Petersburg and the boundaries of zones of protection of cultural heritage within the territory of Saint Petersburg" (2008, 2014), the law “On the rules of land use and development of Saint Petersburg” (2009, 2010). All of the above documents regulate urban development and land use within the boundaries of the World Heritage property. For the purposes of ensuring the appropriate protection both of property components and their integrated value as the Historic Urban Landscape, the legal protection status, the system of protection zones and land-use regimes are being improved. A buffer zone will protect the low skyline and ensure the inviolability of panoramas and compositionally complete views in the historic centre while taking into consideration the sensitivity of this zone to the imposition of high rise buildings.

Each year, funding is appropriated for major repair and restoration work on historical and cultural monuments.

Management and monitoring of the condition of monuments of cultural heritage in the historic centre of Saint Petersburg, and those located within the administrative boundaries of the Leningrad oblast, is the joint responsibility of the federal and regional authorities. Measures are being taken to improve coordination between them.

The preparation and development of a site management plan and the establishment of a uniform system of management for the site is underway. In October 2014 an agreement on cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Culture, the Government of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Government. The Coordination Council for the conservation, management and promotion of the World Heritage property was established, one of its tasks being to contribute to the development and implementation of a management plan.