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The White Nights

of St. Petersburg

The White Nights

of St. Petersburg

The White Nights can be safely called the unofficial symbol of St. Petersburg. Even if you have never been to the city on the Neva, you may have seen postcard views with bridges against the background of the sun that has not fully set. So why do the White Nights occur and where is the best place to observe the opening of bridges, QRM finds out.


Why do White Nights happen?

The White Nights are a twilight lasting all night long. At this time the sun is located not deeply behind the horizon which is why the total darkness does not come. Usually, the sun sinks under the horizon at sunset, and after it achieves 18 degrees under the horizon, a full astronomic night happens. But in the summer in some areas, it does not succeed to pass the twilight zone and starts to rise, which is a phenomenon called the White Nights.

The time and duration of White Nights depend on the geographical latitude. In general, they are common for the greatest territory of Russia but are not visible everywhere. Petersburg is the northernmost city in the world with a population of more than five million people. The bright light combined with statuary architecture makes the White Nights a really unique view here attracting crowds of tourists. It usually last for about three weeks in summer and are most lighted during the period from 11 June till 2 July.


During the White Nights different festivals and concerts are organised in the city. Click here to see the schedule for this season.

Best places to observe it:

The Winter Palace

Over the year, 12 bridges are regularly raised in St. Petersburg. Some of them are closed twice a night in this season. Among them is a legendary Palace Bridge, one of the main symbols of Petersburg. It connects the city centre with Vasilievsky island. The bridge is named after the nearby located Winter Palace where you can follow and shoot the view which is a well-known shot for postal cards and calendars.

The Bronze Horseman Monument

Another postcard view on the bridges might be seen from Peter’s the Great monument on the Senate Square. From here it is possible to follow the rise of the Palace and Blagoveshchenskiy Bridge which connect the Vasilievsky and Second Admiralteisky bridges. The second divides waters between the Neva River and the beginning of the Finnish gulf. Fence, headlights and Blagoveshchenskiy Bridge pavilions are considered to be an object of cultural heritage. In 1917, the famous Avrora cruiser made a shot from the quay next to the bridge, a shot signifying the start of the attack on the Winter Palace.

The Spit of Vasilievsky Island

The Vasilievsky island spit is one of the most famous architectural sets in St. Petersburg. It is a pleasure to walk here at any time and season, but during the White Nights, this place looks especially fascinating. From here opens a fascinating view of the Palace bridge and St. Isaac Cathedral. Farther you can see the Troitsky bridge which is one of the oldest bridges in Petersburg decorated with chandeliers, obelisks and other decorative elements.

Petrovskaya bank

Local citizens prefer to follow bridges raised from the Petrograd side from noisy streets and crowds of tourists. From Petrovskaya bank it is possible to see how Liteiniy bridge and one of the spans of Troitsky bridge are raised. The famous novel “What to do?” by Chernyshevsky action starts from a suicide scene on Liteiniy bridge, and a few years ago Voina (War) art group organized an art action here.

The Spit of Vasilievsky Island

The Vasilievsky island spit is one of the most famous architectural sets in St. Petersburg. It is a pleasure to walk here at any time and season, but during the White Nights, this place looks especially fascinating. From here opens a fascinating view of the Palace bridge and St. Isaac Cathedral. Farther down you can see the Troitsky Bridge which is one of the oldest bridges in Petersburg decorated with chandeliers, obelisks and other decorative elements.

Petrovskaya bank

Local citizens prefer to follow bridges raised from the Petrograd side from noisy streets and crowds of tourists. From the Petrovskaya bank, it is possible to see how the Liteiniy bridge and one of the spans of the Troitsky bridge are raised. The famous novel What To Do? by Chernyshevsky action starts from a suicide scene on Liteiniy bridge, and a few years ago Voina (War) art group organised an art action here.

Motor vessel broadside

An ideal way to see the rise of a few bridges at the same time is to go for a river tour. In Petersburg, there are many water excursions which usually last for a couple of hours. During this time, it is possible to follow Palace, Troitsky, Liteiniy and Birzhevoi bridges from a suitable angle. You can choose a boat trip by clicking here.

Rooftop 

An idea for those who like unusual impressions is to follow bridges raised from the buildings’ roofs in the city centre. From the height, it is possible to see a panorama of the night of Petersburg, while the guides will tell you the history of each bridge and share interesting facts. For more details about such excursions click here.

Motor vessel broadside

An ideal way to see the rise of a few bridges at the same time is to go for a river tour. In Petersburg, there are many water excursions which usually last for a couple of hours. During this time, it is possible to follow Palace, Troitsky, Liteiniy and Birzhevoi bridges from a suitable angle. You can choose a boat trip by clicking here.

Roof

An idea for those who like unusual impressions is to follow bridges raised from the buildings’ roofs in the city center. From the height it is possible to see a panorama of the night Petersburg, while the guides will tell you the history of each bridge and share interesting facts. For more details about such excursions click here.


PHOTOS: Polina Savinova / flickr.com/1800color

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