Summer Garden (Letny Sad)
The Letny Sad is one of St. Petersburg’s oldest and finest gardens. Designed to provide Peter the Great with a leisurely stroll, visitors can easily imagine themselves in his shoes. Built along classical lines, the grounds are laid out according to a strict geometric plan. Yet, there’s nothing rigid or tense about the atmosphere.
Founded in 1704, it grew over the ensuing decades to encompass rare flowers, fountains, sculpture and lush greenery. Both locals and tourists alike can enjoy the outstanding brew from the Coffee House or Tea House, built in 1826 and 1827. While there, one can take in the view of marble statues or simply enjoy a day of the short St. Petersburg summer.
Nearby is the famed Summer Palace, a two-story stone palace built by one of the many Italian architects invited by Tsar Peter to create this city of culture. Just take the Metro to Gostiny Dvor station, then walk along Sadovaya Ulitsa to St. Michael’s Castle.
Established on the estate of the famed Potemkin, the Tauride garden was created from 1783-1789, with modest changes since then. The gardens were founded on land granted to the General by Catherine the Great as a reward for conquering the Crimean Peninsula.
Landscaped with numerous ponds and canals, the gardens were first opened to the public in 1866. Since then, locals and visitors alike have enjoyed ice skating, artist exhibitions and reveled in the sheer beauty of the area. Though damaged in WWII, the gardens were fully restored and looks much as it did throughout its history.
To reach Tauride Garden, take the Metro to Chernyshevskaya station and walk along Furshtatskaya Ulitsa to the end of the street.
Named for the nearby Michael Palace, also called the Russian Museum, this formal French garden is one of St. Petersburg’s finest attractions.
On the north-east corner of the grounds is a pavilion designed in the Empire Style. Alongside is the Tree of Freedom, a wooden sculpture carved from an old oak tree that is well worth a visit.
In the center, the landscaping is modeled after several English gardens and classical music concerts are often held there in the summer.
Reaching the Michael Garden is simple via the metro. Exit at the Gostiny Dvor station and walk along the Griboyedov Canal, alongside the Church of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood.