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|Coat of Arms|
|District:||North West Russia|
|Population:||5,028,313 (2013 Census)|
|Population density:||3594 persons/km²|
|Dialing code:||+7 812|
|License plate:||78, 98, 178|
Saint Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg/Санкт-Петербург) is a Russian city in northwestern Russia near the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea. 4.9 million people (2010) live in St. Petersburg today, and it is the second biggest city in Russia. It connects with the rest of the world's shipping paths through the Baltic Sea.
Saint Petersburg and its surroundings are a World Heritage Site called The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.
Saint Petersburg was started by the Russian Tsar, Peter I as the capital of the Russian Empire in 1703, to take the place of the earlier capital, Moscow. It was the capital of Russia until 1918. Peter the Great established Saint Petersburg as a warm-weather port in order to show Russian dominance in the Baltic and to increase trading opportunities. Peter sought to modernize Russia, therefore he tried to make Saint Petersburg as different as possible from the former capital, Moscow, by modernizing the city.
Saint Petersburg has changed its name many times. During World War I, when Russia and Germany were fighting each other, Russians thought the name Sankt Peterburg sounded too German, so Tsar Nicholas II, on August 31 (August 18, Old Style), 1914 decided that the city was renamed Petrograd. At the time of the Russian revolution, the Soviet capital was moved to Moscow, still the capital of Russia now.
After the Soviet capital was moved to Moscow, on January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honor. During World War II, the city was surrounded by the German army for twenty-nine months.
Leningrad again took its old name of St. Petersburg on September 6, 1991, when Russia stopped being communist. In every-day Russian, the city is often called just "Piter". The name of the Oblast (administrative province) where the city is the capital is still called "Leningrad Oblast".
Saint Petersburg was a beautiful city planned by Peter I. There are many man-made rivers (or canals) in the city, so the city is sometimes called the Venice of the North. There are also beautiful buildings built by Russian emperors in other places of the city. Some of these buildings are the Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace.