This publication seeks to acquaint the reader not only with Petersburg, but its environs too. Surrounding the northern capital are a number of former imperial country estates, strung out like jewels on an exquisite necklace. These are Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Gatchina and Oranienbaum. Each has its own inimitable charm. Many of the palace and park ensembles came into being at the same time as Petersburg itself. Although all of these magnificent country residences reflect the aesthetic tastes of a variety of historical eras, each one is stamped with the personality of its imperial owners.
Not far from Petersburg, on the island of Kotlin in the Gulf of Finland, lies the city of Kronstadt. Until recently, it was strictly out of bounds for tourists. Today, however, it is linked to the mainland by a road running along the dam, and welcomes those who wish to enjoy the beauty and originality of its naval fortress and charming town.