WELCOME TO ST.PETERSBURG!
St.Petersburg is often called the Cultural Capital of Russia. Created to the design of world-famous architects, the landscapes of the city are unique and unforgettable. We invite visitors from all parts of the world to become familiar with priceless collections of The Hermitage, walk around the Summer Garden, travel to the town of fountains — Peterhof, visit former Tsar's residences in Pushkin and Pavlovsk. In evening, you may enjoy a ballet or opera in Mariinsky Theatre, classic music concert, or perfect jazz. At your service, there are over 100 restaurants cooking meals of any cuisine. Sport fans can watch many noteworthy events at our stadiums.
How to get around St.Petersburg?
You can use metro from 05:30 to 00:30. The stations can be easily found as they are marked with a large letter «M». To go underground you should pass the automated turnstiles operating with tokens («zhetony») which can be purchased from the small windows or booths. Besides, you can purchase a monthly or half-monthly passes from the same windows. St.Petersburg metro network is easy to use and orientate. There are only 5 lines which can be easily recognized on the metro scheme as they are numbered from 1 to 5 and are of different color. This is the most fast and convenient way to get around St.Petersburg.
TRAMS, TROLLEYS AND BUSES
All the round“ transport operates from around 5:30 in the morning to around midnight. We say «around» as it depends on the kind of transport you'd like to use and the part of the city you'd like to go to. The «ground» transport is the most slow, overcrowded and non-regular in St.Petersburg. The stops could be found by the crowd of people standing on the pavement and metal signs with letters «T» for trams and trolleys and «A» («avtobus» in Russian) for buses. If you do not buy a monthly pass which can be bought same way and in the same place as the metro passes, you should pay per ride and purchase a ticket («bilet») from the conductor (a person carrying a small leather bag and sometimes a red band on the sleeve).
T- OR K-BUSES
These are mini-vans and normal buses having the letter «T» or «K» on the number. They are commercial buses going along the certain route and making stops on request. Transport passes are not valid in this kind of public transport so you need to pay per a ride and give money to the driver directly. In most case you'll get no tickets («bilety») but it is not really relevant. To catch it you need to raise your hand standing alongside the street and the bus will stop in case there are vacant seats. When you want to go out, you simply ask the driver to stop in the desired place. Speak loudly and distinctly otherwise the driver might not stop as he simply will not hear or understand you. The fee per a ride varies from 10 to 20 rubles.
There is quite a lot of taxi companies offering their services for passengers. Most of taxi-cabs can be easily spotted as they have either a special plastic taxi sign on the top or are of orange color or both.
You can call the taxi over the phone. This is most convinient way. Here are phone numbers to call the taxi: 312 0022, 271 8888, 324 6464, 7771777, 068, 058. Usually, the taxi-company announce the price of your trip.
Sometimes, taxi-cabs have electronic devices which tell you the price, but you should be ready to negotiate the price with the driver when you catch the cab. Do not accept a ride in cabs that already have passengers.
Is St.Petersburg a safe city?
First of all you should remember that St.Petersburg, judging by the opinion of our former students, is much safer than most of the US and European big cities, but it is still a big city! You should be aware of your own personal safety and never let someone to watch your luggage and never accept any rides from the unknown people at the night time except for official taxi drivers.
St.Petersburg practically has no street crime, but anyway you should not walk at night being drunk along the side dark streets. You might the victim of the local youth gangs or the police units. The most often cases occur in Nevski Prospect or in the metro where you might suffer from the pickpockets. Unfortunately such cases are rather often and the police can hardly do anything to stop it.
The useful thing is to remember that you are in the country which is quite different from yours and have their own rules, traditions and regulations. Some things which you get used to in your native country might be absolutely unacceptable here. We advise you to try to learn more and to adapt to the Russian culture and customs. As this is the inseparable part of your study abroad experience. Respect and be respected.
What is the currency in Russia and should I bring cash, traveller's checks or credit cards?
The local currency is rubles. The exchange rate depends upon the rates of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the bank where you'd like to change money. All the banks of St.Petersburg offer their services for the cash advance transactions. The most popular credit cards to do it are Visa, MasterCard/Eurocard and American Express (commission is from 1 to 4%). With traveler’s checks we advise you to bring American Express as they are accepted practically everywhere (commission is from 1 to 5%). You can also get cash at the bank machines which can be found in different places. Be aware of the fact that plastic cards as the way of payment is not really widely spread in St.Petersburg. Plastic cards are accepted mainly by major hotels, restaurants and stores. Most of the shops in St.Petersburg accept only cash in rubles.
The three most popular for exchange foreign currencies are US$, EURO. They are accepted everywhere. But the bills should be new, not torn and have no inscriptions. Other currency is also accepted but at worse rates and not everywhere.
The amount of money you need depends on your own necessities and the way of life but keep in mind that St.Petersburg is not a cheap city. It’s the most expensive city in Russia after Moscow. You'll discover it after visiting various stores, restaurants and places of interest.
What should I bring with me?
First of all it depends upon the season you are going to spend in St.Petersburg. We kindly ask you to remember that there are generally three months of good weather in St.Petersburg: June, July and August. Good does not necessarily mean warm or hot. Good means that it’s not raining or snowing. So the most wanted thing in summer is the umbrella and warm quality clothes during other seasons. Do not forget the warm hat in winter and the raincoat in late spring, summer and early autumn.
Speaking about your everyday needs, we advise you to bring only the medicines you use if any. The other things might be easily found and bought here. St.Petersburg now is different from St.Petersburg of about 10 years ago and the choice of goods is practically the same you have in your own country. We also advise you to bring some small souvenirs traditional for your country as the possible presents for the new friends or teachers.
What’s the climate in St.Petersburg?
St.Petersburg is located in the North-Western part of Russia on the seashore of the Baltic Sea. The city was built on swamps which also find its reflection in the climate. The main characteristic features of the St.Petersburg climate are damp, rainy and windy. Its cold here in winter, warm and sometimes even hot in summer. The weather changes often and sometimes even several times a day. The temperature is about -10-15 C in winter and about +15-20 C in summer. But we should say that its rather risky to think that its really in this way for the whole duration of the season. The most charming period is «White Nights», when there is no night from the point of view of darkness. «White Nights» are taking place approximately from the middle of May till the middle of July.
The Petersburgers like to receive guests and are always eager in helping them to get to know more about the city attractions.
Our city assets have much interesting to offer, which makes us expect that you will remember the days spent in St.Petersburg, as well as the hospitality of its inhabitants, for long.
Welcome to the Herzen University!
Welcome to Saint-Petersburg!