The Saint-Petersburg's history begins at the banks of the Neva river. In the beginning of the XVIII century Russia was engaged into the Northern war against Sweden (1700-1721), and critically needed a base point at the Baltic sea. In the 1703 tzar Peter I founded a fortress on Neva river, and named it Saint-Petersburg in honour of apostle Paul- Heaven's keyholder and tzar's celestial protector. The city started to grow around the fortress, and took its name; the fortress itself has got the name "Petropavlovskaya" (Peter and Paul's fortress).
The 16 of May, 1703 is known as Saint-Petersburg's foundation date.
The first ten years Saint-Petersburg has been developed as a key fortress at the Baltic, a trade seaport, Baltic fleet naval base, but the flourishing trade turned it into economical, industrial, and artisan center. On May, 25, 1713, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra was founded, turning Saint-Petersburg into religious Russia's center.
In 1710 Russia's capital moved from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg.
From the very beginning, Peter I intended to build a "regular" european capital like Amsterdam or Venice (there is a plenty of rivers and channels in Saint-Petersburg). Every single thing was made based on a european template. Regarding to Versailles of Paris, Peter decided to create a luxurious country residence with marvellous fountains, palaces, and parks. So, the construction of Peterhof began at the bank of the Gulf of Finland in 1714. Peterhof was stately opened in 1723 in honour of the victory in Northern war.
In the short time of Peter II's reign (1727-1730) capital moved back to Moscow, but later, in 1730, Anna Ivanovna returned Saint-Petersburg its capital state.
The reign of Catherine II (1762-1796) came to be a real Golden Age of the Russian Empire and its young capital. Culture and art were flourishing. Such masterpieces of architecture as the Winter Palace and the Admiralitywere built; the granite embankments of Neva, Fontanka, Moika, and other rivers were constructed; and of course, Catherine raised a monument in honour of Peter the Great, Saint-Petersburg's founder - the Bronze Horseman.
Russia's victory over Napoleon in 1812 found its reflection in a new city construction boost. Mikhailovskiy palace, Alexandrinskiy theatre, the governemental Senate and Sinode buildings, the General Staff Building and other state department buildings at the Palace square.The Palace Square architectural ensemble was completed by constructing the Alexander Column. Also, St.-Isaac Cathedral's construction started; it lasted 40 years.
In the ages of Nikolay I's reign (1825-1855) the industrial sector develops fastly; Saint-Petersburg becomes country's industrial center.
By the beginning of the XX century Saint-Petersburg became a brilliant european capital. Its industry produced everything Empire ever needed. The infrastructure was developing fastly: dozens of bridges connected multiple city islands, road network had grown to a very large size, railroad connections to far Empire regions and european countries were established. First tramways started to carry passengers in 1907. These times are known as a Silver Age of Russia.
In the beginning of the First World War Saint-Petersburg was renamed to Petrograd because of the anti-german nationalistic moods. The war was not going very well for Russia; bad harvest, awful economical, nationalistic, and social situation lead country to revolution, which ended the Russian Empire times. Country was reformed into the Soviet Union, and capital was returned to Moscow. In 1924 Petrograd was renamed intoLeningrad after the name of Vladimir Lenin, revolution's leader.
The Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) came to be a real nightmare of Leningrad. City endured a heavy 900-days blockade of the german armies (1941-1944). Cold, fire, hunger, and bombers killed about 1 million citizens. But, seriously damaged by german aircrafts, city survived, not being ever occupied by the enemy. It was fully restored by the 1960.
In 1991, after the fall of the USSR, the historical name of the city was restored. Today Saint-Petersburg is known as a Northern Capital of Russia, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.