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Open-air ball and a precious gift. St. Petersburg marked its birthday


This week St. Petersburg has become one year older. Dmitry Runkov on how the occasion was celebrated.


A shot from the Naryshkin cannon from the Petropavlovskaya Fortress - along with clock chimes - marked St. Petersburg’s birthday. Right on the place where the founding stone is situtated, the young Petr Alexeevich stood 312 years ago. Having declared that the city shall be found here, he saw an eagle in the skies - a sign that the emperor’s deed would be successful.

Major political figures of the country and St. Petersburg came for a bow to the monument of the city’s founder. «The Bronze Horseman» sunk in scarlett roses and carnations. At the Senatskaya Square, the youngest citizen of the city performed the Northern Capital’s anthem.

The tune was echoing at the Isaakievskaya Square. 3 thousand voices sang the most favorite songs for the entire city. There were no races for new records - the united choir of St. Petersburg made it into the Guiness Book of World Records during last year’s celebration of the city’s birthday.

Fountains started working in the Letniy Garden on this day. Characters of Dostoevsky’s novels came alive and went into the Malaya Sadovaya. And at the Ice Cream Festival residents of St. Petersburg were devouring cold gelatoes with no fear of falling ill.

In the variety of gifts to the city, the most visible and expensive one - worth almost 7 billion rubles - is the «Sportivnaya-2» metro station. The entrance to the violet line station is now open from both sides of the Malaya Nevka river. Passengers can traverse underwater using a special travelator.

Dmitriy Runkov, reporter: «This travalator is a unique feature fot the subway. It is essentially a moving underground bridge which connects the Petrogradskaya area and Vasilievskiy island. This pedistrian path has three lanes. You can cover the 300 meter distance very quickly».

Not a single subway system in the country can boast such a brave technical solution. Natives of St. Petersburg do remember, of course, the travelator in the old Pulkovo terminal. But this is history now, kept alive merely in Soviet movies.

This underground corridor will become practically the only passenger connection between the island and the mainland. Soon, «Vacileostrovskaya» and Tuchkov Bridge will close for renovations. Such strategic projects as «Sportivnaya-2», according to the governor, must be given to the city not only as birthday presents. The city and its residents deserve much more gratitude.

Georgiy Poltavchenko, governer: «We have a lot of work ahead. Many plans. And we have the money, so get ready for serious work. We need to build objects of such level not only for the city’s birthday, but a lot more often. I thank everybody for great work and congratulate you with the city’s birthday. Glory to St. Petersburg!

The convenience of «Sportivnaya-2» is something FC Zenit fans will enjoy soon - the team’s final home game of the season will be held at the Petrovskiy stadium on Saturday. They have celebrated winning the title together with the city’s birthday - by painting the Vasilievskiy island’s spit into blue and white. The main point of jubilation for the fans is the small, but very meaningful star. It will appear on the team’s unifrom next season - signifying that FC Zenit has won the country’s league title 5 times.

It may seem that decades ago the city’s birthday was marked in a much more modest way. Black-and-white photos conceal the incredible light decorations in the city. Dozens of Peter the Greats were walking down its streets. In the 1980s, real naval battles were reconstructed on Neva. A colourful carnival was held for the residents by the walls of the Petropavlovskaya Fortress.

Our channel, named after the city, could not have left St. Petersburg without a birthday present. This week we premiered a new show called «Project 2015». It is aimed at helping every viewer to orientate in the sea of information. The first show was dedicated to a question whether St. Petersburg needed a «higher mission». A heated live debate lasted for almost an hour trying to figure out whats more important for the city - current issues or strategic plans.

Celebrations of St. Petersburg’s birthday culminated in the very heart of the city - at Dvortsovaya Square. A genuine open-air ball. Repertoire befitting the Northern Capital - arias sung by the world’s best voices. St. Petersburg - a relatively young city in historic means - has flipped another page. And despite the superstitions, it started its 313th year in aniticipation of the good times.