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St. Petersburg’s 316th birthday. The phenomenon of the city

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It has taken St. Petersburg just a little over three centuries to go through such a number of historic events which other European cities have taken over ten centuries. London – 20 centuries. Paris – 23 centuries. And we only had 316 years. Only. That is five generations – and these have witnessed construction sites in the swamps, fires, floods, existence as a capital of one of the biggest Empires in the world. A revolution, which changed the entire course of history on the 20th century. The War and The Blockade – the biggest humanitarian tragedy. Repressions. All that squeezed into just over 3 hundred years. So many events that they can fill histories of entire countries. But St. Petersburg is part of the country, indeed. Part of Russia. And its fate has often been decided on the banks of Neva.

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Here, everything is rapid and fast. Here, everything symbolizes the eternal fight between light and dark, good and evil. And when we walk among the spectacular architectural masterpieces, admiring their harmony – we know that all this gloss and beauty was born through pain and suffering of thousands of slaves, brought in from all over Russia. Here, everything has a very fine margin – like the light during white nights. Here, its not always clear where is life and where is death, where is heroism and where is betrayal, where the water is and where the sky is, where the truth is in this city and where is myth and mystery.

The most non-accidental city on Earth. Which has not evolved gradually, century after century, epoch and epoch – like Moscow or Rome – but just popped out of nowhere at an instant. Amid the low banks of Finnish swamps – like the ancient Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, at a lifeless and vast space.

This is how the city was born – which today turns only 316 years old. And all this time people have been debating as to what exactly St. Petersburg is? What are its mysteries, phenomena, missions and designations? Pushkin and Dostoevsky debated that – and those debates still rage on. But we – those who live in this tight space between Neva and the sky – know one thing, without any doubt. St. Petersburg is us! This is our world which begins for us with every new day. Which looks so much like a white night!

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