St Petersburg – Russia 6

Against all the odds, the city was transformed and unlike many other cities, Leningrad was not modernized, but restored to its pre-war Imperial glory.

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The palaces of Peterhof and Pushkin had been almost completely destroyed during the siege and millions of rubles went into their restoration.

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Some of the city’s great palaces still await restoration, but the museums reopened swiftly after the war and were quickly restored. You can still see a carefully preserved blue Bombardment Warning sign, painted on the side of a building on Nevsky Prospekt, and, of course, the green mounds of the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery mass graves still remind visitors of the tragic past of the city.

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Though the 1970’s and 1980’s did not include political freedom, most of the city’s population began to enjoy a relative prosperity.

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Perestroika’s reforms brought a confused, unstable situation with economic problems as the government sorted out the reforms.

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In 1991, after a city-wide referendum, the city of Leningrad returned to its original name: St. Petersburg.

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Now, in the new millennium, St. Petersburg is again changing, both economically and socially. The city’s industries have not really come back but services and retail sales are gradually improving as foreign businesses are being attracted to the city’s new business climate.

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St. Petersburg is becoming a modern, rapidly growing commercial city.

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St. Petersburg’s younger people are rolling with the economic changes, but unemployment is still high with some families and pensioners still struggling to make ends meet.

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The city’s bid for the 2004 Olympic Games did not pan out, but the people of St. Petersburg still look with optimism to the future and welcome guests to the city and its booming tourist industry.

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St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The treasures hidden during the war have been restored like the four horsemen statues and just to walk around the city is to see many wonders of architecture and beauty.

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