It is not necessary to wait for the New Year holidays to plan a walk along winter Petersburg. There are many reasons to visit the hospitable city in December. The December poster is rich in premieres and openings. Together with the Committee for the Development of Tourism of St. Petersburg, we compiled a selection of the most interesting events.
THEMATIC FESTIVALS AND NEW TOUR
The World of Gingerbread Festival will be held in the Historical Park “Russia – My History” from December 3 to 11. All kinds of this traditional Russian delicacy will be presented here: printed, cut, stucco, painted gingerbread, kozuli, black grouse, vitushki, gingerbread, gingerbread and even innovative gingerbread products. As part of the event, not only will they demonstrate equipment, gingerbread molds and boards, but they will also teach how to bake gingerbread during fun master classes.
While the St. Petersburg football club “Zenith” is on winter vacation, the “Gazprom Arena” will sound not the chants of the fans, but space movie hits. In December, the real “Cosmos” awaits the audience here – a grandiose laser-light performance on the scale of a sports arena of many thousands: more than 2,000 lighting devices, several levels of laser installations and other incredible technical innovations. The “Portal to Space” will open three times a week from December 7.
In winter, on the “Isle of Forts”. Photo: press service of the Island of Forts
At the end of the month, there will be another reason to go to Kronstadt: from December 25, the Museum and Historical Park “Island of Forts” will host the “Sea Winter Tale” festival. Lovers of beautiful photographs and original selfies will find unique photo zones and art objects, as well as panoramic views of the Gulf of Finland. So a walk in the park will become an exciting pre-New Year photo quest.
St. Petersburg weather is not a hindrance to excursions in the Mikhailovsky Garden, which the Russian Museum recently launched to acquaint citizens and guests with the history of the creation of one of the rarest monuments of landscape architecture of the 18th-19th centuries. Tours will be held every Saturday at 13:00 from November 19 to December 24 inclusive. Group gathering – at the entrance to the Mikhailovsky Garden, next to the Savior on Spilled Blood (entrance from the Griboyedov Canal).
Mikhailovsky Park in winter. Photo: Mikhailovsky Park
THEATER PERFORMANCES: FROM THE NUTCRACKER TO IVAN THE TERRIBLE
The winter repertoire of St. Petersburg theaters includes a wide range of performances – from popular classics to modern productions. At the Mikhailovsky Theater – Swan Lake, Cinderella, La Bayadère, Spartacus with the participation of Farukh Ruzimatov, Tosca, The Barber of Seville and Don Quixote.
“Spartacus” at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Mikhailovsky Theatre.
The legendary “Nutcracker” will go on throughout December at the Mariinsky. By the way, the ballet of the same name is also on the posters of the Alexandrinsky and Mikhailovsky theatres, the New Year's tree “The Nutcracker” will be held in the Sheremetev Palace, and a performance based on Hoffmann's most famous fairy tale will be shown at the Bolshoi Puppet Theater.
There will also be premieres. Thus, on December 1, 2 and 4, the Theater of Musical Comedy will present Frank Wildhorn's musical “Peter I” on its stage. This is the first Russian-American musical dedicated to the life of Peter the Great. The production, conceived several years ago, is dedicated to the 350th anniversary of the birth of the first Russian emperor.
American composer Frank Wildhorn and famous Russian playwright Konstantin Rubinsky trace the life of Peter I from the age of 10, when he became tsar, to the founding of St. Petersburg. As the authors of the musical say, this is a kind of legend about Peter, who sought to “look beyond the horizon” in everything.
On December 17 and 18, the St. Petersburg Opera Theater will present the premiere of Georges Bizet’s opera Ivan the Terrible in full stage version. At the mention of this French composer, the opera Carmen is most often recalled. But there is also a “Russian theme” in Bizet's work.
Playbill for the play “Ivan the Terrible”. Photo: St. Petersburg Opera Theater
The opera “Ivan the Terrible” was written by the composer between 1862 and 1864. The plot is based on a real historical event – the marriage of the first king of all Rus' to a Circassian princess. But unlike the usual canons, in Bizet's opera, Ivan the Terrible is not a suspicious old man, but a young and loving tsar. Therefore, the musical history promises to be romantic. Add to this complex music, luxurious costumes and colorful images of those times – and you get one of the loudest performances of the winter season.
The State Circus on the Fontanka will show its Christmas story at the end of December. The play “Make a Wish”, which tells about the fun adventures of three tramp boys, will be filled with light and circus miracles. The princess will walk along a thin celestial thread, acrobats on flip boards will make real fireworks, bears will dance with Santa Claus, and angry jugglers will fight the forces of light.
PETER THE GREAT COSTUMES AND BOXES WITH A SECRET
< p> In December in St. Petersburg a set of interesting exhibitions. In the Peter and Paul Fortress, a wonderful exposition “Immersion in the era of Peter the Great” was opened, which presents authentic household items, trade and military crafts of the late 17th – early 18th centuries.
These artifacts spent 300 years at the bottom of the Gulf of Finland and were raised by specialists from the Underwater Research Center of the Russian Geographical Society during many years of scientific expeditions. Most of the presented items are unique and have no analogues in museum collections not only in our country, but also in the world.
Hermitage depository. Photo: ATOR
In mid-December, the Costume Gallery will open at the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center after a re-exposition. It is worth coming here to see the “Wardrobe of Peter I” – one of the best collections of men's costume in the world of the late 17th – early 18th centuries. The collection contains more than 300 items of clothing and accessories: from Petr Alekseevich's children's shirt to his last formal suit.
The Hermitage itself will delight its fans. The Blue Bedroom of the Winter Palace is hosting a unique exhibition “A Thing with a Secret. Jewelry Art of the 16th-21st Centuries”, which presents 120 pieces of jewelry with various ingenious secrets and hidden meanings: pipes, canes, watches, snuff boxes, rings, and more.
Cane head with spyglass. Tortoise shell, gold; chasing, punching, inlay. Paris, 1720s–1730s Photo: hermitagemuseum.org
The masterpiece of the collection is a silver watch with a secret, created by Ivan Kulibin for Catherine II. The shape of the watch resembles a goose egg and consists of 427 tiny details.
The ceremonial Petersburg of the 18th century will appear in all its glory in the works of Mikhail Makhaev, the greatest master of landscape drawing of that time. The Russian Museum has opened an exhibition dedicated to his work: drawings, engravings and paintings, embodying the image of a perfect city founded by Peter I and rebuilt in all its splendor by his sovereign daughter Elizabeth.
Fans of applied art should visit the Marble Palace, where before the end of the New Year holidays there is an exhibition “Armchair, chair, stool in Russian art of the 18th-20th centuries”, which introduces the furniture collection of the Russian Museum, little known to the general public: from benches and chests to chairs and armchairs contemporary designers, from images of this furniture to portraits of people sitting on it.
A. Ostroumova-Lebedev. Interior with a dog. 1917. State Russian Museum. Photo provided by the press service of the Russian Museum
The Central Exhibition Hall “Manezh” extended until January 8 the exhibition “Mirror. Russian provincial portrait of the 18th–19th centuries. A large-scale exhibition project that brings together more than 100 works by Russian artists from the collections of 17 Russian museums, shows portraits of provincial residents of past centuries – representatives of different classes.
Amazing, somewhat naive, sometimes even funny for a modern viewer, these portraits tell amazing stories of their characters. In order not to miss anything, it is better to take an audio guide or join a tour.
At the exhibition “Mirror. Russian provincial portrait of the 18th–19th centuries. Photo: courtesy of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg
IN PUBLIC SPACES – RINKS, ROMANCE AND NEW YEAR'S ATMOSPHERE
Popular urban public spaces in December will delight residents and guests of the city with new winter interiors and seasonal events.
Sevkabel Port has already opened the traditional Skating Rink by the Sea on its territory: 8 hour sessions a day, rent and sharpening skates, and most importantly – a romantic view of the bay and the Cable-stayed bridge. Next to the ice rink for visitors, ruddy from the cold and hungry after skiing, there are food trucks with food and warming drinks.
Skating rink on the Sevkabel port. Photo: press service of the Sevkabel port.
In New Holland, an open-air skating rink will be waiting for guests from November 26th. The wooden stage, billboards and posters will be decorated in a retro-futuristic style. Visitors will be greeted by the already familiar porcelain figurine of a figure skater. In the evenings from 20:00 to 21:00, they promise to skate to special music selections: symphonic hits from big movies, romantic songs from the Soviet stage, fabulous hymns by classical composers, rollerdrome music, and others.
Saint Petersburg in December Photo: Sergey Bogomyako
The “Arctic season” begins in Nikolskiye Ryady. In the central part there will be a family of polar bears: a mother bear and her curious cubs. This cute “bear photo zone” will attract kids and adults alike. There will definitely be a six-meter spruce, Nikolskaya Gorka and a fabulous carousel, as well as a food court with an arctic and northern menu of special dishes and warming drinks.
All December weekends (17–18 and 24–25 December), as well as every holiday (from December 31 to January 8), Santa Claus will meet guests in the Nikolsky Rows!
For the New Year's atmosphere, gifts and books you can go to St. Petersburg book spaces. The famous House of Books has reopened on Nevsky Prospekt. Now, on each floor of the legendary store, there are areas for reading and relaxing for guests, and a cafe has returned to its traditional place, where everyone can also have a cup of coffee and admire the beautiful view of the main street of the Northern capital.
The famous “Subscription Editions” store in St. Petersburg. Photo: ATOR
You can also find your own Christmas tree, New Year's souvenirs and postcards in the historical bookstore “Subscribed editions”. It is bookishly cozy here: large shelves with books, high ceilings and massive stairs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and warm buns. We are sure that in this place everyone will want to “pause” everything, take coffee, cocoa or a glass of wine, choose a new book and sit by the window overlooking Liteiny.
Learn more about tourist traditions, attractions, routes and cultural events in St. Petersburg can be found on the official city tourism portal Visit-Petersburg.ru, on its official VKontakte page and Telegram channel.