Most great cities are built by a river, or near the sea, and St. Petersburg is no exception. Interlaced across more than a hundred tributaries and canals of the Neva River delta, the granite embankments of St. Petersburg are home to some of the city’s finest sights.
Otherwise known as the Palace Embankment, Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya stretches from the Summer Garden to Palace Bridge, and more than half of the two dozen houses that you will find here are magnificent palaces, which is how the area acquired its name. The biggest attraction at the Palace Embankment is the Winter Palace, home to the Russian imperial family, as well as the world-famous Hermitage Museum. While each of the palaces and buildings here would have been originally built in the 18th century, they have been refurbished and renovated multiple times since then, making them look even more opulent and grand.
Located in the oldest area of St. Petersburg, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya, also known as University Embankment, is considered to be the most impressive architectural ensemble in the city. The majority of structures here date back to the 18th and 19th century, and there are a number of attractions worth visiting, from the Menshikov Palace to the Palace of Peter II to the Rumyanstev Garden. Being one of the city’s first embankments, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya had a huge impact on the architecture that followed it in subsequent years.
While the earliest structures at the Kronverk Embankment appeared in the 18th century, the embankment itself was not created until the 1970’s, making it a relatively new addition to the city. The popular Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps, which is one of the largest military museums in the country, can be found here, and showcases the role that the military has played in the history of Russia. With no residential homes along the Kronverkskaya Naberezhnaya, this stretch of the river is filled with people enjoying a leisurely stroll, with fantastic views of the Peter and Paul Fortress in the distance.
While some of the strips of embankment around St. Petersburg are quite narrow, the Resurrection Embankment features a 20-meter wide stretch of granite, making it one of the best spots in the city for a walk along the river, especially with the decorative pillars and monuments that are sprinkled throughout. An eclectic mix of sights can be found here, from the Coffee Museum, where you can sample rare varieties of coffee from all over the world, to the Monument to Victims of Political Repression. Situated just nearby to the Resurrection Embankment are the Tavrichesky Garden, Smolny Garden and an extravagant cathedral, making it easy to combine a visit to all.
There are numerous embankments to be found all over St. Petersburg, each one offering a distinctively unique experience. From the grand palaces of the Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya to the picturesque surroundings of the Kronverkskaya Naberezhnaya, visiting some of St. Petersburg’s many embankments is a great way to explore the heart and soul of the city.