Today's walk introduces one of the most mysterious Royal residences in St. Petersburg – the Mikhailovsky, or Michael Castle, and its surrounding neighbourhood. It's a castle like no other – it's the only fortress of its kind in the city. It bears the inimitable imprint of its creator's personality – Emperor Paul I, whom historians like to call "the last Romantic". The life of this most peculiar man was cut short here in the very castle he built to protect himself from exactly this kind of attack. Come with us on our walk, and we'll not only show you the history of this extraordinary building and its architectural features, but also tell you about the legends which connect this remarkable Tsar to his remarkable castle.
Beyond the castle itself, we'll go on to explore the neighbourhood around – our walk lies through a beautiful green area that formerly housed the Summer Gardens of Tsar Peter the Great. Not all of these gardens were built over – some were reclaimed as gardens, and others have always remained beautiful parks. So our walk today provides nourishment for mind and body alike!
Highlights of our excursion are St. Petersburg's only fully-fledged castle; a drawbridge that has no water; the smallest monument of all, and the first monument built to Tsar Peter the Great. But we'll also find out why Dostoevsky never became an engineer, and why Tchaikovsky failed to become a lawyer, where the St Petersburg Sahara Desert was located, what happened to the swans who disappeared from the Swan Canal, and what the true attributes of a knight should be!
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