Saint Petersburg was founded 300 years ago today when Peter the Great laid the cornerstone of the Peter and Paul Fortress. The city was originally built as a sea-port but Peter also regarded it as a 'window on Europe' and the city quickly flourished into one of the cultural centres of Europe. Saint Petersburg was actually capital of Russia between 1710 and 1918 when the Bolsheviks came to power and Moscow became the capital once more.
The 300th anniversary of Saint Petersburg has raised the city's profile in recent months and there are hopes that international coverage of the anniversary celebrations will bring more European visitors to the city. Russian President Vladimir Putin is from Saint Petersburg himself and it has been suggested that some of the government ministries may return to what is still known as the 'northern capital.'
Many cultural and festive events have been organised in celebration of the city's anniversary. Foreign guests and heads of state have already arrived in the city and many have brought gifts to the city as a token of respect and friendship.