The former capital of the Russian Empire, today Saint Petersburg still offers the glamour of days past. Set among the best developed cities in all Russia, it is a powerful cultural center and is often thought to exhibit the most visible Western influences. There are many things to do and places to go in Saint Petersburg.The Russian Museum, opened its gates for the first time in 1898 and is a showcase of Neo-Classical architecture. It became a public museum, because of the wish of one Russian ruler, Tsar Alexander III, but the dream actually came true under the tsar’s heir, Tsar Nicholas II. The art collection housed here is quite impressive, and other museums around the world often borrow special collections for exhibitions.The Mariinskiy Theatre, also known by its Soviet name, The Kirov, was built by famous architect Albert Kavos. While famous its regular ballet shows by the theater’s personal ballet company, Mariinskiy Theatre is also considered a prominent opera house in Russia. Be aware that you will be expected to dress in formal wear when attending a show at the theater.When you want to go shopping on the streets of Saint Petersburg, make sure to check out the Nevsky Prospekt. This area offers stores, boutiques, and kiosks that are all excellent experiences. Outside of shopping, there is plenty more to see here with museums, fine restaurants, a concert hall, the National Library, and a beautiful palace waiting for visitors to explore. The place is also filled with history. If you want to sip coffee in the same place where the famous poet Alexander Pushkin challenged the man he thought to be his wife’s lover to a duel you can simply by stopping in at the Literary Cafe.Founded by Baron Aleksandr Stieglitz, the Stieglitz Museum is another great place to visit, as it offers an amazing collection of glassware and majolica. Many people enjoy the collection of dolls that are outfitted in Russian costumes dating back to the 17th century through the 19th century. Decorative metalwork pieces dated back to the Middle Ages are also on full display in this museum.Saint Petersburg is also famous for its cathedrals, and out of which the most renown is the Kazan Cathedral. Its fame is closely related to that of its commissioner, Tsar Paul I, and is believed to be a holy place where miracles do occur. During the Soviet rule, the cathedral lost its religious intent, but things have changed over the past decade, and now people can come here to visit one of the most beautiful churches in all of Russia.Of course, no visit to Saint Petersburg would be complete without seeing the Hermitage. Do not think of this location as of a simple museum, as it is much more than that. There are many buildings and architectures included in the massive complex, including the large Alexander Column that commemorates Russia’s victory over Napoleon. It rises 156-feet high in the center of Palace Square. There are about three million pieces of art on display, which makes Hermitage the home of the most impressive art collection in the world. Saint Petersburg is a great city in many ways. If you ever plan to visit it make sure to have plenty of time on your hands, as it can take weeks just to see a small part of what it has to offer.