The Romance of Northern Europe (12): St. Petersburg

IMG_2183St. Petersburg is the world’s most northern city with a population of over 5 St. Isaac's Cathedralmillion. It is also Russia’s second largest and most western city. DSCN8953St. Petersburg was named for St. Peter, the Apostle of Christ, and  it’s filled withChurch of the Savior on Bloodfantastically ornate, colorful and unique churches and cathedrals. Peter and Paul Fortress The historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site IMG_1326 and hosts one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums,Neva River  The Hermitage (which I’ll write about in an upcoming post). DSCN8943 Tsar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703 at the intersection of the IMG_1715Neva River delta and the marshlands at the Eastern shore of the Baltic Sea in the IMG_2228Gulf of Finland. Tens of thousands of workers died building the intricate grid Trinity Bridgeof canals and (eventually) the 342 bridges that interconnect this beautiful city. IMG_2175St. Petersburg has earned such nicknames as “Venice of the North” Hydrofoil and  “The City of 101 Islands.” IMG_1914Personally, I would call her the Amsterdam of the North, IMG_1204since the canals are lined with colorful buildings IMG_2260 and alive with boats IMG_1522of every size and description. Western High Speed DiameterThere is the ultramodern “Western High Speed Diameter” for road vehicles, IMG_2215but I would say that—in St. Petersburg—ships rule! Unlike most cities, St. IMG_1401Petersburg has gone through a series of name changes that reflect the political IMG_2214upheaval of this great nation. During World War 1, Lenin changed the name to IMG_2223Petrograd, and after his death in 1924, the city was named Leningrad in his The Bronze Horseman (monument to Peter the Great)honor. It wasn’t until 67 years later when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 that DSCN8937St. Petersburg was again called by her first (and—to me—best) name. IMG_2190Do you know what your name means? Mine means “pure battle maiden,”  IMG_1222and I’ve tried to live up to that name, but over the course of my life, IMG_1711—in troubled times—someone might have called me something less. 😦 IMG_1517None of us are always consistently what we aspire to be, nor is life as idyllic as we IMG_2282wish it to be, but it is our “name” and aspirations that make us truly unique.IMG_1375No matter what your name is, or if  you’ve changed it several times or failed to IMG_2208live up to it, there is a “name above all names.” We don’t have to die for our God; IMG_1722He died for us! All He asks is that we repent of our sins, believe in Christ and trust Him to save us. He will help us grow in our ability to love and be kind.IMG_1718It’s true we’ll never be as flawless as we’d like to be, but God loves us anyway! IMG_1903“Jesus, name above all names
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.”

~Naida Hearn

“Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:13).