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Tour Programme

St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, is one of the world’s finest cities. Founded in the estuary of the Neva, on the Baltic Sea coast, in 1703, St. Petersburg — the new capital of the Russian Empire — became something of a window on the rest of the world for Russia and, conversely, a window on Russia for the rest of the world.

To all intents and purposes, the architectural look of St. Petersburg and its environs has not changed much since the 19th or even 18th centuries. St. Petersburg is now a matchless showcase of European architectural styles from the past three centuries. There are thousands of remarkable architectural landmarks in the city and its suburbs, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. St. Petersburg, the former capital of Russia, is proud of its numerous theatres and museums, particularly the State Hermitage Museum, one of the largest museums in the world with over three million artworks and historical artefacts. It would take at least 13 years to view them all. Built on the many islands of the Neva estuary, St. Petersburg has 48 rivers and manmade canals, 160 kilometres of embankments, and 800 bridges.

Do not miss the opportunity to explore St. Petersburg up close during the days of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum!

Tour included in the delegate package

To apply for the tour please forward the request via Personal Office menu “Tour included in the Delegate Package”. The deadline for applications is May 10th, 2018.

Venice of the North: A Boat Tour of St. Petersburg’s Rivers and Canals


Date: May, 16th 2018, 20:00-22:00

Duration: 2 hours

St. Petersburg has really earned its poetic appellation, Venice of the North. Standing on a scatter of islands, the city is crossed by dozens of rivers and canals, lined by gorgeous embankments with fancy openwork railings. The banks of the rivers and canals are spanned by hundreds of bridges, ranging from huge steel structures with draw-spans in the middle to elegant suspended wooden foot-bridges. The buildings facing the river embankments are truly majestic, and you get the best viewing angle from the water.

We invite you to join us for a boat tour of St. Petersburg on the evening of May, 16th 2018.

19:30 — boarding of the shuttles outside the SPBILF official hotels

20:00-22:00 — boat tour of St. Petersburg’s rivers and canals

20:00 — shuttle ride back from the boat landing to the SPBILF official hotels

Please note that the boats will sail strictly on schedule, without any delays, so please be there on time.

Price: this tour is included in SPBILF 2018 Delegate Package and SPBILF 2018 Accompanying Person Package

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov “Not Everyone Will Be Taken into the Future”


Date: May, 16th — 18th

Open hours: 11:00 — 17:00

Location: 2nd floor, The General Staff Building, The State Hermitage Museum

For more information please ask volunteers at the Info Desk.

The art of Ilya Kabakov, the artist whose international fame surpasses that of any other modern artist of Russian origin, will go on display in the central suite of The State Hermitage’s General Staff Building at the end of April 2018. Kabakov’s works also happen to be valued higher internationally than any other Russian modern art. Kabakov, who had started out as a children’s book illustrator, went on to become a conceptual art trailblazer in Moscow. Kabakov’s art installations and other grand-scale projects have been proudly showcased by all the major art museums around the world, from the Pompidou Centre in Paris to MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The show, which is coming to the Hermitage from London’s Tate Gallery, combines Kabakov’s early works and some of his most highly acclaimed art objects, such as The Red Wagon, domiciled in The Hermitage. Visitors can step inside The Red Wagon.

We invite you to visit the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov art exhibition. Providing an opportunity to appreciate the art and the museum’s work from inside, this exhibition will equally benefit discerning connoisseurs of modern art and those who treat it with a measure of mistrust.

The Hermitage Museum Collection of Impressionist art


Date: May, 16th — 18th

Open hours: 11:00 — 17:00

Location: 4th floor, The General Staff Building, The State Hermitage Museum

For more information please ask volunteers at the Info Desk.

The State Hermitage Museum boasts one of the world’s foremost collections of Impressionist art, which is now on display in the Memorial Gallery of Sergey Shchukin and the Brothers Morozov, on the fourth floor of The General Staff. The artists present include Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cézanne, Sisley, Gauguin, Van Gogh, among others. Some rooms are dedicated to an individual artist. Admiring the paintings of Picasso, or the bizarre, fanciful paintings of Matisse, one cannot help paying homage to the intuition and courage of those Russian collectors, most of them simple merchants, who saw talent, power, beauty and sense in these works that were so at odds with the prevailing notions of the epoch regarding what is proper or beautiful, and realized that this art was the way of the future.

We invite you to investigate the Hermitage collection of late 19th-century French art. On their own, any viewer can figure out the differences between Monet and Manet, or step in an interior designer’s shoes to pick the best wall colour for a room reserved for French Impressionist art. It may dawn on you how the seemingly small individual discoveries of each of these artists eventually resonated together to transform the world.

Supplementary tour programme

In addition to the tour programme that comes free with the delegate SPBILF attendance package, it is our pleasure to offer to you a few extra tours which, in our opinion, reveal a different St. Petersburg, bringing this unusual, mysterious and romantic town closer, introducing the viewer to some amazing background stories, and giving a sense of what makes St. Petersburg people tick.

You can select a tour from the list below, or order an individual tour by sending your request to Requests will be accepted until May, 10th 2018.

The Three Cathedrals Tour



May, 15th 2018, 10:00-14:00 — tour in Russian

May, 19th 2018, 10:00-14:00 — tour in English

Duration: 4 hours

Location: St Isaac’s Square 4, Kazan Square 2, Nikolskaya Square 1-3

Number of visitors: minimum 7 persons, maximum 30 persons per group

In many ways St. Petersburg is not a typical Russian town. St. Petersburg’s difference is probably best exemplified by the architecture of its Russian Orthodox temples. The dominant feature of St. Petersburg’s cityscape, the steeple of Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, more readily brings to mind a church somewhere in Amsterdam, not in Moscow or Novgorod. The gem of Nevsky Prospekt, the Cathedral of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, or simply Kazan Cathedral, was conceived as a replica of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Vatican. The largest Russian Orthodox church in St. Petersburg, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, is homage to the Pantheon in Paris. Only the Elizabethan baroque landmark, the five-domed St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, has the appearance of a regular Orthodox church straight out of Russia’s heartland. When you visit these three very different St. Petersburg churches (they are all active, but not full-time), you will find out where the funeral service was held for the poet Anna Akhmatova, where the heart of Generalissimo Kutuzov of 1812 Napoleonic War fame lies entreasured, which of the churches continued their services during the entire Soviet period, and which of them housed a Museum of the History of Religions and the Foucault Pendulum. You will also learn about the people that built these churches, the tools and materials they used, the historical anecdotes and fictional characters associated with the Kazan, St. Isaac’s and St. Nicholas’ Cathedrals... In just 4 hours, you will stock up on impressions for years ahead.

This tour includes:

  • Visit to St. Isaac’s Cathedral
  • Visit to the Kazan Cathedral
  • Visit to the St. Nicholas Marine Cathedral

Tour price: 2400 rubles

City Tour



May, 16th 2018, 9:00 to 11:00 — tour in English

May, 17th 2018, 9:00 to 11:00 — tour in Russian

Duration: 2 hours

Number of visitors: 10 persons minimum, 49 maximum per group

St. Petersburg, the world’s northernmost multimillion metropolis, was this miracle town conjured up ex nihilo by the will of a reform-minded tsar at a location arguably less-than-perfectly suitable for habitation. Even today one cannot help wondering how they managed to build this town in such a record short time in the early 1700s. One of the world’s finest cities, St. Petersburg was from the beginning conceived as a showcase of Russian greatness. Russia’s Maritime Capital, Venice of the North, Window on Europe, Cradle of Three Revolutions... All these and many other epithets bestowed on St. Petersburg since its birth in 1703 are still relevant today, when the city on the Neva has a population of nearly 7 million. Join us for this city tour to learn more about the builders and rulers of St. Petersburg, Petrograd and Leningrad, appreciate the harmony of its architectural complexes and parks, visit the touristy “hot spots,” hear some amusing historical, theatrical and literary anecdotes, and take note of some places where you may wish to return on your own once this tour is over.

Tour price: 1000 rubles

“White Gold” of St. Petersburg


Date: May, 16th 2018, 11:00 to 15:00

Duration: 4 hours

Location: Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony 151, St. Petersburg)

Number of visitors: 7 persons minimum, 15 maximum per tour

The legendary Imperial and then Soviet Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (LFZ) restored its historical factory seal a few years ago. The Imperial Porcelain Factory, the oldest industrial manufacturer of fine porcelain in Russia, was founded in 1744 by the order of the Russian Empress Elizabeth I. The factory’s tea and coffee sets for the households of Russian royals and nobility, its standard vases, lamps, tableware, accessories and interior decorations, created by LFZ craftsmen over the past 274 years, are now on display at many St. Petersburg museums and suburban historical estates. But most importantly, LFZ tableware — be it the all-but transparent bone-china coffee cups or tea sets with Leningrad’s most recognized LFZ signature ornament, the cobalt mesh — are in use day to day in St. Petersburg homes, and make an elegant souvenir to bring back from Russia’s “Northern Capital.”

This tour will introduce you to historical and modern porcelain-making technology. You can take part in a porcelain painting master class.

This tour includes:

  • Visit to the fine porcelain shop
  • Visit to the modern porcelain art gallery
  • Porcelain painting master class

Additional information: finished items will be ready for pick-up 2 weekdays after painting

Tour price: 5000 rubles

The Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre: A Backstage Peek


Date: May, 17th 2018, 11:00 to 14:00

Duration: 3 hours

Number of visitors: 7 persons minimum, 18 maximum per group

The iconic Russian Mariinsky opera and ballet house enjoys worldwide fame and admiration. Most or all Russian classics now enshrined as part of the treasure-trove of world classical music, from Glinka to Tchaikovsky, had premiered on the Mariinsky stage. The celebrated Russian school of choreography, to this day an influential benchmark for ballet companies across the globe, was born at the Mariinsky. The royal paramour Mathilda Kshessinskaya, the elegiac Anna Pavlova, the forceful Galina Ulanova, the passionate Diana Vishneva and the consummate Ulyana Lopatkina all danced here. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nuriev danced at Mariinsky before making their leap to freedom. Russia’s current ballet legends dance here today. The great opera diva Anna Netrebko had her debut at the Mariinsky, traditionally a more ballet-oriented stage.

This tour offers a sneak glance into the theatre’s backstage life — the kind of life you cannot even see from the royal box when you are in the audience. You will be introduced to the Mariinsky’s magnificent historical architecture. You will observe stage props, costumes and artwork in the making. You will breathe the same backstage air that once made Eugene Onegin’s head swim.

This tour includes:

  • Tour of the Mariinsky Theatre

Tour price: 3300 rubles

The Cradle of Russian Art


Date: May, 17th 2018, 15:30 to 18:30

Duration: 3 hours

Location: National Russian Museum (4 Inzhenernaya Str.)

Number of visitors: 5 persons minimum, 25 maximum per group

Founded by the order of Nicholas II, the Emperor Alexander III Russian Museum is the largest repository of Russian art in the world. The sprawling display, numbering nearly half a million artworks, covers all periods of Russian painting, from the 12th-century Novgorod icon The Angel with Golden Hair to the works of our contemporaries, such as Zvezdochyotov, Kaminker and Zhelud. Right out of our schoolbooks, the artists of the 19th-century Partnership for Movable Art Exhibitions are all here, and so are the perennial favourites Briullov, Aivazovsky, Repin, Serov and Vrubel. The sculptures of Shubin, Golubkina and Mukhina, the Prouns of El Lissitzky, and Malevich’s uncompromising Black Square... The Russian Museum is the place to see all these treasures and much, much more.

This tour includes:

  • Visit to the Russian Museum
  • Walking tour of the museum

Tour price: 1500 rubles

Parks and Fountains of Peterhof



May,18th 2018, 12:00 to 16:30 — tour in English

May,19th 2018, 12:00 to 16:30 — tour in Russian

Tour duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

Location: Petrodvorets

Number of visitors: 10 persons minimum, 30 maximum per group

Peter I had intended for Peterhof, which is the Dutch for “Peter’s Court,” to serve as his main summer residence. Peterhof (also known as Petrodvorets) was a distant suburb at the time when it was erected on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. Now it is a district of St. Petersburg. Peterhof is the home of many architectural masterpieces and historical landmarks, built in the 18th and 19th centuries for the Russian royal family and its close associates.

Peterhof owes its worldwide renown to its “constellation” of palaces and 150 fountains, of which the four better known cascades are particularly impressive. Peter I modelled Peterhof on Versailles, but the truth is that Peterhof surpasses its prototype in the lavishness and ingenuity of décor and the originality of some of its engineering ideas. The water supply system, which supplies water to the fountains to this day, was highly advanced for its time. It was built during Peter I’s reign, as were the emperor’s favourite little palace, the Monplaisir, the exquisite Marli and Hermitage Palaces, two fountain cascades, the canal, the boat landing and several isolated fountains, such as the overflowing Pyramid, which uses up 100 litres of water per second.

Peterhof was built and beautified over the course of two centuries. It was continually enlarged and augmented with the works of talented artists, architects, engineers and landscape artists. You will never forget your walk amid the parks of Peterhof, admiring the amazing Grand Cascade, the Samson, Dragon Hill, the canals, palaces and apple orchards, nor your hydrofoil ride across the Gulf of Finland and the Neva.

This tour includes:

  • Meteor hydrofoil ride from Peterhof to St. Petersburg
  • Tour of Peterhof parks

Tour price: 3800 rubles