Moscow vs. St. Petersburg: Looking At Russian Jewels

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Difference between Moscow and St Petersburg

Moscow and St Petersburg are the largest and most widely known cities in Russia. Both cities have held the title of capital at different times, although it is Moscow that currently holds this honor. Moscow and St Petersburg have both played an important role in Russian history and culture, but look and feel very different from one another.

St Petersburg


St Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter in 1703 and it was the capital of Russia for over 200 years, until the Russian Revolution of 1917, which began like many important historic events, in St Petersburg. St Petersburg today is an important cultural center in Europe, as well as being an important Russian port.

The earliest known reference to Moscow dates from the 12th century, when the city was growing quickly until it was burnt to the ground by Mongol raiders. The city recovered, however, becoming an important regional center an attracting people from all over Russian. The city continued to grow, despite repeated attacks from different quarters as well as various periods of domestic unrest. Moscow became the Russian capital in 1918. The city was the site of an important battle and siege during the Second World War.


Red Square, St Basil's and the Kremlin are the most important sites for the visitor to see when they spend time in Moscow and they are also the most well-known sights in Russia. There are also some other interesting places to visit in the city, including some excellent museums and galleries.

The main sights in St Petersburg are the Hermitage, which is the largest museum of art in the world and the historic center of the city, which is a World Heritage site due to the large number of historically important buildings.


Both St Petersburg and Moscow are large and well-known Russian cities that have played an important role in both the history and the culture of their country.

Moscow tends to be thought of as a busier and more business like city, then St. Petersburg, which can offer a calmer and more tourist friendly environment for visitors. Moscow's reputation stems from the fact that it is the seat of the Russian government and therefore one of the most important centers of business in the country. Moscow is very much a 24 hour city, with a busy nightlife and plenty of entertainment venues.

St Petersburg looks and feels very different to Moscow. It is typically thought of as a calmer and more welcoming city for visitors, and as one of the most "Western" cities in Russia, in terms of its culture as well as its location. St Petersburg has many beautiful palaces and buildings, as well as the wider and easier to navigate streets that come from having been a planned city. St Petersburg is a smaller city than Moscow, having a population that is only about half the size of the capital, although it is still the second largest city in Russia. Moscow has the largest population of any city in Europe and the seventh highest population of any city in the world.

Similarities and Differences:

  • Moscow and St Petersburg are Russia's largest cities. Although each is beautiful in its own way, they are very different from one another.
  • Moscow is the capital of Russia.
  • St. Petersburg was the capital until 1917/18.
  • Moscow's main sites are the Kremlin and Red Square.
  • St. Petersburg is home to the world's largest art museum, the Hermitage.
  • St. Petersburg is younger and more peaceful than Moscow, which is the largest and busiest city in Russia.


Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • Julia wrote on November 2011

This is a great article! Thanks a million!

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