It is the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital.
Colloquially known as "Piter" and "the Northern Capital," and formerly known as Leningrad (1924–1991), the city of St. Petersburg is located in northwestern Russia on the Baltic Sea. Today, St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city (with about 4.7 million inhabitants), a major European cultural center, and the most important Russian Baltic Sea port. It is the northernmost major city in the world, and the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built from the ground up by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 as a "window to Europe," St. Petersburg served as the political and cultural capital of the country during the imperial period until 1918.