July 01, 2002

You're Only 300 Once!

With its tercentenary less than a year away, the city of St. Petersburg is at last ready to reveal what’s in store for 2003.

Not simply a salute to its founder, Peter the Great, and not just another holiday, St. Petersburg’s 300th birthday party promises to be a year-long festival of cultural and social events not to be missed. This distinctive city plans to make it clear to the world that, in the words of Andrei Zonin, director of the Institute for Cultural Programs, “Peter the Great may have intended to create a window to the West, but St. Petersburg is more than that, it is a gateway, and when we speak about the Jubilee, we mean the entire year 2003.” “St. Petersburg’s tercentenary is a reason to remember the greatness of Russia and the source of that greatness,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s a celebration that begins in January and lasts all year.

The anniversary year begins with “White Days.” Wrapped in a blanket of snow and boasting temperatures well below freezing, during the winter months St. Petersburg may seem to many an unlikely destination. To the contrary, this could well be the most under-appreciated time for visiting the “Northern Palmyra.” It offers the best opportunity to experience the heart and soul of this acknowledged cultural and artistic center and Saint Petersburgers are eager to help others experience this magical Russian season. For who better than Russians know that winter is not a time to stay indoors, but to participate in the numerous winter events and festivals around town.

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