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The markets of St Petersburg and surrounding areas

Its markets are the best place to take the pulse of any city,places where you can experience the day-to-day life of the people and mingle with the local population. This is no less true in Saint Petersburg, where haggling is encouraged and stallholders will even offer you their wares without any kind of pressure to buy.

Kuznechny Market

The most central and representative of the markets in Saint Petersburg (and also the most expensive) is the Kuznechny Market where you will find flowers, vegetables, cheeses and natural honey for sale.

Numerous attractions are located close to the market: the Arctic and Antarctic Museum can be found in the former Church of Saint Nicholas and includes exhibits on the characteristics of the polar regions, the history behind the conquest of the Great North and the economy and culture of the Nordic people. The Floral Exhibition Centre, the Vladimirskaya Church and the Lensoveta Culture Centre at 42 Kamennoostrovsky Avenue are also worth visiting.

The Dostoevsky Museum is another nearby attraction – the place where this famous writer and author of such novels as ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Demons’ and ‘The Idiot’ lived and died. This house museum has been faithfully restored to how it was originally.

If you get hungry, why not try the Marius Pub or the Tres Amigos restaurant. However, if it is thirst that needs quenching, Mollie’s Irish Bar is a great place for a drink.

Sennoy Market

What was once an old hay market has now become a major food market with clothing stalls that fill the surrounding streets.

A large part of  ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoevsky is set in the streets of the Sennaya district, where the Sennoy Market is to be found. It is more popularly known as the Dostoevsky District.

It is an excellent area for a spot of shopping in the large department stores. Sennaya Square is a bustling hive of activity where you can find the famous PIK and the large Sennaya Shopping Centre.

For some nice, reasonably-priced home-made food, you should head over to Kafe Adzhika.

If you’re up for a short walk, take a stroll over to Yusupov Palace, located on the edge of the River Moika and one of the most spectacular monuments to classicism to be found in Saint Petersburg.

Sitni Market

On the small Zayachy Island in the River Neva is the true historical centre of the city: Peter and Paul Fortress, the original citadel of Saint Petersburg. Peter I the Great ordered its construction in 1703 and it contains such remarkable buildings as the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where all the Tsars from Peter I the Great to Nicholas II and his family are buried. Standing 122 metres tall, the cathedral bell tower is the highest point in the city.

Although initially designed for defensive purposes, it never needed to be used for that but rather served as a prison until 1917. Its most famous prisoners included such individuals as Trotski, Dostoevsky and Bakunin.

Also nearby is the Saint Petersburg Zoo and the Political History Museum.

A good choice for something to eat would be the popular Salkhino restaurant where they serve Georgian cuisine. In the evening, you might want to try out the legendary Tunnel Club, the first techno club to open in Russia.

Vernisazh Souvenir Market

Less of a market and more a collection of souvenir stalls, this is to be found behind the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ or the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and is one of the most popular tourist sites and an attraction in itself. Here you will find many traditional Russian gifts and souvenirs.

The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander III was killed. The interior and exterior mosaic decorations are fantastic, as are its stained glass windows. The temple was built in the Russian architectural style of the 16th-17th Centuries (pure Russian orthodox) and bears a striking resemblance to Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square.

Its five large bulbous domes decorated in numerous colours and gold, as well as the meticulous detail work that covers the exterior, are yet more features that make this an outstanding piece of architecture.

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if you fancy getting away to celebrate this year, you should know that there is romanticism beyond Paris and Venice! If you don't believe us, read on and discover the most romantic destinations for Valentine's Day.

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2018 World Cup in Russia

The 21st World Cup kicks off on 14 June in Russia. It's the eleventh time it will be held in the Europe and the first time it is hosted by an Eastern European country.

How is Russia getting ready for the big event? What do we need to know about it? What are the 2018 World Cup dates? Since Russia was awarded the World Cup at the end of 2010, beating Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands, the country has been busy getting everything ready for the big event.

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Helsinki la ruta del diseño

The moment you set foot in the airport you are surrounded by design. Suffice to look at the street furniture, a clear example of Finnish design. Their design philosophy is so consistent they have even created a design district. Confident of the value of their brand, in 2005 they created the Design District, founded by a group of entrepreneurs, which includes the Design Forum Finland, an organisation that has endeavoured to promote Finnish design for over 120 years. The area currently functions like a “mini-city” in the centre. It is made up of over 20 streets and some 200 establishments run by young entrepreneurs and local merchants who conceive of commerce as promoting Finnish design with great impetus and creativity.

They are all identified by a sign on the door. The Design District features quaint establishments, florists, restaurants, fashion stores, design and publicity agencies, photographic studios, art galleries, and such interior design spaces as the famous Artek, and even the Design Museum.

Beyond the DD circuit itself, one can’t fail to notice other significant Finnish design and architectural works. Here are some of the landmarks you shouldn’t miss:

The Kamppi Chapel (Chapel of Silence), in Narinkkatori Square, is a must-see. It is a refuge from the city bustle which was inaugurated in 2012, the year Helsinki was designated World Design Capital. It is built entirely of timber to resemble an igloo. No religious symbol features in its interior, and its maxim is peace and silence.

The older Church of Temppeliaukio, popularly known as the Church of the Rock, is visually stunning, resembling a UFO embedded in a rock, the only design of its kind in the world. Prominent between the roof and the rock is a thick glazed front that lets natural light into the interior. This is one of the most widely visited buildings in the city.

Another of Helsinki’s majestic constructions is its famous train station. This veritable gem of the Art Nouveau – which the Finns oddly call “National Finnish Romanticism” – was designed by the Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen. Presided over by four huge sculptures, the exterior stands out as grandiose, while the interior is also admirable.

The Kallio District is acclaimed as one of the most hip districts on the planet. Indeed, it bears all the traits of this sub-culture, with its a-thousand-and-one Indie music nightspots, organic food, vinyls, brunch, food trucks, vintage, design, etc. One worth highlighting is Made in Kallio, a radical design store which doubles as a café and a studio belonging to a design collective. This space hosts events, including exhibitions and flea markets. Here, you’ll be anything but bored.

Helsinki’s design hub, where it all started, is undoubtedly the Arabia Centre, where you can find such brands as Iittala, Fiskars and Arabia, which account for a 90% presence in Finnish homes. Here, too, is one of the most prestigious design universities in Europe, the Alvar Aalto University of Art and Design. It can be reached by tram and is worth devoting a morning to. You can visit the factories and purchase the odd Finnish design article.

If you’re an unconditional fan of art nouveau, this is your ideal city, as Helsinki boasts one of the most prolific repertoires of this style in the world. Download the most emblematic routes, here.

In closing, to approach contemporary design, you should not pass up the chance to see the Kaisa House university library, a majestic building which breathes design throughout. It is Finland’s largest library and its architecture has been awarded several prizes.

I would take Vueling and turn up there right now. Helsinki is one of the most wonderful cities I have ever visited, with endless opportunities for outings and sightseeing. What’s more, it is near St Petersburg, opposite Tallinn and just a short jaunt away from Stockholm.


Text by Tensi Sánchez of actitudesmgz.com

Photos by Fernando Sanz

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