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Clockwise from top left: Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island, Smolny Cathedral, Bronze Horseman on Senate Square, the Winter Palace, Trinity Cathedral, and the Moyka river with the General Staff Building. It is politically incorporated as a federal subject (a federal city). In 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (Russian: The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27 [O. Saint Petersburg is home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress, at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in a land then called Ingermanland, that was inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. Peter the Great was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, and he intended to have Russia gain a seaport in order to be able to trade with other maritime nations.Later, the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate.Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war; he referred to Saint Petersburg as the capital (or seat of government) as early as 1704.During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress.However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan.

In 1716, Peter the Great appointed French Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg.

The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century.

In 1724 the Academy of Sciences, University and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. His endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son.

In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow.

But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire.

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