St. Petersburg White Nights Festival

The city that never sleeps: St Petersburg during white nights

In the previous post our Honcho has given a few great options for things to do during the white nights in St Petersburg. In today’s entry we have listed a few more events and festivals that might pick your fancy during your visit to the Venice of the North.

May 23 – July 24 – Arts Festival “The Stars of White Nights”

St Petersburg is fantastic during white nights! The city has the vibe that makes you do things you would never do at home. For instance – seeing the ballet! Throughout the year but particularly in the summer St Petersburg attracts people from all over the world and invites to witness the best ballet performances in the season. “The Stars of White Nights” arts festival hits the city on May, 23d and ballet, opera and music performances are staged almost nightly until July, 24th. Directed by Valery Gergiev, performances received a deserved acclaim for being almost unnaturally perfect. Whether it is the classical “Swan Lake”, “Giselle”, “Spartacus”, “Romeo and Juliet” or a more contemporary production of guest directors and their troupes, you are going to get the first good impression of what the ballet is!

Have a glimpse at the most famous part of the “Swan Lake” and enjoy the original when you are in St Petes!

For obvious reasons (quality of the performances, atmosphere of the theatre plus of course it doesn’t get dark ;) ) it is extremely popular to see the ballet during the summer nights and therefore it is often quite hard to get affordable tickets on the day. Nevertheless why not try and visit theatre’s website to check the program and book yourself a ticket for one of the great shows!

Festival’s hosting venue is Mariinsky Theatre; it was built in 1860 and named after Empresses Maria, wife of Alexander the Second. This theatre has become known outside the country as “Kirov Theatre” during the Soviet times when its troupe occasionally travelled abroad with its unrivalled ballets. “Kirov Theatre” has become a metaphor for the best ballet theatre. To find out more about tickets and performances’ times, please check theatre’s web site.

Facade of Mariinsky Theatre – festival hosting venue

Theatre’s interior is famous for its magnificence

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Quite conveniently the theatre also neighbours the Irish pub – call in if the World Cup’s on or simply to have a portion of a different type of culture and discuss the latest exhibition of contemporary art  ;) .

19 June 2011 “The Scarlet Sails” – end of school year celebration

Imagine you just finished school… 11 years of maths, physics and homework is over! Wouldn’t you want to celebrate?! The Russian school graduates are not that different from the ones in your country. On par with the size of Russia is the scale of this celebration, which marks the end of the school year. It is called “The Scarlet Sails” and is highly popular for spectacular fireworks and a massive show set up on Palace Square. Don’t miss out if you are in St Petersburg on the 19th of June!  A grandma’s tip: be prepared for the crowds and watch your belongings if taking part in the celebrations – better lock the important stuff in the hostel’s safe!

End of school year is worth celebrating!

16-17 July 2011 Jazz festival

Midsumma heat is cooled down on the beach near the Peter and Paul Fortress and is a great time to chill out accompanied by the soft sounds of soul and jazz during the international jazz festival.


Join the locals as they join the stars of jazz on the Peter and Paul fortress beach

Quite an impressive line up of local and international jazzmen will make it for a great day out. Grab your Honcho, visit a grocery for some snack and beer and enjoy!

Information on artists and full program is available in Russian only from this web site: http://petrojazz.ru/

All summer is good for…

a boat trip down rivers and canals of St Petersburg. There are two types of such trips. One is going on a ship along the big Neva and the other one is travelling along small rivers and canals. The second option is more romantic and it’s not so cold to be on the open boat.

Bridges through the “boat’s eyes”

Drawbridges of St Petersburg are a free open-air performance. The fascinating mightiness of the bridges when they rise at night to let the river traffic go through is just overwhelming. It is definitely worth staying up to see this! This beautiful feature of St Petersburg has to be taken into consideration though if you need to drive to the airport from the other side of the city. Bridges timetable can be found here.

Have you found what else you can do in St Petersburg that is worth telling our future travellers? Share your expereince, leave a comment!

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Some photos for this post were used from this source.