St Petersburg is the second-largest city in Russia after Moscow. It was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and served as the capital of imperial Russia for two centuries.
Located on the Baltic Sea, St Petersburg is an important port and the most northerly city in the world with a population in excess of one million people. During the Communist era, it was known as Leningrad from 1924 until 1991. The Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War was one of the longest and most destructive sieges of a major city in modern history. Now rebuilt, the historic center houses architectural gems such as the Winter Palace and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is seen as the cultural capital of Russia. Here is an automatic compilation of DW content on St Petersburg.
The Venta Maersk will test the passage through Russian waters, which is significantly shorter than the way south through the Suez Canal. Climate change has warmed the Arctic waters, allowing ships to pass more easily.