Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
ments, and books from his library. The expanded museum now fills this grand building
with its many anthropological and ethnographic collections (including, for example, the
best exhibit on northern Native Americans that you'll find on this side of the Atlantic).
CostandHours: 250 R, Tue-Sun 11:00-19:00, closed Mon, also closed last Tue of each
month, last entry at 18:00, Universitetskaya Nab. 3, tel. 328-0812, .
VisitingtheMuseum: While the displays are quite old-fashioned, there's ample English
information. You can explore the two floors (plus the tower) of mostly geographically ar-
ranged exhibits, but most tourists are drawn to the “First Scientific Collections of the Kun-
stkamera”—especially Peter's stomach-turning exhibit on teratology, the study of deform-
ities: a grand hall packed with jars of two-headed human fetuses pickled in formaldehyde, a
double-headed calf, skeletons of a human giant and conjoined twins, and Peter the Great's
own death mask. Not for the faint of heart, this might be Europe's most offbeat—and naus-
eating—sight. As strange and titillating as it seems, this collection is based in sound sci-
ence: Peter wanted to understand the scientific underpinnings of deformity to dispel the
small-minded superstitions of his subjects. While many tourists dismiss the Kunstkamera
as a “museum of curiosities,” locals are proud of its scientific tradition and its impressive
▲▲ Peter and Paul Fortress (Петропавловская Крепость) —Founded by Peter the
Great in 1703 during the Great Northern War with Sweden, this fortress on an island in
the Neva was the birthplace of St. Petersburg. Its gold steeple catches the sunlight, and its
blank walls face the Winter Palace across the river. While it'd be easy to spend all day
here, the best visit for those on a tight schedule is to simply wander the grounds, dip into
the cathedral to see the tombs of the Romanovs (Russia's czars), and maybe do a little sun-
bathing on the beach. For those wanting to delve into history, the grounds also have mu-
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