Collection: Russian Folk Art

In 1703, Russian Emperor Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg and named it after his patron saint, the apostle Peter. The city's location on the Neva River with access to the Baltic Sea allowed him to establish a naval stronghold during the Great Northern War. Peter's vision was to establish a “window to Europe," where he had travelled extensively. With Amsterdam and Venice in mind, St. Petersburg was designed around a series of islands separated by a concentric grid of canals. Peter declared St. Petersburg the capital of Russia, which it remained (except for 1728 to 1732 during Peter II's reign), until 1918 when the government moved back to Moscow. Early in its history, the city earned its reputation as the cultural, cosmopolitan hub of Russia.