Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703. Between 1713 and 1728 and between 1732 and 1918 it was the imperial capital of Russia. In the 20th century was the city first known as Petrograd and then as Leningrad, before it changed its name back to Saint Petersburg in 1991. Saint Petersburg is today Russia's second largest city and an important cultural centre. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and the Related Groups of Monuments are since 1990 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Winter Palace was between 1732 and 1917 the residence of the Russian monarch. In 1905 demonstrators were killed during the Bloody Sunday Massacre while marching to the Winter Palace to present a petition to the monarch. In 1917 the Winter Palace was stormed by Red Army soldiers and sailors, which became a key moment of the Russian Revolution. Today it is a part of the Hermitage Museum.
The Saint Michael's Castle was built between 1797 and 1801 as a residence for Emperor Paul I. It was built in a combination of French Classicism, Italian Renaissance and Gothic. Due to his fascination with medieval knights and his constant fear of assassination Paul I ordered the new royal residence to be built like a castle, but ironically he was killed in his own bedroom just 40 nights after he moved to his new residence. Today the Saint Michael's Castle houses the Portrait Gallery of the Russian Museum.