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St. Petersburg

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Second in size, first in beauty: Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg, dubbed as “Northern Venice” and “North Palmyra” is often claimed to be the most beautiful place in the country. Its fascinating fusion of European and Russian cultures, charming and exquisite chic of the former imperial capital and the lively cultural scene attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from all around the world.

Once the king, always the king. For over 200 years Saint Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire and the residence of the Russian Emperors and Tsars. Their carefully restored palaces are now open to every single visitor willing to get in touch with the living history and the splendor of baroque, classic, romantic and neoclassic art.

Royal navy. Saint Petersburg is the city where the Russian Navy begun, and the city where it came to power. No surprise the naval theme is all around the place: Rostral Columns, decorated with symbolic rostri of defeated foes, Aurora plated cruiser and the Petropavlovskaya fortress, built to guard the Neva city entrance, are among Saint Petersburg’s most renowned symbols.

Thereminvox and avant-garde. Whichever art or science you may think of, Saint Petersburg has definitely contributed a fair share to it. Pushkin, Dostoyevsky.

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Boxing capital. Saint Petersburg is a city with a lifelong boxing history. Its founder, Peter the Great, was enthusiastic about pugilism, so even in the early 1700s there were fist fights staged on every festival in the newly built capital. Later, Saint Petersburg became the first city in Russia to adopt the contemporary boxing rules and technique: in 1887, just 5 years after the official adoption of the Queensberry rules, Russia’s first boxing club opens in its capital.

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Through all the history of modern boxing, boxers from Leningrad/Saint Petersburg were among the top-tier fighters. Leningrad-based Gennadiy Shatkov won one of the first Soviet Olympic gold medals in Boxing, and another Leningradian, Valery Popenchenko, was the only Soviet boxer to win the Val Barker Trophy and to be named Outstanding Boxer at the Olympics. Saint Petersburg is also home to world champions in all the four major professional boxing championships. Famous Nikolay “Russian Giant” Valuev, Yuri “Ebihara” Arbachakov, Dmitry “Baby” Kirillov and Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin trained in Saint Petersburg.

Today, boxers from Saint Petersburg are well known all over the world. Petr Khamukov, Europe 2015 champion and the only boxer to win Olympic licenses for Rio-2016 in two weight classes, Alexey Mazur, Gee Bee International winner and Outstanding Boxer nominee, Queen’s Cup International medalists Karina Tazabekova and Yelena Gradinar — all these boxers fight for Saint Petersburg.