City (pop., 2006 est.: 4,580,620) and port, northwestern Russia. Located on the delta of the Neva River where it enters the Gulf of Finland, it is Russia's second largest city after Moscow. Founded by Peter I (the Great) in 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1712 to 1917. It was the scene of the Decembrist revolt in 1825 and the Bloody Sunday attack on workers in the Russian Revolution of 1905. The original centre of the Bolshevik revolution (see Russian Revolution of 1917), it lost its capital status to Moscow in 1918. In World War II it underwent a siege by German forces (September 1941–January 1944), during which hundreds of thousands of people died (see Siege of Leningrad). From 1990 a reformist city council and mayor helped swing the country from the control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. St. Petersburg is a cultural, educational, and industrial centre and Russia's largest seaport. Industries include engineering, printing, manufacturing, and shipbuilding. One of Europe's most beautiful cities, it is strewn with canals and several hundred bridges; its many palaces, cathedrals, museums (including the Hermitage), and historical monuments were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990.
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