St Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as Russia’s “Window to Europe”. Constructed on swampland, it was built by thousands of serfs, many of whom perished, their bones laying the city’s foundations. It became the capital of Russia in 1712, and remained so until 1918.
On 9 January 1905, peaceful demonstrators carrying a petition to Nicholas II were gunned down by the army as they marched towards the Winter Palace. Around 1,000 demonstrators perished. The aftermath of the horrifying event led to the 1905 Revolution.