Remembering the Siege



More then 70 years passed since the siege of Leningrad was lifted. One of the darkest pages in modern human history had been turned over when the Red Army defeated Nazi troops at Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) on 27 January 1944.

Three years earlier on 22 June 1941 Nazi Germany had suddenly invaded Russia without declaring the war with the largest invasion force that world has ever seen. A few days later Finland joined the invasion. The advance was so powerful and fast, that by 8 September the huge city was completely cut off by German troops in the south and the Finns in the north. Nazi leader Hitler had very sinister plans for the future of Leningrad. He declared that: \"Saint Petersburg must be erased from the face of the Earth\" and “we have no interest in saving lives of the civilian population.\" The invitations for the victory dinner in one of the city\'s hotels where printed out, so sure the Nazis were about quick capturing of the city.

However the resistance of the city defenders was so stiff and stubborn that those plans went burst. Then the Nazis decided to emply hunger plan and starve the city population to death. The food supplies in the city were very scarce because no one expected the Germans to advance so fast. Moreover, the people fleeing the advance Nazi troops in regions of North-Western Russia, also evacuated to Leningrad, added to the city\'s civil population needed to feed. The result was what some historians describe as genocide when the people in Leningrad perished in huge numbers of malnutrition, cold (the winter of 1941/42 was especially freezing) and German bombs and artillery shells.

Some supply could be brought in the winter through the route built on the ice of the frozen Ladoga Lake (so called Road of Life) but this was also under constant bombardment and sometimes even more dangerous then the front line and the Road of Life for many became the Road to Death. 

Well over 1 million of Leningrad\'s civilian population had died in the Siege just in one city. It was more then the population losses of Britain and United States in the whole World War II combined together. Half of million of people are buried in just one of the city\'s cemeteries – Piskarevskoe. Tens of thousands have never been properly buried and accounted due to the wartime hardships. And also about the same number of Soviet soldiers, over a million, died at the front lines defending the city. That makes the Siege of Leningrad one of the most gruesome stories of human history.

Well known is the diary of little girl, Tanya Savicheva, native of Leningrad. She meticulously described as her family members and relatives all died one by one because of cold and hunger. She was the last survivor of her kin, evacuated at the end of the Siege, but dying short after, because of endured starvation and stress. 

Nevertheless the people of Leningrad didn\'t give in and continued to defend their city for almost 900 days. Because of their sacrifice one of the most beautiful cities of Europe was saved. What fate would befallen it if the Nazis would enter Leningrad one could imagine seeing the condition of the beautiful suburban palaces and parks of Leningrad-St.Petersburg after the Germans retreated. They were completely looted and destroyed or badly damaged on direct orders of Hitler.

In the darkest hour of the Siege Leningrad Radio Orchestra played Symphony No7 by Dmitri Shostakovich broadcasted through loudspeakers in the city and the front line to show the defiance of the city defenders to the ruthless and pitiless enemy.

So, the Siege of Leningrad also makes one of the most touching and exalted stories of the victory of human spirit over inhuman circumstances and imminent death and destruction.

The Siege brought enormous tall to the former majestic capital of Romanov dynasty. It lost three quarters of prewar population. Many historical monuments and artifacts were destroyed. But gradually the scars of the war healed over and the city has been rebuilt by its people in all its splendour and glory. Nowadays the city is once again called Saint Petersburg. It remembers and mourns its past, but looks with optimism into the future.

The tour also includes day long excursion to historical city of Novgorod that also withstood many hardships during the war and had been liberated in the same year as Leningrad.

Program of the tour: 7 Days/6 Nights


Day 1


Day 2

City tour with visits to the Museum of the Siege and Piskarevskoe Memorial cemetery. In the afternoon Museum of History of St.Petersburg, the tour dedicated to the city life during the WWII.

Day 3

Day trip outside St.Petersburg to see Road of Life (the main supply route during the Siege) and museum and Diorama dedicated to the victory over the besieging Nazi troops and lifting of the Siege.

Day 4

Trip to Novgorod – the ancient capital of mighty state that once included most of North-Western Russia. The city was taken by German troops during the war and liberated just few days before the Siege of Leningrad was lifted. On the way back to St.Petersburg visit to Victory Park, where many of the victims of Siege were buried.

Day 5

Tour to the Hermitage. Afternoon trip to Pushkin (Katherine's Palace). On the way stop at war memorial and museum at Ploshcad Pobedy (Victory Square).

Day 6

Tour outside of the city to Oranienbaum – the place that seen some of the most fierce fighting during the Siege, tour to naval fortress and port Kronshtadt that defened Leningrad from the sea. On the way back visit to tzar's imperial garden in Peterhoff.

Day 7