Sankt Petersburg is the 1st stop of the exhibition „Handmade in Germany“ world tour and launches the world tour. With over 4.8 million inhabitants, Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Not only is it the country’s second strongest economic area, but it also enjoys the reputation of being the brightest, wildest and most romantic city in Russia.
The old Tsarist city sits on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, which is comprised of 43 islands and consists of 10% water. It is often referred to as: “The Venice of the North”, a comparison which owes its reputation to the numerous waterways of the Neva which snake their way through the classical baroque old town of Saint Petersburg. Accomplished by Peter the Great with a distinctively Western prototype, this part of the city has now been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The beginnings of German-Russian relations stretch far back in the history of both nations’ people. At the time of absolutism, the Tsardom of Russia and the Kingdom of Prussia were next-door-neighbours. Particularly in the years before and after the First World War, this relationship was crystallised through an intense interaction of art, literature and architecture – Der Blaue Reiter and Bauhaus bore witness to Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, who similarly had a lasting effect on Nietzsche and Heidegger.
Today Russia’s largest cultural attraction can be found in Saint Petersburg: The Hermitage Museum. This year the gigantic exhibition complex – with a total exhibition space of over 57,000m² – celebrates its 250th birthday. This is enough justification for the tenth edition of Manifesta, the pan-European art Biennale, to be held in Saint Petersburg in 2014. The Fabergé Museum, the youngest museum in the city, is simply spectacular. It exhibits some 1000 works from the workshop of goldsmith Carl Fabergé and includes some reacquired specimens which had once been purchased by media mogul Forbes at Sotheby’s Auction.
Saint Petersburg has the ability to economically reinvigorate Russia as a “Window to Europe”. The ambitious aim of the city is to position itself as Russia’s largest centre for trade and innovation by the year 2015. Among the most important industries in the city are ship building, heavy machinery and radio electronics, as well as furniture making. Germany is by far the most significant economic partner of Russia and in Saint Petersburg alone there are more than 400 companies that operate with German investment and participation. The trend is also growing; companies in the areas of building supplies, infrastructure, and traffic engineering as well as environmental and medical technology are enjoying the best prospects for success.