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Russia's White Days

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1 June 2008 by Pete Mathers

November–March

St Petersburg seldom looks more beautiful than when its 18th century buildings are blanketed in a layer of powdery snow. At Peterhof, the palace started by Peter the Great to rival Versailles, the winter sun reflects off the statues and flickers through the treetops. Summer, when night is near indistinguishable from day, is high season, when prices and a demand for the arts are at their peak.

Winter, therefore, is a far better time to see the internationally acclaimed opera, soak up the ballet or catch a concert performance. Outside you can ride through the parks in a traditional troika (carriage).

Snow lines the main street of Nevsky Prospekt and shop windows are packed with furs, food and colourful wooden toys. Russian teas are served from samovars as winter warmers, and vodka as smooth as velvet follows courses of caviar at notable restaurants.

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