Russia // St Petersburg //

Smolniy Convent and Institute

Smolniy Convent (3/1 Rastrelli Square, daily except Wed 11am–7pm, R150, student R90; Chernyshevskaya), a peerless ice-blue Rastrelli Baroque creation that’s now a concert and exhibition hall (concerts R100–600; exhibitions R70–200), is the focal point of the Smolniy district. The neighbouring Smolniy Institute (pl. Proletarskoy diktaturi 3) is the headquarters of St Petersburg’s Governor, but was built between 1806 and 1808 to house the Institute for Young Noblewomen; Lenin orchestrated the October Revolution of 1917 from here. A statue of the man himself still stands in front of the building, and as you enter the Institute’s grounds look out for the now familiar Communist slogan: “Workers of the World, Unite!” (Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!).