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Stroll Through Revolutionary Russia in St Petersburg

07 OCT 2014 - BY BEN TAUB

October has always been a month of change, what with the shift in seasons taking place at this time of year, as well as the clocks going back. In that regard, it's the perfect month of the year for a revolution, and the legendary October Revolution that occurred in Russia way back in 1917 was one of the most significant events of the 20th century, heralding the beginning of a new era in world history.

In a nutshell, the revolution was waged by the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and resulted in the removal from power of the Russian tsars and the introduction of a new Communist regime. The major events of the revolution occurred in St Petersburg, which at that time was known as Petrograd. It was here that the tsars had most of their palaces, many of which were - and still are - among the most spectacular in the world. As such, the city became synonymous with the ruling classes and the aristocracy, until everything changed forever in the October Revolution of 1917.

As one of Europe's most stylish, elegant and picturesque cities, St Petersburg is the type of place that's always worth a visit at any time of year, although if you're interested in history then there really is no more exciting time to head to the city than October. Here's a look at a few of the revolutionary sites and monuments to discover while you're there.

The Museum of Political History

Housed within a mansion that once belonged to one of Russia's most famous ballerinas, Mathilde Kschessinska, the Museum of Political History is the perfect place to begin your tour of revolutionary St Petersburg. The building itself played a crucial role in the events of October 1917, as it was occupied by the Bolsheviks and later became their headquarters.

During the 1950s, the house was converted into a museum dedicated entirely to the revolution, although after the fall of the Soviet regime it was expanded to include the nation's entire political history. Among the most interesting attractions to see in the museum are Lenin's private study, a number of uniforms dating back to the time of the revolution, and several other artefacts relating to the rise of Communism in Russia.

Lenin

The Aurora Cruiser

First built in the late 19th century, the Aurora Cruiser is one of Russia's most famous battleships, having participated in both world wars, as well as a number of other conflicts. However, it is perhaps best known for the role it played in the October Revolution, with the Bolsheviks using it to prevent the local authorities from raising the Blagoveshchensky Bridge (which at that time was called the Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge), so as to keep the route over the Neva River and into the city open.

On October 25th, the ship's front gun fired the opening shot of the revolution, providing the signal for the storming of the Winter Palace.

Aurora Cruiser

Smolny Palace

Smolny Palace, which now houses the Lenin Memorial Museum, acted as the Bolshevik Party's headquarters in the immediate aftermath of the events of October 1917, and is in fact the very place where Lenin himself first proclaimed the victory of the Revolution. Visitors can now take a look around Lenin's former living quarters, as well as the assembly hall where he gave speeches to party members and followers.

Smolny Palace
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