The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, June 25, 2018

Legal highs: Rooftop tours offer fresh look at Saint Petersburg
Tourists look at the city during a visit to the first official tour of the roofs in St. Petersburg on August 11, 2017. OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP.

by Marina Koreneva

SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP).- Standing on a roof in central Saint Petersburg, Marta Granadeiro gasped as she watched the statues on the Hermitage Museum's facade gleam in the sunset.

"We wanted to see something extraordinary in Saint Petersburg and now we have," said Granadeiro, a 23-year-old Spanish tourist who climbed onto the roof of an apartment building on a tour organised by a local tourism agency.

The rusty rooftops of Russia's tsarist-era capital, with its romantic skyline of elegant onion domes and pre-revolutionary buildings, have long been a coveted destination for illegal excursions.

To convince officials to let tourists admire the city from above, the agency PanoramicRoof spent four years navigating bureaucratic hoops to get the necessary permits.

"I had this idea after getting my wedding photos taken on Saint Petersburg's roofs," said Anastasiya Krasitskaya, the agency's coordinator. "It was fantastic but dangerous and uncomfortable, the roof was slippery, and all in all it was stressful."

Previously tourists could only surreptitiously access the building's roof. Those living in the flats below sometimes called the police when they spotted visitors clambering up the stairwell.

Eventually the agency decided to strike a deal with the residents, offering to repair the stairwell in exchange for access to the roof.

Only for foreigners?
The city of 5.3 million annually draws in throngs of visitors -- 6.9 million in 2016 -- eager to see sights associated with the rule of the Russian monarchs and gape at its museum collections.

But some tourists are also drawn to go off the beaten path for a more adventurous experience.

Rooftops offer the best view of the city's skyline, which has remained lowrise in the historic centre.

The city's 18th-century founder Tsar Peter the Great ordered architects not to build anything higher than the Peter and Paul Fortress: 122.5 metres (402 feet).

Alexander Semyonov, the head of PanoramicRoof, took five tourists through the building's attic, heading toward the roof.

Before going out to the open air, he repeated safety instructions: don't walk too fast and carefully follow the guide. He distributed hard hats and binoculars.

"Safety is paramount," Semyonov told the tourists, who were busy snapping photos.

They proceeded carefully along the crest of the roof, gripping a metre-high metal barrier to avoid slipping down the slope.

For Andrei Stepanov, who takes groups on more clandestine outings, PanoramicRoof's trip is too tame and "mostly for the elderly and for foreigners".

For him going the official route is a waste of time: residents rarely make a fuss and even when they do, the fine is only 500 rubles ($8, seven euros).

He said the agency charges too much (500 to 700 rubles) and only skims the surface of the city's world of rooftops.

"For that price, we can arrange a visit to several roofs, and even walk along from one to another, to take in more views," he said.

"That's what's extraordinary, not any officially sanctioned visit."

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

September 2, 2017

US construction crew finds 66-million-year-old triceratops skeleton in Colorado

Going Public brings work by some of the most important artists of the past 75 years to Sheffield

Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale to take place on 3 October

Ai Weiwei showcases refugee epic in Venice

Michael Brennand Wood 'Between Thought and Expression' opens at The Harley Gallery

Galerie Magda Danysz introduces James McNabb's most recent wooden sculptures

'Scraps' exhibition features creative approaches to reducing waste in textile industry

Major exhibition of brand new works by the artist Michael Kvium opens at ARKEN

Kehrer Galerie opens exhibition of works by photographers Mário Macilau and Malte Wandel

One of four pre-fire Chicago maps by J.T. Palmatary highlights Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' auction

Lucy Bell Gallery opens exhibition of photographs by Bruce Rae

Grayson Perry appears in Bethlem Gallery show to mark its 20th anniversary

Bass & Reiner opens first show with San Francisco based artist David Bayus

End of the line for Cambodia's homegrown 'Bamboo Train'

Redford and Fonda keep sexual spark alive, 50 years on

University of Richmond Museums announces opening of fall exhibitions

Exhibition and story exchange explores history, future of mass incarceration

Legal highs: Rooftop tours offer fresh look at Saint Petersburg

Richard Anderson, actor in "The Six Million Dollar Man," dead at 91

Akron Art Museum opens "Micro/Macro: Views of Earth by Marilyn Bridges and Jeannette Klute"

MIT List Visual Arts Center announces curatorial promotions and new appointment

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Galerie Miranda opens exhibition of works by Marina Berio

2.- Restorers unveil original face of Belgium's 'Mystic Lamb'

3.- Classic Beauties unveils the sensual enchantment of Neoclassicism

4.- Exhibition presents a dramatic survey of five hundred years of Spanish painting

5.- Glasgow blaze guts one of world's top art schools - again

6.- The Prado opens the first major monographic exhibition on Lorenzo Lotto's portraits

7.- Cleveland Museum of Art announces new acquisitions

8.- A record setting necklace, diamonds & gemstones propel $1.9 million in jewelry sales at Rago in June

9.- Czech Art Nouveau painter Mucha's masterpiece finds home after 90 years

10.- Exhibition at The Laing Art Gallery explores the garden as a "stage" for the extraordinary

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful