A full day's sightseeing includes the Peter and Paul Fortress. Located on Zayachy Island, it was designed to defend newly conquered lands obtained from Sweden. Formerly a political prison, it is now a museum. Members of the Romanov dynasty are buried in the cathedral of the same name, which is also the oldest church in St. Petersburg. From here, continue to St. Isaac's Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the skyline. The cathedral's construction began in 1818 and was not completed until 1858. Sculptures and massive red granite columns ornament the façade, while the interior is even more lavishly decorated with mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli.
Your tour includes a visit to the Yusupov Palace, a marvel of 18th and 19th century architecture, which lies on a quiet stretch of the Moika River. Home to one of the wealthiest and most powerful Russian families prior to the Revolution, this location will forever be associated with the murder of the infamous Siberian mystic Grigory Rasputin by Prince Felix Yusupov and his fellow conspirators in December of 1916.