St Petersburg

St Petersburg is a fascinating city, from the wonderful architecture to the many treasures held in the Hermitage museum. It may surprise you that the city is relatively new, it was only founded at the beginning of the 18th century when Peter the Great captured Swedish outposts along the river Neva and founded the Peter & Paul fortress. In its time, it has also been renamed Petrograd and Leningrad before converting back to its original name. Despite its violent history, St Petersburg has a somewhat fairytale charm and is often referred to as the “Venice of the North” with its many waterways.

There are a lot of things you can do and see in St Petersburg. Below are a few suggestions of where to visit.

Museums

If you are interested in history, I suggest you visiting one of the world’s most famous museums, the Hermitage, home to around 3 million works of art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Here you can study stone and bone figurines from the Palaeolithic age, admire jewelery made by the iconic FabergĂ© and see how armies were protected by different types of Armour.

Often overlooked in favor of the Hermitage, the Russian Museum is also a treasure trove of fine art. Famed for its many paintings, it also houses sculptures, folk handicrafts, engravings, medals and coins. A fascinating insight into Russian art and culture.

Cathedrals

Prepare to be impressed by the cathedrals of Kazan and St Isaacs. Constructed at the beginning of the 19th century, Kazan was inspired by St Peters Basilica in Rome. From 1932 until recently, the cathedral did not hold any services and became home to collections of the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. The cathedral now holds services but shares its premises with the museum, although the word atheism has been removed from the latter title. If you’re feeling fit, you can climb the 300 or so steps to the base of the dome of St Isaacs to admire the spectacular views across the city. Inside marvel at the columns made of single pieces of red granite that weigh around 80 tons each.

Royal history

Winter Palace, also home to the Hermitage Museum. A masterpiece of baroque architecture, the Winter Palace lays claim to 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows and 1,057 elegantly and lavishly decorated halls and rooms. Alternatively, stroll through the Summer Garden to the Summer Palace, so called because it had no heating and was intended only for summer time use. Consisting of two stories with 7 rooms each, the palace was restored after WWII and houses became a collection of 18th century artifacts, mainly from Peter the Great.

You can also pay your respects to the Romanov family at the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is inside the fortress and contains the tombs of the imperial royal family. It wasn’t until 9 years ago the murdered Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and children were interred at the cathedral after having lain buried in a pit for many years.

In the Navy

The historical battleship the Aurora (not to be confused with the P&O cruise ship!) started out life taking part in the Russo-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th century before being used for training. She’s also given the signal to start the storming of the Winter Palace and her guns were used on St Petersburg’s defenses during WWII and the 900-day siege of Leningrad. Fortunately, life is more peaceful for her now as a floating museum, full of history about her life.

Take a stroll through the Admiraltys gardens, which are particularly beautiful in height of the summer. Originally designed as a dockyard, the Admiralty was then fortified to become a city defense and was Russia naval headquarters until 1917. The landmark is now a naval college and is the focal point of the main streets of Nevsky Prospect, Gorokhovaia Street and Voznesensky Prospect.

A walk in the park

Take a walk through the Botanical Garden, originally an apothecary (an early pharmacist to you and me) garden where medicinal plants and herbs were grown it soon extended its collection to include rare and exotic plants. One of the more unusual exhibits is the Queen of the Night, which flowers for one night only every May.

If you visit the Russian Museum, why not meander through Michael Garden which adjoins it. In its time the garden has served as a formal French garden, hunting reserve, nursery and a place for horseback riding. Nowadays it is an interesting combination of regular French style around the outside and English landscape in the middle.

Shop until you drop

Many of us remember images of barely stocked Russian shops with unimaginative goods for sale. There’s now plenty to attract shopaholics, from art and antiques to books and souvenirs. Why not pick up some original, local artwork, a rare edition of a classic Russian novel, amber jewelery or iconic matryoshki (nesting dolls)? The best areas for shopping are to be found at Nevsky Prospekt or Bolshoi Prospekt on Vasilyevsky Island.

These are just some of the many highlights of St Petersburg. With so much to see and do, you’ll find yourself going back again and again. Most cruise lines offer itineraries that include St Petersburg, such as Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O, Costa, Cunard, Celebrity and Fred Olesen. So what’s stopping you? Make St Petersburg your next stop.

Creative and Innovative Colorado Real Estate Broker

There are many beautiful homes in Colorado and it is currently one of the most exciting places in the United States when it comes to real estate. The many excellent commercial establishments in the area, such as shopping malls, restaurants and leisure centers have driven the prices of real estate up. Beautiful parks and schools and community centers have also contributed greatly to the boom. Indeed, now is the perfect time to find property. Many existing homeowners who have bought properties before the boom are now benefiting from it. There is still time to take advantage of the real estate boom but you have to act fast and immediately look for a Denver Metro realtor. Proof of the real estate boom in Parker are the many new developments being built in the area.

There are many types of real estate available in Colorado. For sure there is one that is perfect for you and your family. Whether you are looking for retreat homes, vacation homes, family homes, small cabins or a vast country estate, you can find it in the Colorado area. There are many prime areas, these include Highlands Ranch, Parker, Littleton, Castle Rock, The Pinery, and Aurora. If you don’t want to move in to a ready-built home, then you have the option of having your property constructed based on your specifications. This way, you’ll have a hand on how your home will look and feel.

Colorado also has a growing and very diverse population. There you can find singles, young and old couples and senior citizens mingling with each other. For sure, you will make new friends immediately if you move in to Colorado. Different religions and faiths are also well represented. So whatever your faith is, practicing it would not be a problem. And if you are looking for some nightlife you will not be disappointed with what we can offer. Colorado is home to many clubs, bars, casinos and other recreational facilities.

If you are planning to buy property in Colorado then it is highly advisable that you search for a reliable and knowledgeable real estate broker.

Denver Housing Market on the Rise

Despite economic trends, the Denver housing market is recovering slowly but surely. Although much of the nation’s housing market continues to struggle, the Denver area has seen some significant gains in the past year and many believe that there is reason to be positive about the future of the housing market in Denver. According to the National Board of Realtors most recent report, which drew from current economic trends for the area, such as job growth, as well as historical real estate appreciation for the area, placed the Denver housing market among the top five cities in which to purchase a home.

Additionally, Zillow.com states that Metropolitan Denver Real Estate was the leader in the total dollar gain throughout the United States in 2009. The homes that saw the biggest gains in 2009 were homes in Indian Hills, Meridian, Thornton, Twin Lakes, Todd Creek, and Westminster.

Although Denver’s housing market has stabilized over the past few months and there are overall positive trends in real estate in the Denver area, sellers are still cautions and their homes are competing with a record number of foreclosed properties. While this fact hasn’t affected Denver luxury homes, owners of homes at lower price points are feeling this pressure. Right now, Denver has a months supply of homes ranging from seven to ten depending on what area you’re looking at. Six months of inventory is considered the equilibrium point where the market is not more advantageous for buyers or sellers. Therefore, Denver is currently in what is considered a buyer’s market. This means that the housing inventory is 17 percent lower than it was a year ago, and close to 2 percent lower than it was a month ago, which are good signs for a recovery and making this one of the best times in recent history to buy a home in the Denver real estate market. Interest rates are around 4.85%, and there is a great selection of homes on the market.

Given the current market conditions in the Denver area, now more than ever it is critical to select the right real estate agent to represent you. For sellers, choosing the right real estate agent means taking advantage of the market and capitalizing on their investment. Also for sellers, this could also mean the difference between accurately pricing their property from the start which could result in selling within weeks or having to wait months for a sale most likely at a lower price. For buyers, choosing the right real estate agent means making the right choice when buying a home in Denver. Real estate agents can help buyers recognize that not every area of the city is increasing in value, so what may seem like a good deal could be a poor choice in the long run. A home is one of the biggest investments for both buyers and sellers; therefore the use of an agent who is experienced and has a vast knowledge of the Denver housing market could be the difference between successfully buying or selling a property or making regrettable decisions that will affect your future.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Denver area, consider using the services of Very Nice Homes. The realtors at Very Nice Homes are licensed realtors in the State of Colorado who offer free services to buyers and full service and discounted commission plans to sellers. Very Nice Homes is a Metro Denver Colorado real estate firm that offers a daily updated database of over 30,000 local home listings.