Los Angeles Times

40. St. Petersburg, Russia

Of the glorious, never-to-be-forgotten St. Petersburg nights, the first was spent at the Great Hall of the Philharmonia on Arts Square. The building, where nobles once gathered to listen to the czar, is noted for its acoustics. It also played an important role during the German siege of St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), when vodka distilleries went into the business of manufacturing Molotov cocktails, circus animals were butchered for meat and the Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great on Decembrists' Square was covered in sandbags to protect it from military attack. At the Philharmonia in August 1942, the starving city's spirits were raised by the debut performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, also known as the "Leningrad" Symphony. >> Read more Pictured: Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul Dmitry Lovetsky / Associated Press
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