Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург, tr. Sankt-Peterburg, IPA: [sankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk] ( listen)) is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (Russian: Петроград, IPA: [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat]), in 1924 to Leningrad (Russian: Ленинград, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), and in 1991, back to Saint Petersburg.
In Russian literature, informal documents, and discourse, the “Saint” (Санкт-) is usually omitted, leaving Petersburg (Петербург, Peterburg). In common parlance Russians may drop “-burg” (-бург) as well, referring to it as Pieter (Питер, Russian: [ˈpʲitʲɪr]).
Saint Petersburg was founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on May 27 [O.S. 16] 1703. From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia. In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) to Moscow. It is Russia’s second largest city after Moscow with 5 million inhabitants (2012) and the fourth most populated federal subject. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center, and also an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.
Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. It is the northernmost city in the world to have a population of over one million. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.