Last time, I talked about the official name of St. Petersburg and its original and changes over time. This time, I would like to introduce you some nicknames of St. Petersburg. Like many other cities in the world, St. Petersburg has different nicknames (别名) throughout time. For example, the most straightforward one would be "The Northern Capital of Russia", for it was a capital (首都) of Russia located on the north. Another example is "The Palmyra (帕尔米拉) of the North" because St. Petersburg is also famous for its architecture. St. Petersburg is also referred to as "The Venice (威尼斯) of the North", which is also the topic of today.
When you think of Venice, you may immediately think of a city built on water with hundreds of canals (运河) and bridges (桥), which is also how St. Petersburg appears. However, Venice is not the blueprint (蓝图) of St. Petersburg. What do I mean? The story goes all the way back to the origin of St. Petersburg.
I hope you still remember that Peter the Great decided and ordered to build this new capital. Unlike other Russian cities, Peter the Great took a city in another European country as a sample to build up this new city. But, as I have already mentioned, Peter the Great did not design his new city by inspired by Venice, then where did he take the inspiration? The answer is Amsterdam (阿姆斯特丹), the Netherlands (尼德兰).
When Peter the Great was young, he travelled around Europe to learn, and Amsterdam was one of his stops. He spent a great deal of time in the Netherlands: stayed in Amsterdam for four months, worked in the Dutch East India Company's shipyard（东印度公司）. We cannot ignore that this long stay in the Netherlands should have a notable influence on his plan.
On the other hand, Peter the Great missed Venice. After his visit to England in 1698, he got back to Russia because an uprising (起义) happening in Moscow. As such, he had never stepped foot on Venice or Italy. Having said that, Peter hired Italian architects (建筑师) to build the city and buildings. For example, Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli (卡洛．巴尔托洛梅奥．拉斯特雷利) was invited to work in St. Petersburg in early 18 century and helped with building fountains (喷泉) in Peterhof Palace (彼得夏宫). In short, the nickname of "The Venice of the North" may capture the appearance of St. Petersburg, but history tells us that calling it "The Amsterdam of the North" may seem to be more accurate.■米奇 中大通识硕士，工作数年又跑去英国留学，顺道看看外国文化