Vast Palace Square has long been the heart of both St. Petersburg and the entire Russian empire. The Winter Palace was once the home of the country’s czars and today houses the Hermitage Museum. Facing it is the crescent of the General Staff Building, now also part of the Hermitage. In the square’s center, the enormous Alexander Column of red granite, topped by a statue of Czar Alexander I, reaches a height of 155 feet, one of the tallest and heaviest columns in the world.
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