About Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and was once the imperial capital until the Russian Revolution. It is the most northern city in the world with a population of over one million. Founded by the Tsar Peter the Great in 1703, the city has since been the epitome of modernization and cultural revolution within the country.
The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg constitutes as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its architectural heritage, which fuses very different Baroque and pure neoclassical styles, such as with the Winter Palace, which was once the residence of the Russian monarchs. In addition, the city is renowned for its numerous canals and bridges, earning Saint Petersburg the name of the Venice of the North.
The Hermitage, an internationally known museum of art and culture, also resides in Saint Petersburg. Opened by Catherine the Great in 1764, the museum now boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world. Its collections range from the Egyptian exposition to its display of modern art.
The Governor of Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Yakovlev, and the Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem, Ziad Al Bandak at a special meeting of representatives from multiple Arab countries, signed the cooperation agreement in 2003.
Both cities expressed their wish to translate the symbolic gesture into genuine work on the ground and fruitful cooperation between their respective citizens, as well as to exchange suggestions on projects and programs for their mutual benefit.
In January 2013, on the 10-year anniversary of the cooperation between Bethlehem and Saint Petersburg, the Governor of Saint Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko, visited Bethlehem, and inaugurated Putin roundabout in town.
On the 13th of April 2015, the Mayor of Bethlehem, Ms. Vera Baboun, visited Saint Petersburg and met its vice Governor, Alexander Govorunov. The meeting aimed at building bridges of communication and deepening the forms of cooperation in various fields, including participation in the renovation projects of AlNejma Street, as well as the restoration of the Church of the Nativity and the center of the city of Bethlehem. In addition to sending Russian teachers and trainers to participate in the completion of the Putin Center in Bethlehem, which would provide short courses and training workshops, in addition to scientific and academic support for the development of programs related to music, singing, painting, sculpture and acting.
The visit to Saint Petersburg also included the renewal of the cooperation agreement, which was signed for a period of up to 3 years, which includes programs for bilateral cooperation in various fields, comprising cultural, scientific, tourism, sports and economic. This agreement aimed at pushing the interaction between Saint Petersburg and Bethlehem into new and more effective stages. Moreover, Ms. Vera Baboun met with the Urban Planning and Architecture Committee. She also visited the Faculty of Orientalism at Saint Petersburg State University, and the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences to observe the Arabic and Oriental manuscripts there.