The ‘roof’ photo guide to St. Petersburg

Rooftop excursions in St. Petersburg are a common tourist activity. It’s not a big deal to find someone who will save you time — and possibly your life.

Rooftop excursions in St. Petersburg are a common tourist activity. It’s not a big deal to find someone who will save you time — and possibly your life.

ANDREI OREKHOV
Everything you wanted to know about roofs (but were afraid to ask).
‘Roofing’ is a popular way of exploring St. Petersburg. It differs from roofing in other Russian cities.
Why? You can see many old buildings with the roofs, that gives an amazing view.
Skyscrapers and high buildings are forbidden in the center of St. Petersburg, so nothing will obstruct the view.
What you can see on high? The views are mostly ‘local’, i.e. you’ll see a bridge, a nice street, some narrow alleys, cathedrals, and a St. Petersburg feature — well house guards.
Apartment blocks in St. Petersburg are placed close to each other, so you might end up on the roof of the adjacent building.
The first challenge is to open the door — which will require someone on the inside. However, there are some universal keys that open the majority of doors.
If you don’t have any local friends that could help you to get in, you need to wait for someone to enter the building.
Is it dangerous? Yes. Roofing and danger go hand in hand. You need to be very careful, better to explore the city’s best roofs with a local guide who knows where to go.
According to Russian law, roofing is not illegal, but locals might object to you clambering over their roofs.
Where to see the best view? No roofer will tell you about the best-kept secrets. But some famous places to see are the roofs of the buildings along the Neva river, on the bank of the Moyka river, or along the Fontanka and Griboedov canals.
If the police are called, it might spoil your day. The fine for hooliganism is currently $7.5.
How to access your chosen roof? The main thing is you need to be smart and persistent.
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