Tag Archives: St. Petersburg

The harmony of Amsterdam

When in Amsterdam, close your eyes and  you will see Rembrandt walking , pausing now and then to admire the miracle of a town which still preserves secret places and secret memories, a mixture of past and present. But what struck me the most the first time I went to Amsterdam was the harmony of proportions between  the size of the buildings and  the breadth of the canals and of the quays, and the trees along them.

The canals of Amsterdam creating avenues of water reminded me of St. Petersburg,  And  in my guidebook I found confirmation to this. Tsar Peter the Great was inspired by all this when planning St Petersburg. The design of the Russian town was entrusted to various architects (mostly Italian) and the resemblance is striking. My guide also pointed out  that  a painting by Berckheyde of 1685 shows the curve of the Herengracht, also known as ‘Golden Bend’ since it brought together the most luxurious and the most beautiful patrician residences and that walking around St Petersburg one is reminded of that old picture of the Herengracht.