About Saint Petersburg

It is the world’s largest, most northern city: the 60th parallel, on which the city lies, passes through Greenland, Anchorage, Alaska, Magadan, and Oslo, the capital of Norway. Saint Petersburg is the largest city in Europe that is not a capital. Since the beginning of the 19th century, it has had the fourth highest population in Europe, at times exceeding Berlin, Vienna, Naples, and Moscow, but remaining behind Paris and London.

The territory under Saint Petersburg’s jurisdiction totals 1,439 square kilometres. It is located next to the eastern tip of the Gulf of Finland, the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. Standing at the intersection of various sea, river, and land routes, Saint Petersburg is Russia’s gateway to Europe and the country’s strategic centre, the point closest to the countries of the European Union. It is home to the representative offices of international organizations, consulates of various nations, and the offices of federal ministries and agencies.

Saint Petersburg is the administrative centre of the Northwestern Federal District, which includes the Republic of Karelia, the Komi Republic, the Arkhangelsk Region, the Vologda Region, the Kaliningrad Region, the Leningrad Region, the Murmansk Region, the Novgorod Region, the Pskov Region, and the Nenets Autonomous Area.

Saint Petersburg has more bridges than any other city in Europe, and is runner-up in the number of canals and islands. If you include the suburbs, the city has no less than 93 rivers, tributaries, branches, and canals, 170 kilometres of coastline, 42 islands, and 800 bridges.

Local currency and exchange rate:

The rouble is the official currency of the Russian Federation. For the latest exchange rates, please see the Central Bank of Russia website: www.cbr.ru.

All the main types of payment cards are accepted in Russia, including Visa, MasterCard, Mir, UnionPay, American Express, Diners Club, and Discover. Although payment cards are accepted in most restaurants and many stores in Saint Petersburg, participants are advised to have some cash at hand.

Exchanging currency:

Dollars and euros can be exchanged at almost any bank office or special exchange office (some open 24h) upon presentation of passport. Other currencies are normally only changeable at larger banks or central exchange offices. Commission is normally negligible.


The city’s northern location, its proximity to the sea and its large water area do much to determine the specific climate of Saint Petersburg, with its short winter days, white nights in summer (from late May till mid-July), and frequent and dramatic weather changes. The climate is humid, almost maritime, with moderately warm summers and quite long winters. The average temperature in September is +12°С (+53.6°F).

Given the probable rapid weather changes in Saint Petersburg, it is advisable to prepare in advance for sudden changes in the temperature and the weather in general.

Dress code:

For attendance at the sessions of the Assembly: Informal attire is recommended (no necktie for men). The rooms where the meetings will be held are air-conditioned.

For attendance at evening social events: Long-sleeved shirts and neckties are recommended for men and formal attire for women.

Official language: The official language of the Russian Federation is Russian. English is widely spoken among young people.

Local time: Saint Petersburg is located in the GMT+3 time zone.

Electricity: The power supply voltage in Russia is 220V (50–60Hz). Type C and F sockets are common.

Health requirements and precautions: No vaccinations are required to enter the Russian Federation.

Insurance: Participants are advised to buy a voluntary medical insurance policy for foreigners, available by pre-order or for purchase upon arrival.

Insurance of foreign citizens visiting Russia is a popular service offered by many insurance companies throughout the country.

Policies for foreign citizens may cover the following risks:

           medical expenses;


           accidents; and

           other risks upon request.

Telephones: Saint Petersburg operators offer a variety of mobile telecommunications services in the GSM, UMTS and LTE standards. Guests to the city may acquire SIM cards of local mobile operators. All mobile operators provide mobile Internet services.

In accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation, a participant must be physically present and show a passport (passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation or a passport of a foreign citizen) in order to purchase a SIM card and sign a contract for the provision of mobile communication services.

Please note: before using the services of a foreign operator on the territory of Russia, it is advisable to find out more about the tariffs for roaming services.

Telephone code of Russia: +7 (or 8 for long-distance calls within Russia).

Telephone code of Saint Petersburg: 812.

How to call to Saint Petersburg:

1)  In Russia from a landline:

enter the code (8 812)

dial the 7-digit phone number

2)  In Russia from a mobile phone:

enter the code (+7 812)

dial the 7-digit phone number

3)  In other countries from a landline:

enter the code (00 (country code) 7 812)

dial the 7-digit phone number

4)  In other countries from a mobile phone:

enter the code (+7 812)

dial the 7-digit phone number

How to call from Saint Petersburg:

1)  To another country from a mobile phone:

dial the code for an international line: (8 10), “+” or other

dial the code of the country and city you are calling

dial the subscriber’s number

2)  To another country from a landline:

dial the code for an international line: (8 10)

dial the code of the country and city (operator) you are calling

dial the subscriber‘s number

Tips and taxes: In Russia, tipping is voluntary. In hotels, tips are appreciated for bellhops and cleaning services. Around $1-$3 USD per bag and $2-$4 USD per day for cleaning. At restaurants, tip between 10-15% depending on service.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): Travellers who carry internationally recognized credit cards can get cash in the local currency at ATMs. The commission depends both on the ATM and the bank that issued the credit card.

Business hours: Government offices and banks are open from 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch break at noon or at 1 p.m.) on weekdays, and are closed on weekends. Some banks are also open on Saturday. Different banks may have different office hours. Post offices are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday (with a one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.) and closed on Sunday. Hospitals provide 24-hour emergency services. Most pharmacies open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some are open 24 hours a day. Most department stores are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday.

Emergency phone numbers:

Rescue service (for mobile network subscribers): 112

City emergency services:

Rescue service: 101 (from a mobile phone), 01

Police: 102 (from a mobile phone), 02

Emergency medical service: 103 (from a mobile phone), 03

Free enquiry service (around the clock): 064