Simply a must! The Pulkovo Obesrvatory has always been among my top favorite places in Saint Petersburg. I can visit it over and over again. After the madness of the big city, it is literarily a breath of fresh air.
To get here, you have to take a mini bus at Moscovskaya metro station (the one which goes toward Gatchina or Pushkin). It can be found on a hill right after the Pulkovo Airport.
This astronomical observatory was founded in 1839 under the patronage of the Russian emperor Nicholas I. The 38-centimetre (15-inch) refracting telescope was, in 1839, the largest in the world, and the observatory was notable from the beginning for the quality of observations made there. In 1878, a 76-centimetre (30-inch) refractor was built, the largest in the world for about 10 years.
During the siege of Leningrad (1941–1944), the Observatory became the target of fierce German air raids and artillery bombardment. Destroyed during World War II, the observatory was rebuilt and reopened in 1954.
It is still functioning now, but there is a general feeling of decline, which I personally love. On the vast territory of the high, uncut grass, there are unusual structures scattered everywhere. I have always thought it looked like an intergalactic hotel complex, which accommodated visitors from outer space who came to Earth to participate in some important space conference.:)
You can’t get inside of any of those, but it is impressive enough from the outside, trust me. There is something magical about being here. Walking though the fields of dandelions… from one structure to another, meeting occasional people who perhaps work and live here (but judging by their clothes, they actually look like time travelers), the quietness of this place, the plinths for nonexistent sculptures…
For me, there is nothing better than spending a day here when I am in Saint Petersburg.