STANDING on a roof in central Saint Petersburg, Marta Granadeiro gasped as she watched the statues on the Hermitage Museum’s facade gleam in the sunset.
“We wanted to see something extraordinary in Saint Petersburg and now we have,” said Granadeiro, a 23-year-old Spanish tourist who climbed onto the roof of an apartment building on a tour organised by a local tourism agency.
The rusty rooftops of Russia’s tsarist-era capital, with its romantic skyline of elegant onion domes and pre-revolutionary buildings, have long been a coveted destination for illegal excursions.
To convince officials to let tourists admire the city from above, the agency PanoramicRoof spent four years navigating bureaucratic hoops to get the necessary permits.
“I had this idea after getting my wedding photos taken on Saint Petersburg’s roofs,” said Anastasiya Krasitskaya, the agency’s coordinator. “It was fantastic but dangerous and uncomfortable, the roof was slippery, and all in all it was stressful.” Rooftop tours offer fresh look at Saint Petersburg