Saint Petersburg has changed names several times. From 1914 to 1924 it was called Petrograd, which changed to Leningrad from 1924 to 1991, before a 1991 referendum gave it back its original name.
Saint Petersburg is a first-rate center of art and culture. The State Hermitage Museum, with its 3 million items occupying nearly 1,000 rooms, is one of the world's largest. Since the city is in the north of the country, for 2 or 3 weeks every month of June the sun doesn't set: those "white nights" which coincide with the end of the school year, are celebrated with an international festival.
From its founding in the early 20th century, Saint Petersburg has been the country's principal center of intellectual, scientific, and political life. In the 19th century, the city had already become the main commercial and military port of Russia and the second industrial center after Moscow. It was in Saint Petersburg that the Soviet Revolution of 1917 erupted, which ended in the Bolshevik victory.