Russians are superstitious folk. We do a whole lot of strange or unusual things to ward off the bad luck and welcome in a bit of good luck. And you never know when not whistling indoors might prevent an economic breakdown or a timely sneeze will prove you right.
Trust us, you don't really need a genie to make your wishes come true – the magic you seek is just around you. And St. Petersburg is no exception: it is famous for its fairytale looks, so there is no wonder that it has some truly magical places, too. So, where better to make your dreams turn into reality?
Follow our route! Here are some lucky sights in St. Petersburg that you really shouldn’t miss; after all, you do want your time in Russia to be lucky (and it’s also good for your hand-eye coordination):
One of the street's main attractions is its fountain with a granite kugel ball spinning freely in jets of water. You should throw a coin into the fountain and then give the ball as many turns as the number of the step the coin fell on, and be sure that your wish will come true soon-ish (depends on your good luck and the number of turns). An easy thing to do in summer and not so easy-peasy in winter – but you can still throw a ruble for good luck even in your mittens.
Cat Elisey and Cat Vasilisa
St. Petersburg is a very cat-friendly city. You can find them hiding under cafe tables, living in museums, and lurking around the streets. And this street is no exception, although it is a memorial dedicated to the city’s defenders, cats Elisey and Vasilisa. They are hard to find, hidden in nooks and crannies of a building, but if you spot them, don’t miss out on the chance to experience their magic. Locals believe that these two cats can make a wish come true. The only requirement: getting a coin up on the banister next to them. Elisey may also help you out in your studies (a pretty generous offer from a cat, don't you think?).
This tiny little bronze bird is a beloved symbol of the city and sometimes people love it so much they want to take it home with them (it actually happened not once but seven times). A local legend goes that if your coin lands on its shelf, your wish will come true. And if you are a newlywed (well, congratulations!), you definitely should take a shot glass (not a call to drink, water will do) and lower it down to Chizhik on a rope and clink the glass on the bird’s beak while making a wish. And voila! You are one step closer to passing your hand-eye coordination test and to your own happily-ever-after.
Atlas Statue at the Entrance of New Hermitage
These imposing sculptures by the entrance of the New Hermitage are pretty hard to miss (or at least their huge toes are). Maybe it’s your lucky place – touch the big toe of one of the granite giants and make a wish.
Tonya the Hippo
In the yard of St. Petersburg State University’s Faculty of Philology, there is a nice chubby female hippopotamus named Tonya. Well, it’s not an ordinary hippo but a magical one that is associated with a romantic yet tragic story. Local Romeo and Juliet who were head over heels in love with each other decided to be together at least on the other side and jumped into the Neva. But a miracle happened: a hippo swam in the river (nothing strange, just a typical day in St. Petersburg) and the lovers seized its ears and escaped. So, if you like the story and seek your true love, then just hold on to its right (for women) or left (for men) ear, and let the magic do its thing.
If you are enjoying your time in St. Petersburg (as much as we do) and don’t want to leave, head to your favorite spot and make a wish: all your need is water, a coin, and your left shoulder to toss the coin over. Go ahead, believe in magic, or just have fun!