Frosted Windows: 300 Years of St. Petersburg Through Western Eyes

A window lets in light from both sides. But in damp northern climes, it’s often through a glass darkly, be it during the foggy days and White Nights of mid-summer or on snowy evenings surrounding the Winter Solstice when window-panes are frosted and folks darken the chandelier or blow out the candles and crawl early into feather-beds.

Peter the Great’s Sankt Pieter Burkh, founded 300 years ago this year as his “Window on the West,” tempted Europe and the West, much like The Little Match Girl on the coldest night of the year, to come in spiritual and intellectual hunger and in hopes of feeling the warmth and seeing the light-in-the-East they could make out through the almost opaque Petersburg crystal.