There are over 40 institutions of higher learning in St. Petersburg. Of St. Petersburg University, with about 20,000 students, is one of Russia's largest universities.
The Conservatory of Music, established in 1862, is the nation's oldest music school. Its graduates include such famous composers as Sergei Prokofiev, Dimitri Shostakovich, and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. The Choreographic School trained such famous ballet dancers as Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, and Anna Pavlova.
St. Petersburg is the home of many fine museums and theatres. The Hermitage, the largest museum in Russia, is known throughout the world for its masterpieces. It exhibits outstanding collections of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture; Islamic art; and Baroque, Renaissance, and French impressionist paintings. The Russian Museum has a large collection of Russian art. The Kirov Theatre presents ballet and opera. Dramatic productions are offered by several theatres, including the Gorky Academic Theatre, the Pushkin Theatre, and the Young Spectators' Theatre.
The city has an important place in Russian literature. A number of famous Russian authors have used St. Petersburg as a background for many of their works. These writers include Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Andrey Bely.
The city has an efficient public transportation system of buses, streetcars, subway and commuter trains. The city has such problems as air pollution and overcrowding. But it has far less crime than many cities of similar size.
St. Petersburg has been a major shipbuilding centre since the early 1700's. During the 1800s, it became an important manufacturer of machine tools. Today, the production of machinery makes up about 40 % of the city's industry. Other important products include chemicals, electrical equipment, textiles, nuclear reactors, and timber.
St. Petersburg's industry and location make it an important trade and distribution centre. The city has an excellent port and is served by 12 railroads.