TODAY

TODAY   |  February 13, 2014

‘A very special city’: Tour St. Petersburg’s

The country’s imperial past comes alive in Russia’s second-largest city, where it is easy to imagine the nobility and royalty who once called it home. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> moscow may be the capital of russia but st. petersburg is often described as it's culture c capital.

>> and nancy schneiderman was lucky enough to go see it all.

>> it is one of the must-do cities now forever. if you want to feel old russia , the feeling is the czars are yesteryear are very much alive today.

>> reporter: there are places in the world where it seems as if history's ghosts are among us still. st. petersburg is just such a place. the graceful boulevards and buildings were designed to showcase the grandeur of the romanov deen ynasty, which ruled this nation for 300 years. wherever you look here, russia 's imperial past comes alive and it is easy to imagine the fortunate few, the nobility and royalty, who called the city home.

>> the aristocracy was comprised of roughly 100 families who had ancient lineages, extreme wealth and centuries of service to the czars of russia . it was about money, breeding, history, pedigree and past.

>> reporter: so much of what we understand as quintessentially russian culture , arts, literature and music was born in the aristocracy. even $ leader of the revolution was the son of a nobleman.

>> he's really very special, not only for russia but for the whole world.

>> reporter: this doctor is the woman behind the restoration of the cathedral. so a descendant of the romanov family , regardless of where he or she lives in the world, may still come here and ask to be buried here?

>> yes.

>> reporter: but you don't need a drop of royal blood to experience life as it was once lived. at this restaurant founded 300 years ago, aristocratic cuisine is the specialty. and just outside in the woods where catherine the great surveyed her empire, even a commoner can feel like a princess. yes, it was the treat of a lifetime, a ride in the snow in st. petersburg . i've always said this is a city that should be on everyone's must-do list. i think it is so glisenning, it should be on everyone's bucket list . do not leave this world without going there.

>> good caviar.