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View of Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, RussiaThis period was both brilliant and troublesome. It started with the splendid coronation of Nicholas II in Moscow, which ended with the Khodynka disaster with thousands of casualties. It ended with the cruelest of wars - WWI. However, in the early 1900s St. Petersburg was obsessed with celebrations.

In 1902 bureaucratic St. Petersburg celebrated 100 years of the government reform of Alexander I - the establishing of the ministries.

In May 1903 St Petersburg celebrated its 200th anniversary. The new Troitski (Trinity) Bridge was officially opened in the royal presence and then a church service took place at Senatskaya square next to the Bronze Horseman, the monument to the founder of the city.

The trouble came in 1905. In January 1905 a peaceful demonstration of workers was fired on by troops at the Palace Square. This led to public outrage and the start of the 1905-07 Revolution. The events of January 9, 1905 became known as "Bloody Sunday". On October 17, 1905 Nicholas II had to issue a manifesto proclaiming a number of civil rights and instituting a new parliament, consisting of the Duma and the reformed State Council.

The opening of the Duma in 1906 gave fresh grounds for hope to thousands of liberals in the intelligentsia. The district where the Duma was located soon became one of the most popular residential areas. However, the hope was short lived. The government curtailed many of the freedoms and blocked many of the Duma's initiatives. In the end, when the hardships of WWI had helped to evaporate public patience, the streets of St. Petersburg - Petrograd saw the two revolutions of 1917. But that happened later. In the meantime, St. Petersburg was the base for many of the most prominent artists, musicians, composers, writers and poets who actually made this period the "Silver Age".

With a population of 2 million people, the modern metropolis - St. Petersburg - was about to face new challenges, but WWI changed all the plans.

Next: Petrograd during WWI and the Revolution

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