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The city can be divided into approximately nine neighborhoods. The City Center embraces Palace Square, the Hermitage, and the northern end of Nevsky prospekt, with the Fontanka River as its southeastern border. Most of St. Petersburg's major attractions are within this area. To the west of the City Center is the smaller neighborhood of the Admiralteisky, surrounding the Admiralty building.
Second in number of sights, including the Chamber of Art and the Rostral Columns, is Vasilievsky Island, opposite the Admiralty and set off from the City Center by the Little and Great Neva rivers.
North of the City Center and the Neva River is the Petrograd Side, which holds Peter and Paul Fortress and the sights of Petrograd Island. Back on the mainland, Vladimirskaya is an area south of the Fontanka, taking in the lower part of Nevsky prospekt and bordered by the Obvodny Canal. The Liteiny/Smolny region lies to the northeast of Vladimirskaya and includes the Smolny cathedral. The Kirov Islands (north of the city), the Southern Suburbs, and the Vyborg Side (in the northeast corner of the city) have just a few sights.
St. Petersburg is a large city of almost 5 million inhabitants, which makes it as likely a place for petty crime as any other metropolis. As a foreigner, you're an even more likely target. Whatever you've heard about crime and poverty in Russia has probably been exaggerated, but you should still exercise caution if you wander too far off the beaten path.
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