When we think about accessibility and inclusion of people with disability, Russia isn’t exactly the first country coming up to our mind. And that’s right, according to the data. Nevertheless, to tell the truth, we must admit that, mostly before the Sochi 2014’ Winter Olympic Games, Russia started a path precisely aiming to make the country more accessible and inclusive towards people with any disability or, however, with reduced mobility. Then, why don’t we take the chance to discover closely this big country, rich in history? Let’s start from one of the most fascinating cities in the world: St. Petersburg, the second city in the country, after Moscow, on the Neva’s bank.
Let’s say it right away: there are plenty of reasons to visit this city, but, currently, doing it isn’t that easy, for people dealing with a reduced mobility. However, with a little bit of patience and getting organized in advance, you can visit St. Petersburg without experiencing too many issues. Sure, based on your specific disability, you’d better avoid public transport, which is still far from full accessibility (even though something is improving, thanks to the “Sochi project”): there are still just a few subway stations accessible to people with motoric disabilities and surface transit with lowered platform are very rare, not to mention signage for blind people, pretty much lacking. However, there are some tour operators (for instance, this one and this other one) offering touristic itineraries fitting with the disabled travellers’ needs.
Accessibility is better if we look at the main touristic attractions in St. Petersburg, starting from the suggestive Hermitage museum, one of the biggest and most famous in the world, that’s been made accessible to visitors with motoric disability installing a service elevator. The same is valid for the majestic Winter Palace, the former imperial residence, which now is part of the Hermitage main complex, and for the Mariinsky theatre. Not forgetting St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the biggest orthodox basilica in the world, and the Nevsky Boulevard, which represents the (touristic, artistic and historic) heart of the city, where overlook many monuments, malls, museums and artistic attractions. There are also restaurants and hotels accessible to people with disability: you can find some examples here.
Then, when are we leaving?