Russia and Sweden have long been neighbours. The history of Russo-Swedish relations incorporates rivalry, war and alliances, but also economic, scientific, and cultural exchange, as well as mutual influence in a wide range of fields. Stockholm and St. Petersburg, classical examples of a European water city, also have much in common. The cool, northern beauty of both cities is combined in each case with the warmth and generous hospitality of their people. Another characteristic they share is the wide stretches of water which give a special atmosphere to their urban landscapes. The sea has always been the quickest route and the strongest link between the two northern rivals. The present catalogue is an attempt to show what these two northern cities have in common and what makes them unique. The volume contains 15 articles on the relationship between the cities and their waters. The authors show how water became an important aspect of military defence, they describe the measures taken to protect the cities from floods and the constant battle to recoup new land from the water, but first and foremost they explain how water came to influence the architectural design of the two cities in the 18th-19th centuries. The 1998 exhibition "Water Cities: St Petersburg-Stockholm" was held at Stockholm's Museum of Architecture. It described the foundation of St Petersburg under Peter the Great, prehistory of the city centred on the 17th-c. Swedish fortress Nyenskans, and the formation of the classical urban landscape around the Neva and its tributaries. Description of Stockholm during the same period focused on the heart of the city between the two channels Norrström and Söderström. The recurrent theme was the conjunction of city and water, the significance of water for town planning, architecture, and the very life of the city. This theme was developed in more detail in a catalogue with the same name, providing enhanced historical and art-historical perspectives.
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