When the summer heat gets too oppressive, and the crowds of tourists moving slowly down Nevsky start to get on fraying nerves, this is the place Petersburgers come to relax and take in some bracing sea air.

The city's traditional seaside resort, the sandy beaches of Repino and the northern shore are backed up by pine-covered dunes dotted with private dachas and state-run sanatariums. Much of the architecture is Finnish in style, and in fact the town was known as Kuokkala until 1948. This town has been a favourite of generations of Petersburgers, including Brodsky, Shalyapin, Mayakovsky, Gorgky, Shostakovich and the eponymous artist Ilya Repin who died here in 1930 and whose cottage Penatas can be visited by prior arrangement.

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