Known as the "Venice of the North", St. Petersburg is situated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The Neva river passes through the city on its way to the sea. On the orders of Tsar Peter the Great, the city replaced Moscow as the new capital of the House of Romanov until 1918. With the Russian royal family acting as strong advocates of western European culture, St. Petersburg is full of beautiful European-style buildings. The whole city exudes an elegant romantic atmosphere. The essence of the landscape of St. Petersburg is held in the many exquisite royal palaces and art galleries.