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By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals.
With the emancipation of the serfs undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and an Industrial Revolution, the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly.
During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress.
However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan.
In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg.
The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century.
An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject (a federal city). In 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (Russian: The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.