Human winter walri (Morzhi) Saint Petersburg

Image by Benedict O'Leary

Human winter walri (Morzhi) – The fortress sun spot

On any given day, when the sun is out (and in St Petersburg that can be a rarity), if you go past the St Peter and Paul Fortress over Troitsky bridge, you are likely to catch sight of sunbathers. This is more evident in spring, but even on a clear winter’s day you are sure to catch sight of a number of well-tanned sun-bathers out for a dose of vitamin D. They usually consist of members of the older generation, but topping up on vitamins is a popular pastime.

You can also see swimmers (even though swimming is prohibited) taking a quick plunge. Their numbers increase as soon as ice appears, and these swimmers are referred to as Morzhi or walri.

During winter months, ice fishers can be spotted sitting patiently for hours by their holes.  At times (from January onwards when it is cold enough) it is allowed to walk on the ice, but the emergency services ensure that the ice is broken in the middle of the river so that no one tries to wander too far off course and disappear.

I cross the bridge regularly on my runs or going somewhere and there’s always some activity by the shore, whatever the weather!

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Details about this spot



Troitskiy bridge, Saint Petersburg

Opening Times

Sunrise - sunset daily


Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)