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    ST. PETERSBURG, April 9 (RIA Novosti-Northwest's Anna Novak) - On Friday St. Petersburg started celebrations devoted to the International Day of Monuments and Sites, which will last till April 18, the city administration has reported.

    St. Petersburg is one of the few European cities that have preserved their historical buildings in their original form, so the city's center and suburbs are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Yet this is the first time that the city will hold grand celebrations of the Day for Monuments and Sites.

    During the celebrations, St. Petersburg will host conference, master classes and a session of the Scientific Council. The events are organized by the city administration's committee for state control, use and protection of historical and cultural monuments.

    The central event of the celebrations will be reinstallation of the gilded cross, which during a storm in summer 2001 fell from the dome of the Smolny cathedral. At present the 600-kg cross is in the St. Peter and Paul's fortress. It will be taken across the city by a helicopter and then installed on the dome. The work is scheduled for April 12.

    The International Day of Monuments and Sites has been celebrated since April 18, 1984 on the initiative of the International Council on Monuments and Sites set up under UNESCO.

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