Two world wars and one civil war, the genocide of the Russian populace and also, incidentally, the modern scientific and technical revolution, inevitably left their mark of the mentality of St Petersburg's inhabitants, but had little affect on the city's appearance. Many of its secret corners remained completely untouched, as is demonstrated by Karl Bulla's pictures. Although St Petersburg lost its status as capital just as the empire of which it was the centre became a thing of the past, it managed to retain its inner dignity, the unique originality of its way of life and culture. St Petersburg is as subject to the vagaries of time as anything else, but there is an aspect that brings it close to eternity - everything in it exudes past glories and that special magnetism continues tо draw people to it. Like any other city, though, St Petersburg has not only acquired, but also lost houses, churches and gardens. Old buildings have gone to ruin; new ones have appeared in their places. Eighteenth-century people would not have recognized the nineteenth-century streets; the next generation, too, would have been greatly surprised when following familiar routes, and so on. Today, when St Petersburg's urban landscape is undergoing a fresh wave of transformations, images from the early twentieth century are particularly valuable. It is fascinating to recognize familiar features in old pictures of the city, to learn about people's daily life and to view the carriages, horse-trams and early motor cars. The past reveals itself to us - that river of time that we can never re-enter, but cannot cease to wonder at.