Prospekt Mira, an area slightly intimidating with noise pollution and huge amounts of traffic, can pleasantly surprise you with Aptekarsky Ogorod hidden behind a restaurant building. Besides the fact that it's a pleasant place to stroll along sub-tropical plants, watch carps in the pond and read our guidebook in peace and harmony, it is also the oldest botanical garden in Russia. It was founded by Peter The Great for the cultivation of medicinal plants, from which the garden takes its name ('aptekarsky' means pharmacy). A larch planted by Peter 300 years ago is still alive. Surprisingly, even in winter there is stuff happening: every year from December to March the garden holds winter festival of orchids. In early spring you can see the real primroses, a rare thing for a city and a symbol of change.