During the warm season people were ferried to the mainland, and in the winter they were transported by trucks that
drove across the frozen lake under constant enemy bombardment. Meanwhile, the city lived on.
The treasures of the Hermitage and the suburban palaces of Petrodvorets and Pushkin were hidden
in the basements of the Hermitage and of St. Isaac's Cathedral. Most students continued their studies
and even passed finals. Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his Seventh "Leningrad" Symphony and it was performed
in the besieged city. In January 1943 the siege was broken and a year later, on January 27, 1944 it
was fully lifted. At least 641 thousand people had died in Leningrad during the siege (some estimates
put this figure as high as 800 thousand). Most of them were buried in mass graves at various cemeteries.
The Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, where almost 500 thousand people are buried, became one of the
most impressive national war memorials.
Post war period
The war was not yet over, but Leningrad had already started to recover from the tragic years of the siege and all the
damage it brought to the city. Some of the museums, like the Cabin of Peter the Great for instance, reopened as early
as 1944. By the time the victorious Soviet army marched back into the city, Leningrad looked fresh and clean, and the
ruins of some world-famous buildings were covered with cardboard walls, depicting their pre-war appearance. The whole
city, the whole country, had dreamt of a revival and it did come.