St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), which was the capital of the Russian Empire, is now the Russian capital of culture and arts. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the most popular tourist destination in Russia and the 8th most popular in the world. The majestic city of St. Petersburg well-deserves its nicknames as "A Window on Europe", "A Treasure House of the World" and "the Venice of the North." With Russia's largest international seaport, St. Petersburg serves as a transport hub connecting Russia with Europe, an important political, business and industrial center in northwest Russia as well as the nation's magnet for many industries including electricity, metals and machinery. As the hometown of ex-President Vladimir Putin and current President Dmitry Medvedev, its importance as Russia's political base is also growing.