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 wrought on the city. Some of the city's museums, such as 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 of its most celebrated buildings had been covered with temporary cardboard walls, in an attempt to depicting their pre-war appearance. The whole city, the whole country, had dreamt of a revival and it did come.
Despite the enthusiasm of the people, a significant part of the national economy was ruined by the war and the population had to endure many more long months of harsh conditions and bleak prospekts. Food rationing was a common feature throughout the 1940s and due to the destruction of 2.8 million sq. meters of city housing and the damage to a further 2.2 million sq. meters, housing became a major problem. Up until the 1960s most of the people Leningrad still lived in so-called "communal" (shared) apartments.
Against all the odds the city was transformed. Unlike many other cities Leningrad was not modernized, but restored to its pre-war Imperial glory. The palaces of Peterhof and Pushkin were almost completely destroyed during the siege and millions of roubles went into their meticulous restoration and reconstruction.
Some of the city's suburban palaces, such as Aleksandrovsky Palace of Nicholas II in Pushkin, still await restoration. Leningrad's museums reopened swiftly the war, having undergone speedy restoration. But a carefully preserved blue Bombardment Warning sign, painted on the side of a building on Nevsky Prospekt, and the green mounds of the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery mass graves still remind us of the tragic past of the city.