King Albert II of Belgium, his wife, Paola, and Crown Prince Philippe ended their three-day state visit to Russia on Saturday and flew home from St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport.
During the stay, the king, his wife and son laid a wreath at the War Memorial commemorating the city's defenders during the 900-day siege in 1941-1944.
The guests paused at a display box featuring personal belongings of the war-time residents and a 125-gramme piece of bread which was often the only food people could get in those days.
They watched a documentary depicting life in the city under siege and expressed admiration for the courage of women who had replaced their husbands sent to the front.
The king asked many questions about the famous Road of Life that passed across the frozen Lake Ladoga which provided the only link between the city and the rest of the country.
The king, the queen and the crown prince signed the book of guests of honour.
His head bare under the drizzling rain, the king proceeded to the war memorial called "The Siege" accompanied by St. Petersburg governor Vladimir Yakovlev and Vice-Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak. They laid bouquets of pink carnations to the memorial.
After the tour, the king confessed that he and members of his family have been deeply touched by what they saw. He said this is his second opportunity to learn about the siege of Leningrad as the city was called at that time. During his first visit in the 1970's, the king toured the city's Piskaryovskoye memorial cemetery.
From the monument, the guests headed for the government's residence on Kamenny Island for talks with Yakovlev to discuss the development and expansion of humanitarian and cultural relations between Belgium and St. Petersburg.
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