Nevsky prospekt is the heart and the major artery of St. Petersburg. This 4.5 km-long thoroughfare stretching from the Admiralty building to the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra was laid by Peter I in 1710.
Nevsky prospekt is famous not only for some world-known landmarks recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites but also for being the real keeper of St. Petersburg true spirit. One just needs to get to the main prospekt to feel the city itself. All the societal classes ranging from religion, age to cultural background are represented here. And each of them has its’ own favorite places.
For instance, street artists took a fancy to a patch in front of the Catholic Church of St. Catherine on 32-34 Nevsky prospekt, gays and chess players gather in Catherine garden square in front of the Alexandrinsky Theatre and cheerful youth and students hang out in numerous bars at Dumskaya st., near Gostiny Dvor.
Nevsky prospect intersects the city’s main rivers: Moika, Fontanka and Griboyedov Canal. You may observe the fascinating view on the historical blocks of the St. Petersburg’s quay from the bridges over these rivers.
Nevsky prospekt from the Palace Square to the Fontanka river
The part of Nevsky prospekt bounded by the Admiralty building and the Fontanka river is the showiest– some of the mansions and palaces of St. Petersburg’s nobility, the churches of various confessions and expensive shops and restaurants are all located here. Stone buildings were first built here in the second half of the 18th century, after previous wooden constructions were destroyed by fire. The most famous monuments of this part of Nevsky are:
- former Vavelberg Bank, now an airline ticket office, a building that resembles the Italian palaces of Florence and Venice – 7/9 Nevsky pr, 1910-1912, architect – Perepyatkovich.
- Chicherin House (later belonged to the family of merchant Eliseev) where famous architect Giacomo Quarengi lived for several years and which famous Russian writers like Pushkin, Griboyedov, Küchelbecker, Dostoevskiy and Blok often visited, is now a luxurious Talion Imperial Hotel – 15 Nevsky pr, 1768, architect – unknown.
- Stroganov Palace built for the noble Stroganov family is one of the best examples of Russian baroque – 17 Nevsky pr, 1753-1756, architect – Rastrelli, redesign and interiors – Voronikhin, Rossi, Sadovnikov and Bosse.
- Mertens House which combines the neo-classic and modern styles was a fur store before the Revolution, now it is home to a famous Spanish brand, Zara retail store – 21 Nevsky pr, 1912, architect – Lalewicz.
- Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (Petrikirche) – Lutheran church, 22-24 Nevsky pr, 1833-1838, architect – Brullov.
- Kazan cathedral on Kazan square faces the Nevsky prospekt – 2 Kazan sq, between 25 and 27 Nevsky pr, 1811, architect – Voronikhin.
- Singer House (now a book store “House of Books”) – is a modernist building topped with a glass dome supporting a globe, it was once aspired to be a St. Petersburg’s skyscraper – 28 Nevsky pr, 1902 – 1904, architect – Suzor.
- Catholic Church of St. Catherine – a Catholic church one of the oldest Russian parishes – 32-34 Nevsky pr, 1763-1783, architects – Trezini and Vallin de la Mothe.
- Tower of the Saint Petersburg City Duma – 33 Nevsky pr, 1804, architect – Giacomo Ferrari.
- Great Gostiny Dvor is a department store built with the funds of St. Petersburg’s merchants, it occupies the whole block and has been one of St. Petersburg’s main malls even to this day – 35 Nevsky pr, 1761 – 1785, architect – Vallin de la Mothe.
- Anichkov Palace once belonged to the imperial family and now is the Palace of Youth Creativity, being the leading establishment in the sphere of out-of-school education of children and teenagers – 39 Nevsky pr, 1941-1753, architect – Rastrelli.
- Elisseeff Emporium (“Eliseevsky shop”) – a modernist building copiously decorated with sculptures – 56 Nevsky pr, 1902-1903, architect – Baranovskii, sculptor – Adamson.
Nevsky prospekt intersects the Fontanka river over the elegant Anichkov bridge decorated with the horse statues designed by Klodt. A borderline separating the suburbs from the city used to be here up to the 18th century.
Nevsky prospekt from the Fontanka river to the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra
This part of Nevsky is not abound in the architectural heritage of the imperial Petersburg but even here Nevsky remains elegant and aristocratic.
A bright pink baroque building, Belosselsky-Belozersky Palace, stands out right next to the Anichkov Bridge. The architect of this last private mansion of the 19th century on Nevsky is Stakenschneider, the sculptor is Jensen. Now there is a cultural center and a historical wax museum inside this palace.
The section of the Nevsky furthest away from Palace square is occupied by numerous stores, cinemas, restaurants and bars. It is a perfect place to rest after the befuddling luxury of the grand St. Petersburg and to buy some souvenirs in gift shops and booths.
One of the Nevsky’s attractions is the 36 meter-high Hero-City Obelisk located in Vosstaniya Square that divides the prospect. It was installed on the fortieth anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Vosstaniya Square itself is a traditional meeting spot for communist activists.
The building of the Moscow Rail Terminal opened in 1851 is located in its eastern part. It was designed by Thon and has similar architecture to the Leningradsky Rail terminal in Moscow.
The part of Nevsky from Vosstaniya square to the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra is usually called Staro-Nevsky. It is the calmest part of the prospekt built basically in the 20th century. Some expensive stores and offices are located here.
Nevsky prospekt ends right at the Alexander Nevsky square with the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra nearby. The connection between the city and the Lavra was the main reason Nevsky prospekt was laid and that is how it gained its name. The Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra includes an operating man monastery, cathedral and cemetery where some prominent inhabitants of St. Petersburg were buried.
Metro – stations “Nevsky prospekt”, “Gostiny Dvor”, “Mayakovskaya”, “Ploshchad Vosstaniya”, “Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo”.
Buses – 7, 10, 24, 27, 181, 191, trolleybuses – 1, 7, 10, 11, 22, 5, 7, fixed route taxi – 187.
Translation by Igor Todorov
Edited by Joan Akatukunda