Boundaries: The district occupies the whole territory of Vasilievsky Island. Click here for a detailed map.
Places of interest: Strelka (the easternmost tip of Vasilievsky Island), Rostral Columns, Broker’s Board (currently Naval Museum), Kunstkamera, Zoological Museum, Menshikov Palace, the Twelve Colleges Building (the University), the University Embankment with sphinxes and griffins, the Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Smolensky Cemetery.
Most sights are concentrated to the south eastern part of the island – close to the Spit of Vasilievsky Island and along the University Embankment. The rest of the island represents residential development with 300 years of history. Modern buildings, cheaper services and accommodations, and a diverse population can be found in the areas remote from the Spit of Vasilievsky Island.
It is the location of Vasileostrovsky District on the island that determines all its features, advantages and disadvantages. Its proximity to downtown makes the district prestigious and convenient but the problems of traffic congestion produce certain obstacles to business (there are narrow one way streets and a lack of parking lots) and leisure (there is no way to leave the island at night because in summertime the drawbridges are raised). During the rush hours, it is difficult to get to the subway (there are only two subway stations on the island). The island is connected to the rest of the city by four bridges. While that may sound like a lot, it isn’t enough for the almost 200,000 people living there, nevermind those who come to the island for study and work.
On the other hand, Vasilievsky Island is “self dependent,” It has just about everything you’d want in terms of leisure, study and work: theaters, museums, offices, business centers, stores, spas and a wide choice of cafes and clubs. If you live, study and work in Vasilievsky (affectionately called “Vaska” by urban residents), you can feel comfortable without leaving the island for months at a time. That is exactly what many students do; many live in the residence halls (there are about 10 universities in Vasilievsky) while others rent an apartment on the island. The housing there is notably expensive.
There is a common belief in St. Petersburg that the inhabitants of Vasilievsky by no means want to move to other districts of the city. This island clearly has its own special cultural and social atmosphere, as well as its climatic peculiarities: increased humidity, strong westerly winds and occasional small floods. Winters here are colder than in other districts of the city, and summers are not so hot. The apartments are often very damp but even still, most of the “on islanders” would never leave the district.
Translation by Evgenya Gavrilova
Edited by Erin Swanson