Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor

By on June 10, 2013
shoppint in St.Petersburg center

Translation by Kira Egorova

Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor is not only the city’s oldest department store, but also one of the first shopping arcades in the world. It seen revolutions in politics, fashion and trade, survived all the competitors, and is still popular after 300 years of operation.

The Gostiny Dvor was extremely demanded in the years of the USSR when it was the only place where the residents could buy rare commodities in the country experiencing a general shortage of goods.

Through years the attitude to this shopping center hasn’t changed, «Gostinka» (short name given by locals) is still comfortable, prestigious and pleasant for both tourists and city dwellers.

The shopping arcade is located in the very center of the city on the Nevsky prospekt, between Hermitage and Moskovsky railway station. The shopping center is easily accessible, because it is close to one of the main transportation hubs.

One of the facades of the Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor overlooks the Sadovaya Street. The street has always been a trading line and had 4 trading centers and a market in addition to the Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor. Even today, Sadovaya from the Nevsky Prospect to the Sennaya Square is called a shopping street of St. Petersburg. You can find everything you wish there: from the haute couture goods to the wholesale market operating in the Apraksin Yard (the cheapest goods in the city center). At the end of the street you will find a modern large shopping center, built in the 21 century.

Gostiny Dvor initially was just a big market, but now it occupies an entire block of the city. In Old Russian the name of the shopping arcade means «enterprises of the merchants». Architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli made first construction project of Gostiny Dvor, but it appeared to be too expensive and the merchants chose a cheaper classic project of Vallin de la Mothe. The construction of the building began in 1761.

Gostiny Dvor Building

In the tradition of 18-19th centuries different types of products at Gostiny Dvor were sold at specially allocated areas, called rows or lines. Wool was traded in the Sukonnaya line (Cloth row) along the Nevsky Prospekt, Large and Small Surovskaya lines sold silk, Zerkal’naya line (Mirror row) traded gold, silver and bronze. Perrinnaya line (Feather row) appeared later and sold feather and down. The arcade consisted a hundred of shops, each store occupied a separate arch of the building.

Nowadays the internal structure of Gostiny Dvor has changed completely in accordance with the standards for commercial buildings.

Interesting fact: A treasure was found under the floor during the reconstruction of Gostiny Dvor in 1965. It belonged to famous Morozov merchants and estimated eight precious bars (total weight 128 kilograms/ 282 pounds).

On the ground floor of Nevskaya line you will find a great variety of souvenirs.

Opening hours

10:00 – 22:00,  Haute Couture Gallery 11:00 – 22:00


Address: St.Petersburg, Nevsky Prospekt, 35.

Metro station “Gostiny Dvor” (follow the signs to take the exit that leads directly to the shopping center).

+7 (812) 710-54-08 (only Russian version)

About Ekaterina Rezanova

I was born and live in this city, I breathe its moist air, cursing its climate and feeling immensely proud of the fact that I'm from St. Petersburg.


  1. Yaronnn

    June 22, 2013 at 1:13 am

    I would not recommend this shop. maybe the building is nice, but salespeople can hardly express themselves in Еnglish. I wanted to buy a painting and asked about one artist…zero information from them.

  2. Anne

    June 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    There are few sellers in Russian shops that speak English. If you will found such shops for tourists where they speak English, you can be sure that you will pay double price.

  3. Elena

    June 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I recommend the Gallery “S.P.A.S” at Moika Embankment near Isaak Square. They have a good collection of Russian modern art and speak English and French. You can contact them over phone +7 812 571 4260. Good luck!

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