Downtown Sites, Saint Petersburg
With no particular "must-see" sights, Kamennoostrovskiy Prospekt was still a highlight of our walks in St. Petersburg. It is located on Petrogradskaya Island, north of Peter & Paul Fortress and, as the main street of this island, it holds interesting shops, restaurants and architecture alike ~ much like Nevsky Prospekt.
Walking the street north from Ionnovsky Most up to Ploshchad Tolstovo, then back down on the opposite side (affording good views of each side of the street), is the best way to approach it. . .although it's best to give yourself the freedom to explore some of the side streets as well.
The new island offered a perfect storage place for flammable materials, such as wood, which would later be transported to the shipyards. Prior to this, timber was kept at the Admiralty, where it was treated in Dutch methods ~ the explanation for the “naming” of the new island as New Holland. Over time, the island's original wood buildings were replaced with brick ones of varying heights, which allowed the lumber to stand on end, thus drying out faster.
In 1719, a canal (the Kryukov) was built between the Moika and the Neva, creating a triangular island that would come to be known as New Holland. Today, the island is a military zone and is not open to the public. Nevertheless, it is incredibly atmospheric and picturesque ~ completely overgrown with vegetation.
There is a great arch facing the Moika (you can get fantastic views by taking a boat ride along the city’s canals ~ most of them should pass by this area).
Viewable from the southern edge of the Summer Gardens, the Mikhailovsky Castle is bordered by its own gardens and makes a nice extension to a walk through the former. The castle was undergoing a cosmetic touch-up during our visit ~ according to the English weekly, the colour had been updated and brightened considerably. . .the review was not entirely positive.
Having not seen the previous tone though, we thought the colour was beautiful and the steeple was striking from even a distance.
The building houses part of the Russian Museum's collection, but we didn't make it inside this one.
The Summer Gardens, aside from the greenery and statues, are also home to Peter the Great's Summer Palace. It's the oldest stone building in the city (built in 1710), but is very small in scale. . .a notable contrast to Petergof and Tsarkoe Selo.
Although we didn't go into the palace, you can enter and tour it. As is often the case, we were enjoying the outdoor atmosphere and our peaceful walk through the gardens, so we gave this one a pass.
Considering the draw of the museums and nearby palaces, the quiet appeal of the Summer Gardens would be easy to ignore. . .but they do make a wonderful spot for a relaxing walk and rest. You need a ticket to enter ~ I still have mine but there is no price listed, however it was very inexpensive.
The gardens are almost as old as the city itself ~ Peter the Great requested the design after visiting Versailles, so it's in a geometric French-style with crossing alleys and trimmed shrubs. . .and the paths are symmetrically dotted with statues of Greek and Roman mythological characters, virtues and historical figures.
Saint Petersburg was built with a lot of help of the Dutch. Not so much the buildings, but other structures that had connection with their nautical experiences and waterwork technologies. Bridges and harbourterrains, built by Russians, taught by the Dutch. A leftover from this - which used to be directly at the waterfront of the Finnish Gulf - is the triangle shaped "island" Novaja Gollandija (= new Holland). Here were the shipwharfs, where the first proud Russian navy was built to eventually defeat the Swedes on the East Sea (Baltic Sea). Now it's a sadly forgotten piece, though I have heared that this year (2003) - as for the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of Saint Petersburg, this area has been renovated and is now part of the great heritage that this second Russian capitol already had. From Holland (sorry, can't make it to the party, but hope and expect it will be just great):
The neighbourhood around Narvskaya subway station is good fun. There are few tourists here, maybe only around the Narva Arch, but other than that it's very Russian. There are good bars, nice little shops and former communist propaganda is still on display here. The fun starts immediately after looking around Narvskaya subway station: hammers and sickels everywhere!
Jelisiejev Shop-what can be interesting in place like that? Probably nothing unless you are hungry or thirsty. But this shop is special when we are talking about the outfit of the inside. This is again something for the Art Noveau lovers, impressing. Inside there are mirrors, vitrages, crystal lamps and many more and of course exclusive product.
The shop is on Nevsky Prospekt, so it is easy to get there
Kunst Kamera museum. This is the oddities museum built by Peter the Great. He travelled around the world collecting strange things. This place has a collection of bottled fetus' and miscarried mutations. Very horrible and wonderful at the same time. Not for the faint of heart.
It's located across the Neva river near the Sphinx Bridge.
St.Petersberg has been protected from the ravages of high-rises and intrusive modern development by tough planning laws and so retains the grandeur and style of Imperial high living. Built on marsh and swamp, the canals are a necessity more than a deliberate attempt to re-create Venice but repay a walk at dusk through the maze of waterways fronted by the former palaces of the nobility -and Imperial Mistresses. Mathilda Tchessinskaya, ballerina and lover of Nicholas II, once owned a beauty. It became a Pioneer Palace and I spent an afternoon inside with the arrayed Komsomol assembled to give us the correct impression of Soviet youth. Plans went happily awry when two of the girls suggested I deliberately miss the bus back, and for 2 precious hours we stole through the alleys and courtyards arm in arm.
There are many places that I'd like to visit when I was in town, but the time...isn't never enought.
I miss to see the bridge when they are lift for allow the ship passage in the night, I miss also to visit the Anthropology and Ethnography Museum, and I missed to see the 'Smol'nyi Palace' with its 'Resurrection Cathedral'.
St. Petersburg is a city of barocco architecture and Orthodox catdrals, but there are also signs of other cultures as well. This mosque could be a good example. If you want to see it, you will do it when you go out from the Peter-and-Paul Fortress.
Classic architectural example of brick work at the turn of the century.
On Bolshoi prospect, Vasilievsky island, halfway to the gulf.
This poor fella had nothing but green sludge to swim in. He just paced back and forth in his little cage. Poor guy.