The main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg is Nevsky Prospect, only six years older than the city. At the beginning of the XVIII century, when St. Petersburg was the only bank of the Neva, it was a wooded and swampy area. Peter I ordered to cut a clearing in the forest, which would connect the Admiralty fortress-shipyard with the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. The glade was to consist of two parts. One part connected the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, founded in 1710, with the old Moscow-Novgorod Highway (passed approximately along the current Ligovsky Avenue), the second part led from the Admiralty to the same highway.
There is a legend telling that they laid a clearing towards each other, on the one hand, the monks of the monastery, on the other hand, from the Admiralty. Both segments were to meet at one point at the intersection with the Moscow-Novgorod Highway. Because of errors in the calculations, the glades reached the path at different points, because of which a fracture was obtained – on the site of which today is the Uprising Square.
According to the plan of one of the architects of Peter the Great, Gerbel, Nevsky avenue was to become one of the three rays of the Nevsky Trident, diverging from the Admiralty (the other two beams, Gorokhovaya St. and Voznesensky Ave.), which became the basis of the regular planning of the center of St. Petersburg.
The name of the main street of St. Petersburg has changed several times: Big Perspective Road, Big Nevsky Prospect, Nevsky Perspective (1738). It is logical to assume that it comes from the characteristics of the street – it was the longest and most direct in the city, thus giving an excellent perspective of the review. In addition, connected two objects, located on the banks of the Neva at a distance of 4.5 km from each other in a straight line. By the end of the 18th century, the street gained its modern name. By the first anniversary of the October Bolshevik coup, in 1918, Nevsky Prospect was renamed Prospect of October 25th. The historical name of the main highway was returned shortly before the complete lifting of the fascist blockade — January 13, 1944.
Nevsky Prospect crosses three waterways of St. Petersburg: the Moika River, the Griboedov Canal, and the Fontanka River. Under Peter I, active development was carried out only up to the Moika River along which in the first third of the 18th century the southern border of St. Petersburg passed. The Big Perspective Road or the Big Perspective served as the main entrance to Petersburg. In the initial part of the Prospect between the Admiralty and the Moika in the first third of the XVIII century was the Marine settlement, today the names of two streets intersecting with Nevsky Prospect in this part of it – Big marine and Small marine – remind about it. Since the beginning of its existence, the city was inhabited by “artisans” and “workers” of the Admiralty Shipyard. On the right side of the Big Perspective were the houses of the Anichkov settlement, where the soldiers of the Admiralty Labor Battalion lived. It was they who, under the leadership of their commander, Lieutenant Colonel M. O. Anichkov, built in 1715 a wooden bridge across the Fontanka, called Anichkov. Then it was rebuilt in stone, and in the 19th century, it was decorated with the famous equestrian statues of the sculptor Klodt “The Taming of the horses.” Only prosperous people built houses on the Neva prospect; by the middle of the 18th century, palaces appeared here. The first of them, the Anichkov Palace, represented a whole palace and park ensemble and was turned by the main facade towards the Fontanka River. At various times, the Palace belonged to the favorites of the Empresses Elizabeth 1 and Catherine 2, became the residence of the imperial family. Being the oldest on Nevsky Prospect, the palace survived numerous alterations. Many famous architects contributed to the design and construction of buildings on the territory of the Anichkov estate. Today, once the imperial residence belongs to children. From February 12, 1937, the main children’s palace of the city is located here – the St. Petersburg City Palace of Youth (until 1990 – the Leningrad Palace of Pioneers).
Almost simultaneously with the construction of the main royal residence – the Winter Palace, designed by Rastrelli, a stone palace was built on Nevsky Prospect for the richest family of the Stroganovs. The Stroganovs palace has survived to the present day; its elegant baroque facades still adorn the main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg. The building is a branch of the Russian Museum, here you can be acquainted with the magnificent interiors of the 18-19 centuries, learn the history of a powerful dynasty.
In the middle of the XIX century, the city was visited by A. Dumas, with its light hand, Nevsky Prospect was called “the street of religious tolerance”, since there are several temples of various religions located here. Churches are located on the even side of the avenue: the Dutch Church (Nevsky Prospect, 20), Catholic Church of St. Catherine (Nevsky Prospect, 32-34), the Armenian Church (Nevsky Prospect, 40-42). These temples were built in the second half of the XVIII century. Later in the 1830s, the Lutheran Church of St. Peter (22-24 Nevsky Prospect), built on this site as early as the 1730s, was rebuilt according to the project of A. Bryullov.
In the second half of the 18th century, the main trading enterprises concentrated on the main street of the capital. At this time, it was decided to replace the dilapidated wooden trading rows with the stone Merchants Yard or Gostiny dvor (Nevsky Prospect, 35). Nearby, almost simultaneously, other stalls and shops appeared. Among them are the Silver Rows (31 Nevsky Prospect), which appeared in 1787 under the project of D. Quarenghi. The architect used the same motif as in the Merchants Yard building, a series of open arcades galleries. In 1798, the Perinnaya Line was built between Merchants Yard and Silver Rows (today there is a modern shopping complex). A slender six-column portico, designed by L. Ruska at the beginning of the 19th century (Nevsky Prospect, 33A), reminds of it, then it served as the entrance to the Perinnaya Line. The building of the City Duma (33 Nevsky Prospect) remains a bright accent of Nevsky Prospect. The tower of the city duma is a high-rise architectural dominant of Nevsky.
For elegant women and prudent men, Nevsky Prospect was a place of recreation and entertainment. They walked along granite sidewalks and shopping arcade galleries, or traveled along cobblestone streets in wheelchairs and carriages. Sometimes it was possible to meet the rich carriage of the empress. Nevsky Prospect has become the most “noble” street of the capital, but numerous palaces and mansions, public and commercial buildings were still only separate links of the future single chain of architectural ensembles that were created by architects in the first third of the XIX century. In 1801, construction of the stone Kazan Cathedral began, designed by A. Voronikhin. With its construction on Nevsky Prospect, one of the first urban ensembles in Russia arose. The author of the main architectural ensembles of the city, the General Staff building with its arch, Senate Square, the Michaylovsky Palace with its public garden, K.I. Rossi contributed to the formation of the magnificent appearance of Nevsky Prospect. Ostrovsky Square (Alexandrinskaya Square), wide open to Nevsky Prospect, was designed by him in the 1830s. The ensemble of the square includes several buildings – one of the borders of the square is formed by the building of the Public Library. On the contrary, two small pavilions of the Anichkov Palace garden. The main accent of the square is the building of the Alexandrinsky Theater. Thanks to Rossi Petersburg in the first third of the XIX century got its classic look, for which the city is so famous.
In the second half of the XIX century, the ensemble of Znamenskaya Square (now Uprising) enriched Nevsky Prospect. The appearance of this architectural ensemble was associated with the opening in 1851 of the railway, which connected St. Petersburg and Moscow. At the intersection of Nevsky Prospect, the building of the terminal station, Nikolayevsky (now Moscow Station), was built. The construction of the station also involved the improvement of the square in front of it. Opposite the station, the building of the hotel Northern (now Oktyabrskaya) was built, which occupied a whole block.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the building of Nevsky Prospect was finally formed. By order of owners of large capital, banks, houses of joint-stock companies and large trading houses were built here. A new architectural style, modern, is reflected in their appearance. The architects sought to get away from the traditions with the help of new techniques and modern building materials. Buildings created in this style are easy to recognize House of the Singer company (House of Books), trading house of merchants Eliseevs, trading house of Mertens (Nevsky prospect, 21).
Information About the Excursion
|Metro / Subway|
|Admiralteyskaya, Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor, Mayakovskaya, Ploshchad Vosstaniya, Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo I|
|Bolshaya Konushennaya Ulitsta||3, 7, 22, 24, 27, 191|
|Metro Station "Admiralteyskaya"||3, 22, 27, 100|
|Metro Station "Gostiniy Dvor"||3, 7, 22, 24, 27, 191|
|Return (Dvoretst Tvorchesva Yunykh)||3, 7, 22, 24, 27, 49, 181, 191|
|Metro Station "Ploshchad' Vosstaniya"||3, 7, 15, 22, 24, 27, 181, 191|
|Metro Station "Nevskiy Prospekt"||3, 7, 22, 24, 27, 191|
|Metro Station "Ploshchad' Vosstaniya"||1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 22|
|Onward (Metro Station "Gostiniy Dvor"), Return (Dvoretst Tvorchesva Yunykh)||1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 22|
Nevsky Prospect is a part of my private tours:
- City Tour. Sightseeing Excursion
- 1 Day tour in St Petersburg
- 2 Days tour in St Petersburg and Suburbs
- Walking Tour
Also, you can customize a tour or book inside excursion.