Russian Federation Trips

Igor Barsukov's Trip

Igor Barsukov

Russian Federation

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Svetlana Usacheva's Trip

Svetlana Usacheva

Russian Federation

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St. Petersburg - from Smolney Monastery to the Transfiguaration Cathedral

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

From Smolney Monastery to the Transfiguaration Cathedral:

Duration: 1/2 day. Distance: 5 km. Weather: this route is mainly in open spaces. So, avoid rainy and/or windy days.

Start: Smolney Convent (access by buses only).

End: Chernyshevskaya Metro station (Red Line #1).

Public Transportaion: Buses 5, 11, 46, 54, 74, 136, 181, K-15, K-76, K-136. No close-by Metro.

The Smolney complex resides on Ploschad Rastrelli, in the north-east corner of St. Petersburg main land, south and west to the Neva river - just a few tens of metres from its tight curve and banks. The complex consists of a cathedral and a complex of buildings surrounding it, originally intended for a convent. The surrounding buildings (except of the cathedral) house various offices and government institutions. In addition, several faculties  of the St. Petersburg State University are located in some of the buildings surrounding the cathedral. The Smolney site is rarely visited by foreign tourists. Due to its location away from the downtown and heavy traffic around it is often not included into city tours.

The Smolney complex was planned by the Empress Elizabeth (daughter of Peter the Great) to include a convent and a new, aristocratic school for girls.She was rejected succeeding Peter the Great and opted for living in a nunnery. After murdering (in 1741) the official imperial successor (Ivan IV) with the aid of the imperial guards and succeeding the imperial throne - Elizabeth left behind the idea of monastic life - but pushed forward, enthusiastically, the work on Smolney convent. The complex construction began in year 1748, and was partially completed 13 years later, in year 1761.  Tsarina Elizabeth died in 1761 and work on the monastery was halted. When Catherine II assumed the throne, it was found that the new Empress strongly disapproved of the Baroque style, and funding that had supported the construction of the convent rapidly ran out. Rastrelli was unable to build the huge bell-tower he had planned and unable to finish the interior of the cathedral. So, Rastrelli left Russia in October 1763 - without completing his original Smolney plan and project.  In 1832, Tsar Nicholas I commissioned Vasily Stasov to finish the building. Construction was officially completed in 1835.

Smolney Cathedral is the main highlight in the Smolney complex. It was designed by our already well-known Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Rastrelli was invited to Russia by Peter the Great, and it was Rastrelli who designed so many masterpieces in St. Petersburg like the Winter Palace, the Grand Palace in Peterhof and the palace at Tsarskoe Selo. Smolny Cathedral was one of the latest Rastrelli projects. Rastrelli didn't complete the design of Smolney Cathedral and left it - unfinished. After the Bolshevik revolution, the cathedral suffered from disrepair, looting, closures and decaying. In 1923 it was officially closed. In 1972, the cathedral's iconostasis was taken out. During the 1970s the cathedral became a city museum  - hosting  exhibitions and concerts. The Smolney Cathedral functions from year 1982 till today, as a concert hall. This building is not an active worshiping place (religious services - in the side chapel).

The Smolney Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg. The  blue-and-white building with its golden dazzling coupolas, is considered to be one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Its special location, rising majestically from the waterside banks of the Neva River - adds to its grandeur. Try to catch a view of the whole complex from the eastern side, from the Neva river bank.

Opening hours: daily 11.00 to 19.00. Closed: Wednesdays. Prices: Permanent Exhibition: 150 RUB. Ascent to the  Bell tower: 100 RUB. Joint ticket: 200 RUB. Photo and video: included and allowed.

Note: Skip visiting the interiors. Interior is very plain because it was left unfinished by Rastrelli and then stripped out. You might face, also, an extensive restoration and construction works around. So, please expect that the cathedral is partially closed or has restrictions on entry to the various halls inside. You might face the cathedral completely enclosed in scaffolding. We recommend ascending (270 steps) the bell tower - for the spectacular views of St. Petersburg, the Neva river and, mainly, the Smolney complex around. Free binoculars are available. It looks wonderful from the heights of the tower - with the washed white and blue colours and the golden spires. Please pay the special fee (100 RUB) for the marvelous views in a bright day and the feeling of being alone. Fortunately, there are not so many tourists around. Recommended are also the concerts during several evenings / month with good acoustics.

The Smolny Institute (Смольный институт, Smol'niy institut) is a Neo-Classical-style masterpiece that has played a major part in the history of Russia. The building was designed by Giacomo Quarenghi, with a decree of Catherine II (the Great) in 1764, a significant step in making education available for females in Russia, in purpose to accommodate the Society for Education of Noble Maidens  in 1806–08. The Smolny Institute was Russia's first educational establishment for women and continued to function under the personal patronage of the Russian Imperial Tsarinas until just before the 1917 revolution. In 1917, the building was chosen by Vladimir Lenin as Bolshevik headquarters during the October Revolution. It was Lenin's residence for several months, until the national government was moved to the Moscow Kremlin. Then it became the Communist city hall. In 1927, a monument to Lenin was erected in front of the building. Here, was assassinated, in Dec. 1934, Sergei Kirov, the head of the Communist part in St. Petersburg (then, Leningrad). After 1991, the Smolny was used as the seat of the city mayor (governor after 1996) and city administration. Vladimir Putin worked there from 1991 to 1997.

Today, this historic building is the official residence of the governor of St.Peterburg and also houses a museum dedicated to Lenin. Visitors to the museum can tour Lenin's office and living rooms and even see the famous assembly hall, where the upheaval of the Tsar and victory of the October revolution were proclaimed in 1917.

It borrows its name from the nearby Smolny Convent. The name "Smolny" derives from the location, in the early days of St. Petersburg the place at the edge of the city where pitch ("Smola" in Russian) was processed for use in shipbuilding and maintenance. As reminiscence of this pitch - nice garden with fountains, flower-beds and iron-work grille around the institute date from the early 19th century and leads to the institute:

Head northwest on Rastrelli Square (пл. Растрелли), 90 m. Here, in this square - there's a good chance you'll meet several vendors (mostly, from the past Soviet republics) selling Russian souvenirs with attractive prices and good quality. Turn right onto u. Proletarskoy Diktatury (ул. Пролетарской Диктатуры), 200 m. Continue onto Tavricheskiy pereulok (пер. Таврический), 180 m - all in all 520 m. (10 min. easy walk). When you arrive to the Tavrid Garden - turn LEFT (SOUTH). On your left is a long building in #31-35 with decoratively grilled balconies:

Walk 200 m. further south and turn right to the main entrance of Tauride (Tavrichesky) Garden (sad). A splendid, pleasant, well-maintained and quiet garden. VERY refreshing and refueling site:

Note: No way from the Tauride Garden to the Tauride Palace. You have to exit the park and enter the palace from the outside north side of the garden / southern aspect of the palace.

Tauride Palace (Tavrichesky dvorets, Таврический дворе, 47, Shpalernaya Ulitsa,  was designed by the architect, Ivan Starov for city for city residence of Prince Grigory Potemkin of Tauride (tsarina Catherine Chief of Army and her lover). The design included an extensive park and harbour in front of the palace, which would be linked with the Neva River by a canal (like the Peterhof model). Building work began in 1783 and lasted for six years. Potemkinplayed a key role in the annexation of the Crimea, for which he was awarded the title "Prince of Tauris". Shortly before his death, on 28 April 1791, Potemkin used the palace to host unprecedented festivities and illuminations with the purpose of winning the Empress's waning affections. Notwithstanding all the expenses, Potemkin failed in his efforts and lost Catherine the Great sole sympathy. Tauride Palace is the grandest high-ranking-noblemen residence of 18th-century Russia,  served as a model for innumerable manors scattered across the Russian Empire. After Potemkin's death,  Catherine the Great purchased his palace and ordered architect Fyodor Volkov to transform it into her summer townhouse. Volkov was responsible also for: the construction of the theatre in the east wing and the church in the west wing. In the garden, design of the Admiralty Pavilion, gardener house, orangery, glass-houses, bridges, and ironwork fences. The sculpture named the Venus Tauride (now in the Hermitage Museum) was kept in the palace from the end of the eighteenth century until the mid-nineteenth, and derives its name from it. The exterior appearance of the palace was rather plain and contrasted sharply with the luxury of its interiors. The domed hall, one of the largest in Russia, was connected by a 75-meter-long columned gallery with a winter garden. The decoration sof every major room – including the Chinese Hall and the Tapestry Gallery – were destroyed after 1799, when Emperor Paul, who denied all the things his mother (Tsarina Catherine) liked, gave over the palace to his cavalry regiment to be used as barracks - and some of the original interiors were lost for ever. In the 19th century, the palace was refurbished by Carlo Rossi and Vasily Stasov. It had been used to host balls and exhibitions until 1906, when it was transformed into the seat of the first Russian parliament, the Imperial State Duma. Immediately after the February Revolution of 1917, Tauride Palace housed the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet. In May 1918 the Bolsheviks held here their 7th Congress, where they first named themselves the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Since the 1990s, Tauride Palace has been home to the Assembly of the Soviet Union Member Nations or the Soviet Commonwealth countries. Nowadays, the complex holds city and national conferences and congresses. IT IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. VISITS INSIDE ALLOWED ONLY WITH CONDUCTED EXCURSIONS. YOU MUST HANDLE ID DOCUMENT (LIKE PASSPORT WITH UPDATED PICTURE). STRICT CHECK-IN AND SECURITY PROCEDURES.  LIMITED PERMISSIONS (mainly, for VIP) FOR FOREIGN VISITORS ENTRIES.

The Tauride Palace is a splendid example of Classicism, the main trend in the Russian architecture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries: the strict modest lines of the southern façade (from Shpalernaya street direction), the use of the elements of ancient architecture, and, in particular and the huge pillars supporting the portico:

We exit the Tauride Garden from its most southern exit and turn right (WEST) onto Kirochnaya pr. (ул. Кирочная), 1100 m (1.1km.). Along this road you can see several interesting (even Art - Nouveau) buildings:

The Ratkov-Rozhnov Apartment House - a huge building with a magnificent facade occupying half a block on Kirochnaya Ulitsa close to Tavrichesky Sad (the Tauride Garden) designed by the architect Count Pavel Suzor (who designed and constructed the   Singer Building (Dom Knigi) on Nevsky Prospekt and the First Mutual Credit Society Building on the Griboedov Canal):

Turn left onto Radishcheva per. (пер. Радищева), 80 m. Turn right onto Manezhnyy per. (пер. Манежный), 15 m and continue along the roundabout of Manezhnyy per., 150 m. You arrive to the Transfiguartion Cathedral (Spaso-Preobrazhensky sobor), Preobrazhenskaya ploshchad', 1. We arrived to a beautiful, quiet and leafy square. The Transfiguration Cathedral is an intimate church although it owns a monumental classical facade. It is  also known as Eastern Orthodox cathedral, is located on Transfiguration Square. It was designed by architect Mikhail Zemtsov and built from 1743 to 1754 by Tsarina Elizabeth. After her accession to the throne on December 7, 1741, the new Empress Elizabeth ordered the construction of a church on the site as a sign of gratitude for the cooperation of the local guards - which helped her making the coup d'etat. Construction work began on the church on June 9, 1743. The architect Mikhail Zemtsov was commissioned to design and build the church, but after his sudden death in 1743 Antonio Trezzini actually carried out the construction. The church was consecrated and declared a cathedral by order of Empress Elizabeth on August 5, 1754. The church almost burnt down on August 8, 1825, but the icons and iconostases were rescued. The architect Vasily Stasov was assigned the job of building a new church on the site. Construction on the Transfiguration Cathedral began in 1827, and was completed quickly. The new church was consecrated on August 5, 1829. Unlike most other churches in the city after the revolution, the cathedral never closed, and today remains one of the most visited cathedrals in the city.

It houses the Preobrazhensky regimental (Transfiguration Regiment) relics and war trophies. The fence surrounding the church was In 1831 and was created of Turkish cannons taken as spoils of war (in each of them one can see the symbol of the Ottoman empire). On the walls are bronze plaques with the names of officers of the Preobrazhensky regiment (which was accommodated in this district for hundreds of years) fallen in the Russia-Turkey battles (under the regime of Catherine the Great). The church has a world-reputed choir. It sings every day at 10.00.

Enclosure fence consists of captured Ottoman guns, bound in chains:

Bartolomeo Rastrelli was also actively involved in the construction of the cathedral as well as the furnishing of its interior, designing the outstanding gold iconostasis of the cathedral and the altar vestibule.  under glass are the Preobrazhensky uniforms of Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II.

Icon of the Saviour:

St. Petersburg - Half-day on the Griboyedov Canal Bridges

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

Half-day on the Griboyedov Canal Bridges:

Main Attractions: The Singers' Bridge, The Big and Small Stables Bridges, Imperial Stables building, Teatralny Bridge, Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, Kazansky Bridge, Kazan Cathedral, the Bank Bridge, Muchnoy Bridge, Kamenny (Stone) Bridge, Demidov Bridge, Sennoy Bridge.

Duration: 4-5 hours. Weather: only a bright day. Distance: 4-5 km.

Start: Palace Square.

End: Sennaya Square Metro station.

From the Palace Square we walk approx. 400 m. to our first destination - the Singers' Bridge. Head east on the Palace Square (пл. Дворцовая) toward the Moika (Moyka) river, 250 m. Turn right onto Pevchesky Bridge (пр. Певческий) and cross the Moyka river over the bridge, 150 m. We are in the Moyka reki Embankment (naberezhnaya Reki Moyki). The Pevchesky Bridge (Пе́вческий мост) or Singers' Bridge), is also known as the Choristers' Bridge or Yellow Bridge (Жёлтый Мост, Zholtyi Most). The bridge got the name Yellow from the color of the railings, and according to the tradition of color-coding the bridges crossing the Moika River (that already had the Blue Bridge, the Green Bridge and the Red Bridge). The bridge i, actually, a part of the Palace Square. It is the third-widest bridge in Saint Petersburg, after the Blue Bridge and Kazansky Bridge. The length of the bridge is 21 metres, and the width is 72 metres.  The first wooden bridge on the site was designed by the French architect Auguste de Montferrand (St. Issac Cathedral designer). It was inaugurated in 1834. The first pedestrians to cross the bridge were the troops marching to the parade celebrating the unveiling of the Alexander Column (also designed by Montferrand):


We continue northward along the Moyka river and the Pushka Inn hotel is on our right (east) - 130 north-east from the Singers' bridge. Continuing north-east, 350-370 m. further we face a couple of bridges - similar to each other.

The more northern / western bridge is the Small Stables Bridge or Tripartite Bridge or Three-Arched Bridg (Malo Konyushenny most) and the next is the  Big Stables Bridge (Bolshoy Konyushenny most) or the Teatralny Bridge (see below) - both over the Moyka River. They are similar in design and decoration and situated perpendicularly to each other in front of the Church of the Savior on Blood. The bridges were first constructed in wood during the reign of Empress Anne. A century later, architect Carlo Rossi conceived to unify the structures facing the Michael Palace into a uniform Neoclassical ensemble. His plans were realized between 1829 and 1831 when the bridges were rebuilt and decorated with identical lamp posts and ironwork fences featuring palmettes, spears, and gorgons. Thanks to repairs undertaken in 1936, 1953 and 1999, the bridges remain in good condition, and are still open to road and foot traffic. The Tripartite Bridge (Malo-Konyushenny most, 1829–31, was designed by George Adam and Wilhelm von Traitteur):

we find the Imperial Stables building - in the end of the Small Stables Bridge (Maloy Konyushenny most). Years of construction: 1817-1823
Architects: VP Stasov. The building resides among the Konyushennaya square, Konyushenny lane, Moika river and Griboyedov Canal. It is because of the existence of these stables courts - were named Konyushenny lane, Konyushennaya square, Bolshaya and Malaya Konyushennaya bridges. In 1816, VP Stasov was appointed chief builder of the stables and he drafted their restructuring. The work was conducted from 1817 to 1823 using the old walls. Following the restructuring was the main southern facade. The ground floor houses the studios, and secondly - Apartment officials. After completion of all construction work in 1823 building facades were painted light gray with white details. In 1917 the building of the stables accommodated the 4th Company of the Pavlovsky regiment, which is February 26 this year, led the fight with the police on the embankment of the Catherine Canal in the Konyushennaya square. Here is the State Automobile Inspection of Dzerzhinsky district. Currently the premises occupied by police control of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region. Church of the Saviour Not Made by Human Hand is built as the upper tier of this complex.It is an integral part of the architectural ensemble that once made up the Imperial Stables. The first wooden church was built on this site in 1737, while the current building was designed by Vasiliy Stasov and erected in 1817-1823. Significantly expanded and altered forty years later by the serf architect Pyotr Sadovnikov, the church retained its neo-classical grandeur, with soaring Doric columns and deep porticos beneath bas-reliefs depicting Christ's entry into Jerusalem and the bearing of the cross:

Stick on walking on the southern bank of the Moyka (Moika) river. Walk approx. 400 m. further eastward along the Moyka - until you hit its intersection with the Griboyedov Canal. Here, you meet the Teatralny Bridge. This is a group of very decorative connected bridges that cross the point where the Griboedov Canal flows out of the Moika River east to Konyushennaya Ploshchad and west to the Church on the Spilled Blood. Teatralny Bridge(s) take(s) its (their) name from the Free Russian Theatre, which stood nearby at the end of the 18th century. The Teatralny Bridge (Bolshoya Konyushenny most, 1829–31, was designed by George Adam and Wilhelm von Traitteur:

Change direction and walk 650 m. SOUTHWARD along the Griboyedov Canal Embankment towards Nevsky Prospekt. On our way along the canal - we'll see the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood from its north and east sides. More on this church in the "The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood" blog.

Along Griboyedov Canal - north of The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood:

Along Griboyedov Canal - east of The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood:

In Nevsky Prospekt - turn right (west) and cross the bustling avenue - heading to the Kazan Cathedral.

Alternative route from the Savior on the Spilled Blood Church to Nevsky Prospekt (for those who already beated the Griboyedov Canal: from the church  - head north along Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова), 100 m. Turn left and cross the canal over the bridge, 40 m. Continue onto Konyushannaya ul. (пл. Конюшенная), 200 m. Turn left onto Bolshaya Konyushannaya ul. (ул. Большая Конюшенная) and walk 600 m. along Bolshaya Konyushannaya ul. - until you hit Nevsky Prospekt. Here, turn left (east) and cross Nevsky Avenue - heading to the Kazan Cathedral. We've already visited the Kazan Cathedral during our "Along Nevsky Prospekt" blog. We recommend returning to this church, during the bright afternoon hours - to catch, once more, the sight of Singer building under the sun rays of the late afternoon hours:

View of Kazan Cathedral, Singer Building and Nevsky Prospekt - under the sun rays of the late afternoon hours:

We already browsed the cathedral in the "Along Nevsky Prospekt" blog. We'll take the chance to visit, once more, its magnificent interiors. The afternoon hours are wonderful time to sample this church. Very few visitors, no tourist groups, natural afternoon lighting:

We shall leave the Kazan Cathedral and walk, along the EASTERN side of the church and, again, along the Griboyedov Canal - from north to south (better, along its west bank). As we start to walk down south - stands Kazansky Bridge on our left (east). The kazansky Bridge resides opposite the east colonnade of Kazan Cathedral. It, actually, carries Nevsky Prospekt across the Griboedov Canal. It was built in 1765-66 on a wooden bridge that had been standing since 1716. It is only 17.5 meters long. It has 95 meters width:

It is , approx., 350 m. walk from the Kazan catedral, along Griboyedov Canal Embankment - until we arrive to The Bank Bridge. An architectural gem. Like many of the bridges across the Griboedov Canal, Bank Bridge (Bankovsky most, Банковский мост) was built in 1825-26 to a design by German-born engineer Wilhelm Von Traitteur. He was an engineer who also built other bridges over the Griboyedov Canal, Fontanka and Moika. It is a 25-m-long pedestrian bridge. At 1.85 meters, it is also the narrowest in St. Petersburg. The Bank Bridge is one of the world's most beautiful pedestrian bridges, thanks to the wonderful sculptures of golden-winged griffons by famous local sculptor Pavel Sokolov. Sokolov was a graduate of the Imperial Academy of Art, who was most famous for his sculpture Milkmaid with Broken Pitcher in the Catherine Park at Tsarskoe Selo until, in 1825, he was commissioned to design not only the griffons for Bank Bridge, but also the lion statues for the Lions Bridge, and the sphinxes for the Egyptian Bridge. The griffons, with their strict classical form augmented by golden wings and beautiful curved golden lamp brackets, are, especially, magnificent, under the afternoon hours' sun. There is a legend still propagated among the citizens that if you rub a lion’s paw, you will inevitably make a fortune:

The deck of Bank Bridge is wooden, keeping the structure relatively light, and it has been replaced several times in nearly two centuries. As well as the griffons, Bank Bridge features beautiful cast-iron railings, notable for their ornate, palm-frond design. The original railings were removed at the beginning of the 20th century, and the current railings were installed in 1952, recreated from the original designs.

The bridge takes its name from the Assignation Bank, one of Russia's first public banks, which was housed in the beautiful neoclassical mansion WEST to the bridge, now, home to the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance.

Turn your head back to the north: view of Kazan cathedral and the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (and the Griboyedov Canal) from the Bank Bridge:

Continue 250 m. further south along the Griboyedov Canal and arrive to the Muchnoy Bridge. Again, we have elegant pedestrian bridge which slopes down to the two opposite banks of the Griboyedov Canal in a picturesque corner of central St. Petersburg near the Apraksin Dvor market. The name comes from the flour ("muka" in Russian) warehouses that stood nearby in the 18th century. The first wooden bridge was built here in 1931. Twenty years later, it was replaced with the current  single-span steel bridge, which is light enough to rest on the embankments without extra reinforcement:

120 m. further south along the Griboyedov Canal is the Kamenny Bridge. Kamenny Bridge carries Gorokhovaya Ulitsa (from south-east to the north-west), one of the city center's oldest streets, across the Griboyedov Canal. Kamenny Bridge was built between 1774 and 1778:

450 m. further south is the Demidov Bridge. It carries carries Grivtsova per. from south-east to the north-west. Demidov Bridge dates back to the 18th century, when a wooden bridge stood at this site. The current iron bridge was designed by engineer E.A. Adam, and erected in 1834-35. Its name comes from a wealthy mining family of the 19th century whose Petersburg estate stood nearby. The Demidov Bridge was fully restored in 1999 and upgraded with charming lamps:

The last bridge in our short route is the Sennoy Bridge - 180 m. south to the Demidov bridge. This small bridge stands whre the Griboyedov Canal is in a tight curve - slighting south-west from this point. It was built in 1952 and, replacing a wooden predecessor of 1931. Next to the bridge, the rows of marshrutka minibuses provide a convenient means of getting from the metro to the Mariinsky Theatre.

Cross the Griboyedov Canal from west to east over this bridge, continue 150 m. eastward and you face the Sennaya Square with its Metro stations:

St. Petersburg - walk in the footsteps of Dostoyevsky and his books

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

Dostoevsky's St. Petersburg:

Duaration: 1/2 day. Distance: 10 km.

Start: Anichkov Bridge.

End: the Palace Square.

Weather: It is a long walk along the less touristic areas in SPB. Avoid rainy days.

Main Attractions: Anichkov Bridge, Vladimirskaya Square, Dostoevsky Statue, Dostoyevsky Memorial Museum, Monument to Aleksandr Griboyedov, Pionerskaia Square, Sennaya Square, 73 Griboedov Canal Embankment, Kaznacheisky Stree, 19 Grazhdansky Street (Raskolnikov Home), Lions Bridge (Lvinyy Mostik), Post Bridge or Pochtamtskiy Most,

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one of the greatest Russian writers of the 19th century. Though he was born in Moscow in 1821, ST-Petersburg is the main city of Dostoevsky’s life. He spent most of his life in ST-Petersburg, the events of many of his novels take place in its streets and squares. This is the St. Petersburg that Dostoyevsky presents us with, in contrast to the prim and proper city that Pushkin once described. "Neva's majestic pulsation / The granite that her quaysides wear"—this is the grand side of the city that tourists are shown usually. During this tour we will see many places connected with the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the main characters of his novel 'Crime and Punishment'.

One of the world's greatest authors, Dostoevsky is noted for his penetrating psychological insights, whereby he delved into such complex issues as poverty, exploitation, morality, suicide, free will, the essence of good and evil, and the existence of God. His works are marked by a great empathy for the poor and the homeless people.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky: The Russian writer Dostoevsky is best known for two popular works, namely “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”. He explored the human psychology and was said to have been the first to bring existentialism to light through his novel “Notes from Underground”. Dostoevsky left his mark on the literary world of Russia with thousands of scholars examining his work. Sites related to the famous writer and locations that inspired him have since become popular attractions in Russia. This literary master was born Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky in Moscow, in the year 1821, where his father worked at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor while he was growing up. Moved to St. Petersburg in 1837 at his father's insistence to attend the Military Engineering Institute in the Engineers' (Mikhailovsky) Castle, from which he graduated in 1843. Left his stable position as a military engineer in 1844 to devote himself to writing and published his first novel, Poor Folk in 1846 to general critical acclaim. Thought his life was over in 1849 when he was condemned to death by firing squad for his connections to a secret society of Utopian Socialists. He was carted from his cell in the Peter and Paul Fortress to be shot on Semyonovskaya (now Pionerskaya) Ploshchad, but as the Guards were raising their rifles, a messenger from the Tsar arrived commuting the sentence to four years hard labor in Siberia, which was followed by five years impressed service as a soldier in a Siberian garrison. Was finally allowed to return to Petersburg in 1859, where he continued his literary career with The House of the Dead (1861), the first published novel to deal with Russian prisons. Suffered from epileptic fits, which had a significant effect on his philosophy and conception of life. Characters with epilepsy appear in four of his novels. Often fell into a perilous lack of funds and spent years in Europe hiding from creditors, where he indulged in his financially disastrous addiction to roulette – at one low point, he even pawned his patient wife's wedding ring. The depressing surroundings of the area, such as the lunatic asylum, the orphanage and the cemetery used to bury criminals, had a great influence on Dostoevsky. His compassion for the poor and underprivileged started in childhood, remaining with him into adulthood. Dostoevsky’s literary career and dedication to writing started after leaving the military, when he began writing his first novel in 1844. The next year “The Contemporary” was published, with raving reviews catapulting Dostoevsky into the limelight. He was confronted with many difficulties throughout his career, such as political arrest, exile, loss, gambling addiction and hard labor, but did not let the hardships rob him of his passion for writing. During his career he wrote a range of plays, short stories and novels including “The Gambler”, “The Raw Youth”, “A Writer’s Diary”, “The Idiot” and the “House of the Dead”. Dostoevsky died in 1881 from an epileptic seizure and emphysema. Died on 9 February (28 January old style) 1881, just two months after completing his masterwork, The Brothers Karamazov. Tens of thousands of mourners attended his funeral procession.

The Dostoevsky’s Route:
From Anichkov Bridge, Nevsky prospekt -

head EAST (with your back to the Fontanka river/canal - go strait) on Nevsky prospekt (пр. Невский toward наб. Pеки Фонтанки, 160 m. Turn right onto ulitsa Rubinshteyna (ул. Рубинштейна), 160 m. The McDonald's should be on your left. At  ulitsa Rubinshteyna, 7 - you see one of the first Bolshevik, socialistic blocks of residence built in St. Petersburg around the beginning of the 1920s:

It is 450-500 m. walk to Vladimirskaya Square (ploschad). Continue walking southward along ulitsa Rubinshteyna (ул. Рубинштейна), 95 m. Turn left onto Grafskiy per. (пер. Графский), 170 m. Turn right onto Vladimirskaya pr. (пр. Владимирский), 120 m. Continue onto Vladimirskaya Square (пл. Владимирская),77 m - crossing Kolokolnaya road. On your right - Vladimirskaya Passage (commercial centre) - business center, completed in 2006, with the words Renaissance Hall emblazoned in Latin letters across its columned, glass façade, and, a bit further, Vladimirskaya Metro Station, Dostoevsky statue and Vladimirskaya (St. Vladimir) Church. On your left - Dostoevsky's Apartment Museum and Vladimirskaya Metro Station.

Vladimirskaya Square is accessible by the Metro station Vladimirskaya of Line 1 (red line) of the Saint Petersburg Metro and the station Dostoyevskaya of Line 4 (orange line). Vladimirskaya Squaree is bounded by Zagorodny Avenue, Vladimirsky Avenue, Kuznechny Lane, Kolokolnaya Street, and Bolshaya Moskovskaya Street. The square was so named after the Church of Our Lady of Vladimir, which has existed since the 1860s. It was designed by the Commission for St. Petersburg Buildings in the 1740s. The square and streets around it were assigned for the Court Settlement - a settlement of court craftsmen and workers. The image of the square was formed in the late 19th century:

Vladimirskaya Passage (commercial centre), Hotel Renessaince:

Residence building in Nordic style, north (right) to the Renessaince Hotel (with the sign "Big Size") - built by traders from Finland and Sweden in the beginning of the 20th Century:


Vladimirskaya Metro Station was put into service in 1955, Dostoevskaya metro station in 1991. Dostoevskaya Metro Station, named in honor of our esteemed author. A relatively new station, opened during the last days of December 1991, we note that the architects attempted to capture a Dostoevskian atmosphere by employing old-fashioned lanterns and decorative wrought iron fencing reminiscent of the railings along St. Petersburg's canals.

Vladimirskaya Metro Station:

Dostoevskaya Metro Station:

Next (SOUTH) to Vladimirskaya Metro Station - we find Dostoevsky Statue. The monument to F. M. Dostoevsky was made by sculptors L. M. Kholin and P. P. Ignatyev, artist P. A. Ignatyev, and architect V. L. Spiridonov was opened, first,  not far from the square in Bolshaya Moskovskaya Street in 1997. It is sunken in philosophical pondering, with hands clasped and one knee crossed over the other. This imposing statue, erected in 1997, reminds us that the area around Vladmirskaya Square, although less readily associated with Dostoevsky than Sennaya Ploshchad, is where Dostoevsky spent the final years of his life and penned his last novel, The Brothers Karamazov. THIS IS THE SOLE SCULPTURE OF DOSTOEVSKY IN ST. PETERSBURG:

Visit to the Vladimirskaya Church  or Our Lady of Vladimir Church (Владимирская церковь) (Sobor Vladimirskoy Ikony Bozhiyey Materi), Vladimirskiy prospekt, 20, where the burial service for Dostoevsky was held. It’s an ordinary active church not frequented by foreign tourists except Dostoevsky fans. Our Lady of Vladimir Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Vladimir and located at 20 Vladimirsky Prospect, St. Petersburg.  The avenue takes its name from the church. The current five-domed church was built next to Vladimirsky Market between 1761 and 1769. The church's design, frequently ascribed to Pietro Antonio Trezzini, straddles the line between Baroque and Neoclassicism. The building has two storeyes, with the lower church dedicated to Saint John Damascene. The detached belfry is a fine work of mature Neoclassicism, built to Quarenghi's design in 1791. The portico, chapel, fence, and outbuildings were added in the 19th century. The church was closed in 1932, restored to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989 and named a cathedral in 2000. It gives its name to the Vladimirsky Avenue and Vladimirskaya Square. The church is accessible by the station Vladimirskaya of Line 1 of the Saint Petersburg Metro and the station Dostoyevskaya of Line 4.

The interior of the church features an elaborate Baroque iconostasis, transferred from the Anichkov Palace chapel in 1808. When the 900th anniversary of the Christianisation of Russia was celebrated in 1888, the church underwent restoration. The most famous of its parishioners was Fyodor Dostoevsky. The interiors are breathtaking. The Icons on the second floor are also worth seeing. This yellow semi-baroque, semi-classical building is famous for its elaborate iconostasis, which was designed by Bartomoleo Rastrelli, architect of the Winter Palace, and carved in the mid-eighteenth century. Opening hours: 08.00 - 19.30. Services: daily 09.00, 18.00. SUN 07.00, 10.00.

In the most souther part of Vladimirskaya Square,  with our face to south - we turn LEFT (EAST) to Kuznechny Pereulok. Turning down Kuznechny Pereulok, which runs between the Metro station and the exuberant onion-domed Church of the Vladimir Icon, we walk by a row of Dostoevskian characters, most of whom are of grandmotherly age, purveying a motley assortment of mushrooms, cucumbers, berries and bouquets in order to enhance their meager pensions. Passing the Kuznechny Market on our right (it's worth taking a glance inside to catch a faint echo of the market atmosphere that pervades Crime and Punishment) we immediately reach the Dostoevsky Memorial Museum at 5 Kuznechny Pereulok.

Dostoevsky’s apartment museum: It’s his last apartments where he lived with his second wife and two children for 15 years -  since October 1878 up to his death in January 1881. His last novel The Brothers Karamazovs was written there. The tour inside will give you an idea about everyday life of the great Russian writer of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. His flat, which is on the second floor, illustrates Dostoevsky's affinity for corner apartments, possessing a balcony and a view of a church. Opening hours: daily from 11.00 to 17.30, except Monday and last Wednesday of every month:

Let's descend the few steps into the museum, buy our tickets and proceed up to the second floor. Here we find on the right two large rooms that feature exhibits dedicated to the writer's life and works, and on the left Dostoevsky's actual apartment, which has been restored to look as it did when the great author resided here. Let's take our time wandering through the rooms where we can admire his children's playthings, the small table on which the capable Anna handled business matters, and most impressively, Dostoevsky's study, the focal point of which is the large desk where he worked late into the night by candle glow, penning much of the magnificent The Brothers Karamazov. This is also the room in which he passed away and the grandfather clock is stopped at the hour of his death: 8:36 p.m. Especially touching are the words scrawled on a matchbox by his young daughter "Papa died today."

Dostoevsky rented apartments in some twenty different buildings in Petersburg, never living in one place more than three years. Most of these apartments were in the inexpensive districts around the Church of the Vladimir Icon and Sennaya Ploshchad, and the reasons for these constant relocations were usually financial: our author experienced continual problems with money for the greater part of his adult life. Interestingly, one of his first apartments in St. Petersburg was in the very building we are regarding now, and he returned here some thirty years later, in October 1878, with his second wife, Anna Snitkina, and their two children.

Today, a memorial plaque to him hangs on the the house at 5 Kuznechny Pereulok. The plaque on the wall of Dostoevsky's home has appeared only in 1956. Only twelve years later began the overhaul of his  home.

We retrace our steps in Kuznechny Pereulok and return to Valsimirskaya Metro station. Head west on Kuznechny Pereulok (пер. Кузнечный) toward Dostoyevskogo per. (ул. Достоевского), 180 m. Turn left toward Bolshaya Moskovskaya ul. (ул. Большая Московская), 15 m. Turn left onto Bolshaya Moskovskaya ul. (ул. Большая Московская), 350 m. Continue onto Pravda Road (ул. Правды), 210 m. At No. 13 is the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. In the past it was a church for St. Petersburg B homeless poor people:

Statue in Pravda Road:

Head southwest on Pravda Road (ул. Правды) until its end toward Zvenigorodskaya ul. (ул. Социалистическая), 400 m. Turn left onto Zvenigorodskaya ul (ул. Звенигородская), 150 m. Turn right onto ul. Marata (ул. Марата), 290 m and cross the Theatre Garden (Sad Teatr) to face The Monument to Aleksandr Griboyedov at the Pionerskaia Square (Semyonov square) (see below - how this square is connected with Dostoevsky's biography) (1959, sculptor Vsevolod Lishev, architect Vsevolod Yakovlev). Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov (Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Грибое́дов), January 15, 1795 – February 11, 1829), was a Russian diplomat, playwright, poet, and composer. He was Russia's ambassador to Persia, where he and all the embassy staff were massacred by an angry mob following the rampant anti-Russian sentiment that existed through the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813 and Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828, and had forcefully ratified for Persia's ceding of its northern territories comprising Transcaucasia and parts of the North Caucasus. The meaning of "Griboyedov" is "Mushroom Eater":

In 1846, partially due to the negative attention, Dostoevsky began to suffer from health issues. He fell into severe financial trouble, as well. This forced him to rely upon Belinsky and his group of socialist friends for help. On most Saturdays and Sundays, Dostoevsky could be found at Mikhail Petrashevsky’s residence, who was an intellect and an advocate for utopian socialism. They would talk, eat, discuss the trying times, and denounce serfdom. This weekend group became known as the Petrashevsky Circle. Besides Petrashevsky, Dostoevsky, and Belinsky, the circle was made up of such individuals as the writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, the poet Aleksey Pleshcheyev, and the painter Taras Shevchenko – all well known Russian creatives who happen to be socialist-leaning. Besides serfdom, they also discussed socialist politics, their opposition to the Tsar Nicholas I, and read banned literature. This all came to a halt when, on April 23, 1849: 35 members of the circle were arrested. There was also a note sent to police officers calling for Dostoevsky’s arrest by name. On December 22, 1849, members of a Russian intellectual literary group known as the Petrashevsky Circle were sent to Semyonov Square (Pionerskaia Square) (see above) to meet their fate – death by firing squad. With the men pointing their rifles and fingers resting on the trigger, a messenger from the Tsar rode into the square waving a white flag. Like a miracle, he declared he had an official pardon from the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas I, in a “show of mercy.” Many say, this was not a show of mercy, but rather a staged way of fostering fear, terror, and gratitude. This was a “mock execution” and among the victims was the famed Russian author of Crime & Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky. The famous writer was aved in the last minute - in this square - several steps south to the Monument to Aleksandr Griboyedov...

Walk southward until the end of Marata road. Turn right onto Rodyezdnoy per. (пер. Подъездной), 400 m. Turn left onto Zagorodnyi Prospekt (просп. Загородный), 200 m. Turn right onto Vvednskiy kanal (Введенский канал), 450 m. Turn right onto nab. reki Fontanka (наб. Pеки Фонтанки), 140 m. Cross the Fontanka river from east to west.

Immediately after crossing the cemented bridge - gaze at the right side over this splendid corner of residence surrounding:

Continue right (west) onto pr. Efimova (ул. Ефимова), 400 m. Turn right onto Sennaya Square (пл. Сенная), 75 m. Sharp left to stay on Sennaya Square (пл. Сенная), 90 m. We are in Sennaya Square (Sennaya ploshchad). We can arrive to Sennaya Ploshchad by hopping on the metro from Dostoevskaya Metro Station for onestation to Spasskaya, the last stop on the orange line, and follow the exit signs to the Sennaya Ploshchad, that is, to Hay Market Square.

Sennaya Ploshchad and its surroundings have changed much since Dostoevsky's time, so we will need to put our imagination in full throttle in order to envision the area that our author and his fictional characters once wandered about. Let's cross busy Ulitsa Sadovaya and take a seat on one of the recently installed benches, designed with tilting cart wheels at either end to evoke the square's market past, and make a few observations about Petersburg and Hay Market Square in the era of Dostoevsky. This square, which was established in 1737 as a place where hay, oats, firewood and cattle were sold, quickly became known as the cheapest market in the city. By Dostoevsky's time, the resplendent Baroque Church of the Assumption, erected on the square's edge between 1753 and 1765 (and unfortunately destroyed by the Soviets in 1961 to make way for the metro station), towered over a vast, crowded market. Morning to night, tradespeople loudly hawked all varieties of foods and products against a background of raucous sounds and rotten smells. The area teemed with farmers, peasants and merchants, with poor locals, petty thieves and prostitutes, with derelicts, drunks, and the destitute. Chaotic and crowded, dirty and discordant, Sennaya Ploshchad formed the antithesis to the imperial splendour of Palace Square a short distance away. And it was in this underbelly of the city that Dostoevsky set Crime and Punishment, originally published in twelve monthly installments in 1866. In the novel's first pages, he notes: "Close to the Hay Market, thick with houses of ill repute, the neighborhood swarmed with a population of tradesmen and jacks-of-all-trades who clustered in those central streets and lanes of Petersburg, creating such a panorama of motly characters that almost nothing or nobody could cause surprise." Anyway, thus, we emerge blinking into the central setting of Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky incorporated Sennaya Ploshchad into his works. The square is the setting of pivotal moments in both "Crime and Punishment" and "The Idiot". Sennya Square, where the conversation between Elizabeth and some lady merchant took place and from which Raskolnikov found out that the old lady (pawnbroker) would be alone in the evening in her house. It is no wonder because Dostoyevsky himself lived close to this square for several years (see below).

Sennaya Ploshchad has always been regarded as the "main market of St. Petersburg" since its inception in 1737. Starting out as a trading center for hay, straw, and wood, the square rapidly grew. By the 1740's, houses and shops began to fill the surrounding areas. In the 18th and early 19th century criminals were publicly beaten and flogged in the square.  In 1831 the famous event of the Cholera Riots broke out on Sennaya Ploshchad. As a raging cholera epidemic was tearing through Russia, rumors spread that the government and doctors had been deliberately poisoning the urban population. Thousands of people gathered on the square intending to destroy the cholera hospitals and government agencies. As armed troops with artillery closed in on the protesters, bloodshed seemed imminent. However, Emperor Nicolas I came to the square and promised protection to the demonstrators, who then dispersed. The square is changing its face after the wear of previous centuries. There are Soviet style kiosks and stalls, but also very nifty shopping malls. There is also a very popular market in the square Ryadom Haymarket (Рядом находится). The Moskovskaya prospect, leading to Sennaya Square, is nice change after Nevsky. Lot's of good restaurants and shops around and even if it is crowded all the time, there are only a few tourists brave enough to come here. It is the good and the bad OLD St. Petersburg... Be aware of pickpockets.

Head southwest on Sennaya Square (пл. Сенная) until it becomes Sadovaya Street. Turn right toward Griboyedov Canal Embankment (crнаб. канала Грибоедова), 55 m. Cross the canal over the Sennoy Bridge: 

Turn LEFT (WEST) along Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова), and walk until its end - where it meets Kokushkin per. and its continuation - Stolyarny Alley (Stolyarnyy per.).

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Here, you can make a short detour, of 200 there (and 200 m. back)  to the home of Marmeladov’s daughter Sonya, the poor girl forced into prostitution in the "Crime and Punishment" novel - 73 Griboedov Canal Embankment. From the bridge walk WEST (LEFT) along Griboedov Canal Embankment. Sonia Marmeladov is a young girl of 18 years old who has to work as a prostitute to provide for her family - her drunken father, her stepmother and three children of her stepmother - Katerina Ivánovna. Sonia lives a life full of humiliation and unjustice. But at the same time she is a faithful, religious, very kind person with a pure soul. She sacrifices her well-being in order to help her poor family. Return 200-210 m. back (east) to Kokushkin per. (Kokushkin Bridge):

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Turn RIGHT (NORTH) and walk along Kokushkin per. that continues as Stolyarnyy per. until it meets  Kaznacheisky Street. Dostoevsky lived in Kaznacheisky Street in several places: house No. 1 from 1861 to 1863, moved to house No. 9 in April 1864, then to house No. 7, where he lived until 1867 and where he composed his novels Crime and Punishment and The Gambler. The house was also where he met his wife-to-be, A.G. Snitkina.

Kaznacheisky Street (or:KAZNACHEYSKAYA STREET), running from Griboyedov Canal Embankment and opening onto a different section of the same embankment after crossing Stolyarny Lane. The street was laid in the first half of the 18th century. In the 1730s, it was known as Fifth Perevedenskaya Street, to be renamed Malaya Meshchanskaya Street (or Third Meshchanskaya Street) in 1739. It received its present-day name in 1882, after a provincial treasury ("kaznacheystvo" meaning treasury in Russian), formerly located at house No. 13. The majority of the street's buildings originate from the late 18th century - early 20th century, hence the classical look retained in house No. 7/14 (the former Olonkin Residence, 1835, architect A.Z. Kuzmin, rebuilt in 1876) and house No. 9/11 (late 18th century - early 19th century; rebuilt in 1825, 1843 and 1862). In 1896-97, house No. 13, the site of the Ministry of Finance in the 1840s, was occupied by the building of the Exchequer's Chamber, and the aforementioned Provincial Treasury was erected (civil engineer P.K. Bergstresser, architect N.M. Proskurin).

WE continue along Stolyarnyy per. nortward until it meets Grazhanskaya Ulitsa. According to local historical research, Rodion Raskolnikov, the hero of Crime and Punishment, lived in Grazhanskaya Ulitsa 19/5 - the north-west corner of the intersection with Stolyarnyy per. Indeed, the building is listed in many guide books about St Petersburg as the Raskolnikov House, and noted with a literary hero memorial sign and relief. The words "Home of Raskolnikov" were carved in high relief on the house at 19 Grazhdansky Street  or 5 Stolyarny Pereulok in year 1999. Also found here are a sculpture of the writer and steps, which remind us that the small room of Rodion Romanovich was located right under the roof and accessible by 13 steps. The arch leading to the courtyard, unfortunately, is closed with a gate that has a house call system. The large, bronze relief of our author (installed in 1999), with furrowed forehead and clenched hands, under which the plaque reads: RASKOLNIKOV'S BUILDING - THE TRAGIC FATES OF THE PEOPLE
OF THIS PART OF PETERSBURG SERVED DOSTOEVSKY AS THE BASIS FOR HIS PASSIONATE SERMONS ON GOOD FOR ALL HUMANKIND.

Home of Raskolnikov:

Unfortunately, access to the stairway leading to this garret has been barred by a metal door on Stolyarny Pereulok (Stolyarniy lane, famous for having 18 taverns in 16 houses…) and a gate on Grazhdanskaya Ulitsa (if you are lucky enough to overcome these obstacles, the stairway is reached through the first door to the right of the Stolyarnaya entrance).

Graffiti: "Raskolnikov lives in each of us." "Rodya, kill my neighbor," etc':

We must therefore content ourselves with the general view of BOTH OF THE STREETS as we contemplate the living conditions during Raskolnikov's time, when there was an average of 247 people per building in the Hay Market area. Such astounding density was achieved by packing tenants into every possible space, including attics, closets, cellars, and under staircases. Enterprising landlords converted flats into flop houses that were crammed with rows of bunks. To achieve maximum utilization, these spaces were rented in shifts so that the same bunk might be occupied by two or three people over the course of twenty-four hours. As miserable as Raskolnikov was in his humble garret, it seems conditions could have been worse!

After "tasting" the Raskolnikov Home - we change direction and move west to several more spots around the Griboyedov Canal - concerned with Dostoevsky books and heroes. Head southwest on Grazhdanskaya Ulitsa (ул. Гражданская), 190 m. Turn left onto Voznesensky Avenue (пр. Вознесенский), 55 m. 

The Voznesensky Bridge (over the Griboyedov Canal) is where drunk bureaucrat Marmeladov dies under carriage wheels - in the "Crime and Punishment" book.

Turn right onto nab. Griboyedov Canal (наб. канала Грибоедова), 250 m. Turn left onto Podyacheskaya Srednyaya ulitsa (ул. Подьяческая Средняя), 230 m. Now, we face two versions on the exact address of the home of the old pawnbroker that Raskolnikov kills. It is either in Podyacheskaya Srednyaya ulitsa, 15  OR in 104 Griboedov Canal. Here was the house, here was the gate... Raskonikov has successfully arrived at his destination, 15 Srednaya Podyacheskaya (or 104 on the Griboedov Canal Embankment), gated entrances on both sides. Described during his reconnaissance visit as a huge building which on one side looked on to the canal, and on the other into the street. This building consisted of cramped flats and was inhabited by all kinds of working folk - tailors, locksmiths, cooks, various Germans, girls making a living however they could, petty clerks, and so forth. Once again (like Raskolnikov Home), the tunnel-like arch leading to the atmospherically dilapidated courtyard is blocked by a metal gate, so we will have to wait outside as Raskolnikov slips into the door to the right of the gateway, ascends the dark, narrow staircase to the fourth floor and rings the bell to the pawnbroker's apartment. There is no answer. He rings again. Again no answer. Only on the third ring does the elderly woman unlatch the door and permit Raskolnikov into her small, spotlessly clean apartment... Alyona Ivanovna, the elderly moneylender murdered in Crime and Punishment, lived  here, at nab kanala Griboyedova 104:

The Griboyedov Canal itself, around which the events occur, was formerly known as Yekaterinsky and called “Kanava” (“ditch”) by locals. It did not receive this scornful name for nothing: Waste was constantly dumped into it, producing an evil smell in the neighborhood.

Continue northwest along the Griboyedov Canal on Griboedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова), 280 m. Turn left for 25 m. to the Lions Bridge (Lvinyy Mostik) (Львиный мост). The pedestrian bridge at the cross section of Malaya Podyacheskaya ulitsa and Lvinyy Pereulok, over the Griboyedov Canal, has not changed since the times of Dostoevsky. It was built in 1826 after the designs of engineers Wilhelm von Traitteur and V. Khristianovich. The four figures of sitting lions were made of cast iron by the sculptor Pavel Sokolov:

From the Lions Bridge - we move northward (east to the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, Mariinsky Theatre and Theatre Square - browsec in the "St. Petersburg - from Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog). We head to another famous bridge on the Moika river. Head northwest along the Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова) and continue onto the Lions alley (Livnyy per.) (пер. Львиный), 65 m. Turn right onto ul. Dekabristov (ул. Декабристов), 90 m. Turn left onto Prachechnyy per. (пер. Прачечный), 270 m and cross the Moika reki Embankment and the Moika river over the Post Bridge or Pochtamtskiy Most (Почтамтский мост). The Post Bridge was built in 1823-1824 to designs by architects Wilhelm von Traitteur and Christianovich as a pedestrian bridge suspended by chains. There are only three such bridges left in Saint Petersburg today, the other two being Lions Bridge (see above) and the Bank Bridge. It was reconstructed in 1936 by setting the additional support underneath it, so the chains became merely a decoration. In 1981-1983 the bridge was reconstructed  again, and restored as a suspended bridge. It is located near the central Post Office building, from which it derives its name:

After crossing the Post Bridge - turn RIGHT (EAST) along Bolshaya Morskaya (see "St. Petersburg - from the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood to the Summer Garden" blog.

Bolshaya Morskaya #43:

This street leads EASTWARD to the General Staff Arch and to the Palace Square (approx. 1.5 km. walk).

Note:  There are many other addresses in the city connected with the name of Dostoevsky: the Mikailovsky Castle (the former Military Engineering College) where F.Dostoevsky had studied for 5 years (see:"St. Petersburg - from the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood to the Summer Garden" blog), Peter and Paul Fortress, where he was confined to a single cell for 8 months (see: "St. Petersburg - Vasilievsky and Petrogradskaya Storona Islands" blog) and others. Also excluded in this tour - is Dostoevsky's last stop: Tikhvinskoe cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. It’s a very special grave yard where a lot of the most famous Russian writers, musicians, painters and actors were buried. You will see Dostoevsky’s grave and will have a chance to honour the memory of the Russian genius (see: "St. Petersburg - Along Nevsky Prospect" blog).

St. Petersburg - Hermitage Museum - General Staff Building - The Impressionism Exhibition

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

St. Petersburg - - Hermitage Museum - General Staff Building - The Impressionism Exposition:

Duration: 1/2 day.

View of the General Staff Building from the Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Square):

The General Staff Building (Zdanie Glavnovo Shtaba, Здание Главного штаба), (6-10 Dvortsovaya Embankment), is an edifice with a 580 m. long bow-shaped facade, situated OPPOSITE the Winter Palace. It is a grandiose monument in the Empire style, erected in the course of the reconstruction of the Palace Square in 1819-29 (designed by Carlo Rossi), in commemoration of Russia's victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 and the campaigns of 1813-14 against Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The building complex included the construction of two wings which are separated by a triumphal arch adorned (decoration forming compositions of arms and armour) by sculptors Stepan Pimenov and Vasily Demuth-Malinovskyof. The construction of the Triumphal Arch, connecting both parts of the building was completed in 1829. The arch links Palace Square through Bolshaya Morskaya St. to Nevsky Prospekt and it also commemorates the Russian triumphs against Napoleon. The Triumphal Arch is crowned by the Chariot of Glory - from the (southern side) Palace Square side.

The homogeneity of the main elements of the General Staff building and the Winter Palace creates the impression of integrity of the Palace Square ensemble. The majestic Triumphal Arch forms a symmetrical axe with the central part of the Winter Palace.

Until the capital was transferred to Moscow in 1918, the building served as the headquarters of the General Staff (western wing), Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry (eastern wing). Since 1993, the Hermitage has had control of both wings of the building, and uses them to display a variety of permanent exhibitions of applied art connected to the history of the building, completed at the height of the Russian Empire, soon after Russia's victory against Napoleon.

Three halls on the second floor of the building, running along the northern facade (the Palace Square side), house a permanent exhibition, The Art of Modern. It features art works created by Western European (mostly, French) and Russian artists in late 19th – early 20th century: garments, lacework, articles made of porcelain, ceramics and glass. Nearby rooms in the former ministerial block of the General Staff Building accommodate an exposition devoted to the History of the Ministry of Finance. From 1830 to 1918, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Empire, Provisional Government and the Russian Soviet  Republic was headquartered here. The complex of ministerial premises included Office of the Minister of Finance with Chamber, Library and Credit Chancellery Office.

Several large halls on the third floor are devoted to the Russian painting of the 19th – early 20th century. Art works by such artists as K.P. Bryullov, A.A. Ivanov, V.A. Tropinin, K.S. Petrov-Vodkin, B.M. Kustodiev, I.N. Kramskoy, V.E. Makovsky enable us to trace the development of the Russian school of painting.

A part of the Russian Guards Museum’s collection, Russian Guards in the 18th century, will be shown in halls on the third floor of the General Staff Building, facing the Moika River Embankment. Visitors will have an opportunity to see uniforms, weaponry, combat banners and colours, as well as gifts – valuable regalia, preserved by Russian officers’ descendants and returned to Russia after staying abroad for a long time.

A permanent exhibition Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia: St. Petersburg’s Era 1802-1917 is placed nearby; it details the history of the Russian Foreign Ministry starting from the date of its foundation by Emperor Alexander the First to 1917, featuring paintings and graphics, photographs, historical relics and pieces of decorative and applied arts.

An exhibition entitled 'Realms of the Eagle' compares French and Russian decorative art and costume in the Imperial Age, contrasting the cultural influences of Napoleon and Alexander I. Housed in the former offices of the General Staff, - the halls, designed by the great Russian architect of the first quarter of the 19th century, K.I. Rossi, and painted by P.I. Scotti. The collection is not particularly rich, but has a clear and cleverly presented concept, exploring the different ways these two empires chose to represent themselves.

The halls devoted to Carl Fabergé are one of the most fascinating parts of the new museum complex. They demonstrate the heritage of the firm, founded by renowned Carl Fabergé, as well as further developments and achievements of contemporary jewellery and stone-cutting art.

From 7 December 2014, when the State Hermitage Museum celebrated its 250th anniversary - the permanent exhibition Modern European Art is held in the eastern wing in the fourth floor, the Memorial Gallery devoted to S.I. Shchukin and the Morozov brothers. The Hermitage's superb collection of Modern European Art, the bulk of which is made up of French impressionist and post-impressionist painting, is divided between those works that were received into the Hermitage collections after the Revolution, and art seized from Germany after World War II. The former are displayed on the museum's fourth floor, and include some of the world's largest collections of works by Picasso and Matisse. But, far more Impressionists' masterpieces are included in the 4th floor extensive collection: Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Gaugin and many others.

The new exposition is unique in the way that for the first time, the Hermitage collection of the 19th-20th century French painting is demonstrated in full, without dividing artworks based on the principle of receipt. The Gallery opens with Claude Monet’s hall featuring fourteen paintings by the artist; then the theme of Impressionism is continued in Edgar Degas’ hall with his Place de la Concorde, a room with still-life paintings by Henri Fantin-Latour, a hall of landscape paintings by Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. The next two halls hold an exceptionally rich collection of art works by Auguste Renoir. Further, works of art by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are demonstrated, followed by Les Nabis painters’ halls. After 10 years, canvas by Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis returned back to the General Staff Building.

The fourth floor exhibition ends with a small collection of pre-Revolutionary Russian modern art, including canvases by Vasiliy Kandinskiy and Kazimir Maleevich - the most and significant names of the Russian avant-garde. Now they have only one hall with Kandinsky and other avant-gardes - but soon there will be much more rooms.

The modern Art exposition is NOT easy to find and NOT really well advertised - so hurry up, before this building will be flooded by thousands of visitors every day. It is an astonishing experience. it's far of being jam-packed like the Hermitage. We went to the Impressionist era exhibition in July, a regular weekday, at 14.00. It is right the middle of the school holidays (busiest time at the museums in Russia) and there were hardly more than 10 visitors in the whole floor. It is unbelievable how the Hermitage emerged as one of the leading museums in the world of Modern Art - as well. It is amazing the taking photographs is FREE and how close you can get to the paintings.

Temporary Exhibitions: wonderful expositions of: Tibetan Art, Finnish Modern Architecture etc' are held during the period from NOV 2015 to Spring 2016 in the General Staff Buildings.

Prices: Separate ticket - 300 RUB. Free - for students (country does not matter). Combined tickets: The Main Museum Complex and its branches:
the General Staff Building, the Winter Palace of Peter the Great,
the Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory - 600 RUB (valid for two consecutive days). FREE admission for all visitors: The first Thursday of every month.

Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, , Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30 - 18.00, Wednesday 10.30 - 21.00. Closed: Mondays, as well as January 1 and May 9.

Getting there: Metro: Admiralteyskaya:

Practicalities: The small cafe' or restaurant is out of the cashiers and security control mechanisms. So, you CANNOT eat or rest and return to the expositions in the floors above.

Free photos-shooting.

Head straight up in the lift to the fourth floor and enjoy!

Now, your best advice: buy the combined (one-day or two-days) ticket in the General Staff Building. Start your day in the Modern European Art exhibition and continue to the Winter Palace OR rush, with your ticket to the Hermitage Main Complex entrance - skipping the l-on-g queues there !!!!

Exterior: The building itself is awesome and a real treat because it's so brilliant and modern in comparison to the Hermitage. The inner yards have been covered with glass roofs. Magnificent modern staircases have been installed inside. These modern aspects work extremely well with the historic building, the historical interiors (that are well preserved) and the fabulous pieces of art that are exhibited. The whole blend - IS SPECTACULAR !

The first atrium in the new wing of the Hermitage Museum:

Another sensation you cannot miss - a moving exposition of a Roman Mosaic found in Lod, Israel. Breathtaking ! :

Impressionism - Shchukin Gallery - 4th Floor:

Matisse Room: Two Russian art collectors stood out at the beginning of the 20th century: the cloth merchant Sergei Shchukin (1854–1936) and the textile manufacturer Ivan Morozov (1871–1921). Both acquired modern French art, developed a sensibility for spotting new trends, and publicized them in Russia. In 1906 Sergei Shchukin met the young artist Henri Matisse, and became one of Matisse's main patrons, acquiring 37 of his best paintings over an 8-year period. Shchukin also commissioned several large-scale pictures from him that would later acquire worldwide fame. In order to come to terms with these huge canvases and their radical simplicity, Shchukin shut himself away alone with them in his palatial house for several weeks. Many of his visitors reacted with bafflement to these latest purchases. Shchukin jokingly remarked, “A madman painted it and a madman bought it.” Shchukin and Matisse would develop more than just a commercial relationship. With Shchukin’s support and backing, Matisse was free to strive toward even greater artistic challenges. Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) early years were spent in northern France where his middle-class family owned a general store. Although he studied in Paris to be a lawyer, in 1890, while confined to his bed for nearly a year after an operation, he chose drawing as a pastime. When he recovered, he decided that painting would be his career. At first Matisse followed in the footsteps of the Impressionists, but he soon abandoned their more delicate palette and established his characteristic style, with its flat, brilliant color and fluid line, a style that came to be known as Fauvism. Like many avant-garde artists in Paris, Matisse was receptive to a broad range of influences. He was one of the first painters to take an interest in non-European art, studying Persian miniatures, Japanese prints, and African sculptures, but a visit to Moscow where he saw early icon painting seemed to hold special importance to him. He once commented, “What interests me most is neither still life nor landscape but the human figure. It is through it that I best succeed in expressing the nearly religious feeling that I have toward life.”. Matisse traveled widely in the early 1900s when tourism was still a new idea. Brought on by railroad, steamships, and other forms of transportation that appeared during the industrial revolution, travel became a popular pursuit. As a cultured tourist, he developed his art with regular doses of travel and in 1911 visited his patron Shchukin’s collection in Moscow. During the trip Matisse encountered Russian icons. This would have a tremendous impact on his future work. Matisse is known to have said, “I spent 10 years searching for what your artists already discovered in the 14th century. It is not you who need to come to us to study, but it is we who need to learn from you.”. As we can see from Girl with Tulips, which was completed a year before his visit to Moscow, by 1910 Matisse was already working with luminous color and simplified forms. The model for the painting is Jeanne Vaderin, or Jeannette, as Matisse called her. She was the subject of several of his paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Matisse arrived in Moscow on October 23, 1911. The next day, he visited the Tretyakov Gallery and asked to be shown their collection of Russian icons. Matisse was delighted by the icons and declared that to see them was more than worth the arduous trip. Matisse spent much of his time in Moscow frantically visiting monasteries, churches, convents, and collections of sacred images. Excited by what he saw, he shared it with all who came to interview him during his stay in Moscow. “They are really great art,” Matisse excitedly told an interviewer. “I am in love with their moving simplicity.… In these icons the soul of the artist who painted them opens out like a mystical flower. And from them we ought to learn how to understand art.”:

Matisse - Ballerina:

Matisse - Family Portrait:

Matisse - Fruits, Flowers, the Dance:

Matisse - Conversation:

Matisse - Harmony in Red:

Jean Joveneau. - Still Life with a Mirror, 1912:

Marie Laurencin, Artemis,1908:

It was through Matisse that Shchukin got to know Pablo Picasso, who became the final master in his collection. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Shchukin owned the largest collection of Picassos in the world. 51 pictures covered the walls of an entire room, right up to the ceiling. The Picasso collection covers his most popular early periods, and includes Sisters, from the painter's Blue Period, and several cubist masterpieces including Three Women (1908) and a stunning Still Life of 1913:

Picasso - Absinthe Drinker, 1901:

Picasso - Nude, 1909:

Picasso - Woman Playing Mandoline, 1909:

Picasso - Violin and Guitar, 1913:

Picasso - Bust of a Nude, 1907:

Picasso - Dance with Veils, 1907:

Picasso - Friendship, 1908:

Picasso - Woman with a Fan, 1908:

Picasso - Three Women, 1908:

Maurice de Vlaminck - View of a Small Town,1913:

Andre Derain - Harbor in Provence. André Derain (10 June 1880 – 8 September 1954) was a French artist, painter and sculptor. He attended painting classes under Eugène Carrière, and there met Matisse. In 1900, he met and shared a studio with Maurice de Vlaminck (see picture above) and began to paint his first landscapes. His studies were interrupted from 1901 to 1904 when he was conscripted into the French army. Following his release from service, Matisse persuaded Derain's parents to allow him to abandon his engineering career and devote himself solely to painting. Derain and Matisse worked together through the summer of 1905 in the Mediterranean village of Collioure and later that year displayed their highly innovative paintings at the Salon d'Automne. The vivid, unnatural colors led the critic Louis Vauxcelles to title their works as les Fauves, or "the wild beasts", marking the start of the Fauvist movement. In March 1906, the noted art dealer Ambroise Vollard sent Derain to London to compose a series of paintings with the city as subject. In 30 paintings (29 of which are still existing), Derain put forth a portrait of London that was radically different from anything done by previous painters. These London paintings remain among his most popular work. In 1907 art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler purchased Derain's entire studio, granting Derain financial stability. He moved to Montmartre to be near his friend Pablo Picasso and other noted artists. At Montmartre, Derain began to shift from the brilliant Fauvist palette to more muted tones, showing the influence of Cubism and Paul Cézanne. Derain supplied woodcuts in primitivist style for an edition of Guillaume Apollinaire's first book of prose, L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909). He displayed works at the Neue Künstlervereinigung in Munich in 1910, in 1912 at the secessionist Der Blaue Reiter and in 1913 at the seminal Armory Show in New York. He also illustrated a collection of poems by Max Jacob in 1912. At about this time Derain's work began overtly reflecting his study of the Old Masters. The role of color was reduced and forms became austere; the years 1911–1914 are sometimes referred to as his Gothic period. In 1914 he was mobilized for military service in World War I and until his release in 1919 he would have little time for painting, although in 1916 he provided a set of illustrations for André Breton's first book, Mont de Piete. After the war, Derain won new acclaim as a leader of the renewed classicism then ascendant. With the wildness of his Fauve years far behind, he was admired as an upholder of tradition. In 1919 he designed the ballet La Boutique fantasque for Diaghilev, leader of the Ballets Russes. A major success, it would lead to his creating many ballet designs.The 1920s marked the height of his success, as he was awarded the Carnegie Prize in 1928 and began to exhibit extensively abroad—in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio. During the German occupation of France in World War II, Derain lived primarily in Paris and was much courted by the Germans because he represented the prestige of French culture. Derain accepted an invitation to make an official visit to Germany in 1941, traveling with other French artists to Berlin to attend an exhibition by Nazi sculptor Arno Breker. The Nazi propaganda machine naturally made much of Derain's presence in Germany, and after the Liberation he was branded a collaborator and ostracized by many former supporters.A year before his death, he contracted an eye infection from which he never fully recovered. He died in France in 1954 when he was struck by a moving vehicle:

Renoir - Ball at the Moulin de la Gallette, 1879: (many more Renoir pictures - see at the Morozov Gallery, see below).

Impressionism - Morozov Brothers Gallery - 4th Floor:

Claude Monet - Garden, 1873. Claude Monet was a famous French painter whose work gave a name to the art movement Impressionism, which was concerned with capturing light and natural forms:

Degas - Place de Concord, 1876:

Edouard Manet - Mme. Isabelle, 1879. Édouard Manet, 23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883) was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, and a key figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His early masterworks, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) and Olympia, both 1863, caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism:

Jean Jacques Henner - Woman in Red - 1890. THIS IS A STRIKING PICTURE. Jean-Jacques Henner, 15 March 1829 – 23 July 1905, was noted  in painting nudes, religious subjects, and portraits. Henner was born at Alsace. He began his studies in art as a pupil of Michel-Martin Drolling and François-Édouard Picot. In 1848, he entered the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, and took the Prix de Rome with a painting of Adam and Eve finding the Body of Abel in 1858. He first exhibited Bather Asleep at the Salon in 1863 and subsequently contributed Chaste Susanna (1865), now in the Musée d'Orsay. The Levite of the Tribe of Ephraim (1898) was awarded a first-class medal. Henner also took a Grand Prix for painting at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1873, Officer in 1878, and Commander in 1889. In 1889, he succeeded Cabanel in the Institut de France. Henner died at age 76 in Paris:

Henri Fantin Latour - Still Life - 1865. Best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers:

Alfred Sisley - La Garenne - 1872. Alfred Sisley, 30 October 1839 – 29 January 1899, was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape outdoors. He deviated into figure painting only rarely and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, found that Impressionism fulfilled his artistic needs. Over the years Sisley's power of expression and color intensity increased. Among his important works are a series of paintings of the River Thames, mostly around Hampton Court, executed in 1874, and landscapes depicting places in or near Moret-sur-Loing. The notable paintings of the Seine and its bridges in the former suburbs of Paris are like many of his landscapes, characterized by tranquility, in pale shades of green, pink, purple, dusty blue and cream:

Camille Pissarro - Fair in Dieppe - 1901. Camille Pissarro, 10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903, was a Danish-French Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas (now in the US Virgin Islands, but then in the Danish West Indies). His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54. In 1873 he helped establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, becoming the "pivotal" figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members. Pissarro is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. He "acted as a father figure not only to the Impressionists" but to all four of the major Post-Impressionists, including Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin:

Camille Pissarro - Boulvard Montmartre - 1897:

Camille Pissarro - Place du Theatre, Paris - 1898:

Now we arrive to a long and impressive series of pictures by Auguste Renoir. Auguste Renoir, 25 February 1841 – 3 December 1919, was a  leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. A painter of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality. His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women. As a young boy, he worked in a porcelain factory. His drawing skills were early recognized, and he was soon employed to create designs on the fine china. He also painted decorations on fans before beginning art school . He moved to Paris in 1862 to study art, where he met Frederic Bazille, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley, all great impressionist painters. By 1864, he was exhibiting works at the Paris Salon, but his works went largely unnoticed for the next ten years, mostly in part to the disorder caused by the Franco-Prussian War. Later, during the Paris Commune on 1871, Renoir was painting on the banks of the Seine River, when he was approached by a number of members from the commune, who thought he was a spy. They threatened to throw in into the rive, but he was saved by the leader of the commune, Raoul Rigault, whom he had protected on an earlier occasion. He experienced his first artistic success in 1874, at the first Impressionist Exhibition, and later in London of the same year. In 1881, Renoir began his world travels, voyaging to Italy to see the works of the Renaissance masters, and later to Algeria, following in the footsteps of Eugene Delacroix. It was in Algeria where he encountered a serious bout with pneumonia, leaving him bed ridden for six weeks, and permanently damaging his respiratory system. In the later years of his life, not even severe rheumatoid arthritis, which left him confined to a wheelchair and limited his movement, could deter Renoir from painting. His arthritis eventually got so bad as to leave a permanent physical deformity of his hands and shoulder, which required him to change his painting technique to adapt to his physical limitations. Before his death in 1919, Renoir traveled to the Louvre to see his paintings hanging in the museum alongside the masterpieces of the great masters. He was a prolific artist, created several thousands artworks in his lifetime, and include some of the most well-known paintings in the art world:

Auguste Renoir - A Young Woman with a Fan - 1880:

 Auguste Renoir - Lady in Black - 1876:

Auguste Renoir - Lady on Stairs - 1876:

Auguste Renoir - Actress Jeanne Samary - 1878:

Auguste Renoir - Girl Arranging Her Hair - 1887:

Auguste Renoir - Girl with a Whip - 1885:

Auguste Renoir - Girl with a Hat - 1872:

Auguste Renoir - In the Garden - 1885:

French artist Paul Signac was born in Paris on November 11, 1863. He began his artistic career in 1880 after viewing an exhibition of Monet's work. A friendship with Neo-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat led him to adopt the new Divisionist style in such works as "The Dining Room," "Women at the Well" and many seascapes of the French coast. Signac was committed to anarchist politics and was a mentor to younger avant-garde artists, including Henri Matisse. He died in Paris on August 15, 1935.

Paul Signac - Port of Marseille - 1906-7:

Paul Cézanne, 19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906, was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Cézanne's often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne "is the father of us all.":

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) - Girl at the Piano - 1869:

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) - The Pool - 1876:

Paul Cézanne - Bathers - 1890-1:

Paul Cézanne - Smoker - 1890-2:

Paul Cézanne - Lady in Blue - 1900:

Paul Gauguin, 7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903, was a French Post-Impressionist artist who was not well appreciated until after his death. Gauguin is now recognized for his experimental use of color and style that were distinctly different from Impressionism. His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Paul Gauguin is one of the most significant French artists to be initially schooled in Impressionism, but who broke away from its fascination with the everyday world to pioneer a new style of painting broadly referred to as Symbolism. As the Impressionist movement was culminating in the late 1880s, Gauguin experimented with new color theories and semi-decorative approaches to painting. He famously worked one summer in an intensely colorful style alongside Vincent Van Gogh in the south of France, before turning his back entirely on Western society. He had already abandoned a former life as a stockbroker by the time he began traveling regularly to the south Pacific in the early 1890s, where he developed a new style that married everyday observation with mystical symbolism, a style strongly influenced by the popular, so-called "primitive" arts of Africa, Asia, and French Polynesia. Gauguin's rejection of his European family, society, and the Paris art world for a life apart, in the land of the "Other," has come to serve as a romantic example of the artist-as-wandering-mystic. After mastering Impressionist methods for depicting the optical experience of nature, Gauguin studied religious communities in rural Brittany and various landscapes in the Caribbean, while also educating himself in the latest French ideas on the subject of painting and color theory (the latter much influenced by recent scientific study into the various, unstable processes of visual perception). This background contributed to Gauguin's gradual development of a new kind of "synthetic" painting, one that functions as a symbolic, rather than a merely documentary, or mirror-like, reflection of reality.
Seeking the kind of direct relationship to the natural world that he witnessed in various communities of French Polynesia and other non-western cultures, Gauguin treated his painting as a philosophical meditation on the ultimate meaning of human existence, as well as the possibility of religious fulfillment and answers on how to live closer to nature. Gauguin was one of the key participants during the last decades of the 19th century in a European cultural movement that has since come to be referred to as Primitivism. The term denotes the Western fascination for less industrially-developed cultures, and the romantic notion that non-Western people might be more genuinely spiritual, or closer in touch with elemental forces of the cosmos, than their comparatively "artificial" European and American counterparts:

Paul Gauguin - Conversation - 1891:

Paul Gauguin - Pastoral Tahiti - 1892:

Paul Gauguin - Two Sisters - 1892:

Paul Gauguin - Woman Holding a Fruit - 1893:

Paul Gauguin - Canoe - 1896:

Paul Gauguin - Still Life with Sunflowers on an Armchair -1901:

Vincent van Gogh, 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890, was a Post-Impressionist painter. He was a Dutch artist whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. Van Gogh painted portraits, self portraits, landscapes and still lives of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers. He drew as a child but did not paint until his late twenties.Many of his best-known works were completed during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, including 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints:

Van Gogh - Landscape - 1889:

Van Gogh - Madame Trabuc - 1889:

Van Gogh - Arena at the Arles - 1888:

Van Gogh - Lilac Bush - 1889:

Édouard Vuillard - Madame Vuillard by the Fireplace - 1899-1900:

Édouard Vuillard - In the Room - 1900:

Édouard Vuillard - Children in the Room - 1909:

Maurice Denis, November 25, 1870 – November 13, 1943, was a French painter and writer, and a member of the Symbolist and Les Nabis movements. His theories contributed to the foundations of cubism, fauvism, and abstract art:

Maurice Denis - Bacchus and Ariadne - 1907:

Pierre Bonnard, 3 October 1867 – 23 January 1947, was a French painter and printmaker, as well as a founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis. Bonnard preferred to work from memory, using drawings as a reference, and his paintings are often characterized by a dreamlike quality. The intimate domestic scenes, for which he is perhaps best known, often include his wife Marthe de Meligny. His compositions rely less on traditional modes of pictorial structure than poetic allusions and visual wit. Regarded as a late practitioner of Impressionism in the early 20th century, Bonnard has since been recognized for his unique use of color and his complex imagery:

Pierre Bonnard - Early Spring - 1909:

Pierre Bonnard - Morning in Paris - 1911:

Pierre Bonnard - Evening in Paris - 1911:

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Floor 2 - The Art of Modern: Art works created by Western European and Russian artists in late 19th – early 20th century - very few pictures:

Franz Xaver Winterhalter ( Born: 20 April 1805; Menzenschwand, Germany, Died: 08 July 1873; Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Field: painting, lithography, Nationality: German, Art Movement: Neoclassicism, Romanticism) - Portrait of Countess Olga Shuvalova - 1858:

François Flameng - Reception at Compiegne in 1810, 1894-96. François Flameng produced a series of paintings devoted to Napoleon Bonaparte. The four paintings treat episodes in the emperor's biography as genre scenes with an almost intimate approach. The paintings were acquired by the Russian emperor Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Alexandra Fiodorovna:

Scholz - Prostitute - 1929:

Wassily Kandinsky, 16 December 1866 – 13 December 1944, was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. Kandinsky began painting studies (life-drawing, sketching and anatomy) at the age of 30. In 1896 Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe's private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Kandinsky was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Communist Moscow, and returned to Germany in 1921. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944:

Wassily Kandinsky - Winter Landscape - 1909:

Wassily Kandinsky - Landscape - 1913:

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VI - 1913:

St. Petersburg - Kamenny and Yelagin Islands

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

From Kamenny Island (Stone Island) to Yelagin Island and back to Kamenny Island:

Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Distance of Walking: 8-10 km.

Start and End: Chyornaya Rechka (Чёрная рéчка) (Blue Line No. 2). is a station of the Saint Petersburg Metro which opened on 4 November 1982. Chyornaya Rechka is the name of the place of the last duel of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

Main Attractions: Chyornaya Rechka Metro station, Ushakovsky Bridge, Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, Kamennoostrovsky Bridge, Sphinxes on the Little Neva Embankment, Dolgorukov-Oldenburg Estate House, Kugusheva Mansion, Guadze House, Chaev Mansion, Vurgaft house, Kleinmikhel Mansion, Teatr Kamennoostrovskiy, First Yelagin Bridge, Kirov Central Culture and Leisure Park, Yelagin Palace, Polovtsov Mansion, Vollenweider Mansion, Gausvald Dacha, the Oncological Hospital, Chyornaya Rechka pavilion and Metro station.

Weather: only bright and sunny day !  No shelter in case of rain or winds.

Introduction: Kamenny Island is hardly and rarely visited by tourists. During our 6 hours of walking there - we saw only a couple of tourists. The locals flood this island - BUT, only during the weekends (when they pay for the entry of their cars and for the parking...). But, for the St. Peter's experienced visitor - the island is an oasis of architectural treasures, the grandest of which is the Kamennoostrovskiy Palace, a royal residence built by Catherine the Great for her son, the future Paul I and of lush-green sights and picturesque landscape all around. The island is a delight to explore, with overgrown pathways that hide some truly beautiful, if rundown, buildings. Kamenny Island translates as Stone Island.

History: The island was originally granted by Peter the Great to Count Gavriil Golovkin, his friend since childhood. During the reign of Empress Elizabeth, Kamenny Island was passed to Count Alexei Bestuzhev-Ryumin, who brought several thousand vassals from his Ukrainian estates to drain the marshy island and build its embankments. Later, Tsaritsa Elizabeth passed the island to her son, the future Peter III.

By the end of the 18th century, Kamenny Island had become the sought-for site by royal and aristocratic ranks. It was the playground of the SPB elite for nearly three hundred years. Several of Russia's greatest noble families built Dachas (summer-houses) there.  Even in the Soviet Union era, Kamenny Island continued to be restricted to the St. Petersburg high society, with top-ranking government and military officials granted Dachas on the island. Nowadays, Kamenny Island remains a peaceful wilderness, and one of the nicest places in the city to stroll.

Chyornaya Rechka Metro station resides in a nice pavilion surrounded by  a splendid square and buildings:

From the Metro station we take the ul. Akademika Krylova (ул. Академика Крылова) SOUTHWARD (passing through two subways, ascending and descending staircases). It is , approx. 500 m. walk from the Metro station until you arrive the Ushakovsky Bridge (most) (УШАКОВСКИЙ мост) over the Bolshaya Nevka (Neva) river. It connects Academician Krylov Street in SPB mainland and Kamenoostrovsky avenue in Kamenny Island. The Ushakovsky bridge  was earlier known as the Stroganov or 2nd Stone Island Bridge. The modern name of the bridge was awarded in memory of Admiral Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov (Фёдор Фёдорович Ушако́в) (1745-1817), Tambov Governorate) a famous Russian naval commander and admiral of the 18th century. The bridge piers are faced with granite. The iron railings of the bridge are decorated with ornaments with the composition of anchors, stars, oak and laurel wreaths, made in the style of "Stalinist" classicism. Decorated columns, in the same style, stand in pairs at each of the bridge entrances:

After you crossed the Bolshaya Nevka - you are in Kamenny Island, in the wide and bustling Kamenoostrovsky Avenue. Immediately on your LEFT, into a small garden stands the red-roofed  Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. When Kammeny Island was bought by Catherine II in 1765, as a gift for her son Pavel, the church was one of the first buildings to appear. In 1766, a home for injured sailors and veterans of the Battle of Chesme was established on the island by Pavel, who commissioned the church for their use. It was under restoration in summer 2015:

Continue walking SOUTHWARD along Kamenoostrovsky avenue in Kamenny Island - until you face water again - this is the Krestovka river or the Malaya Neva (Little Neva). On your right and left is the nab. reki Maloy Nevki street. DD NOT CROSS THE BRIDGE (Kamennoostrovsky Bridge) OVER THE Malay Neva. You can walk over the beautiful bridge and enjoy the river sights around:

Instead of crossing the bridge we turn RIGHT (WEST) and walk along the Krestovka river, along nab. reki Maloy Nevki (the river on our left, south) and hit, immediately, on a small piece of grass, a couple of green Sphinxes on the Small Neva Embankment- Malaya Neva (Little Neva):

Behind the Sphinxes (north of them) stands the impressive Dolgorukov-Oldenburg Estate House, nab. Reki Maloy Nevki 11, was built in 1831-1832 by S. Shustov for Prince Dolgorukov. It is a small wooden building by the very bank of the Krestovka river. Cubic in shape, crowned by a low cupola and adorned by Doric six-columned porticoes supporting three balconies. Originally belonging to Prince Dolgorukov, it passed on to the Danish Prince of Oldenburg, a nephew of Nicholas I, which is why it is often called the Dolgorukov-Oldenburg Villa. The house is one of the few surviving examples of Russian wooden architecture in the age of Classicism. Later, the view of the house has been improved by the construction of a granite ramp leading down to the river with the cast-iron sphinxes set on either side. It is an excellent example of Classicist Russian wooden architecture. The house was also owned by the Prince of Oldenburg, hence its name. Although not open for public visits, the Dolgorukov-Oldenburg House can be admired as you stroll down the Little Nevka Embankment:

It is a long walk along nab. Reki Maloy Nevki (when you arrive to a T small junction. Look at the Kugusheva Mansion (1896), now Kustodiyev Art School at 1 Bokovaya Alleya:

Take the left (south) leg along the steel fence. It is Zapadnaya alleya that continues, again,  as nab. Reki Maloy Nevki). But, along this shady - you see beautiful mansions. Several of them still built as wood estate-houses.

nab. Reki Maloy Nevki # 12-14:

Note the mansion at number 18 (deep on your left) along the way in nab. Reki Maloy Nevki). This long, shady, splendid road will lead us to the bridge - leading to Yelagin Island.Try to "catch" the mansion at No. 33 A (nab. Reki Maloy Nevki, 33) - Guadze House:

When you arrive, again, to a T junction - take the RIGHT (north) leg or path. Here,  nab. Reki Maloy Nevki changes its name to nab. Reki Krestovski. WE continue direst, in the same direction (AND DO NOT TURN LEFT). In nab. Reki Krestovski - you'll find the Chaev Mansion - the past residence of Sergey Chaev - the chief engineer of the Trans-Siberian train:

Do not miss the Vurgaft house (still on your left): A famous rich man Dmitry Rubinshtein was its leaser for many years. He initiated merry new year's celebrations and dancing parties with gifts and cheers for kamennoostrovsky children in the house. In 1918 the house was nationalized and was occupied by the Bolsheviks for local children:

We continue walking westward along nab. Reki Krestovski. Note Kleinmikhel Mansion at 12 Naberezhnaya Reki Krestovki:

The Krestovsky canal is on our left with relaxing sights all over:

nab. Reki Krestovski ends in the pl. Starogo Teatra Square. Take the LEFT (south) leg and surround the white-washed square from its southern side, first:

A bit further north, still in this square, stands Kamenoostrovskiy Theatre (teatr), pl. Starogo teatra, 13. Teatr Kamennoostrovskiy, is a large neoclassical building designed in wood. Erected in 40 days, the theater was designed to last only seven years, but today it is still standing. The building was started in 1776 under Kamennoostrovsky Yuriy Felten and completed five years later, together with the nearby Church of St. John the Baptist. It was built, again, in 1826 by  Smaragd Shustov as a summer theatre. In 1844 it was demolished and rebuilt again by A. Cavos - the master architect who designed all st. Petersburg theatres. From 1914 - no theatrical action took place in this building. Today, it is used for local TV theatre productions. The surrounding park was designed by the French-born Thomas de Thomon in 1810:

We continue westward and cross the First Yelagin Bridge - on our way to Yelagin Island. On your right, in the western end of the bridge - yo see the Kirov Park and Yelagin Palace (see below):

The current name of the island, Yelagin, originates from one of the many owners of this island – Ivan Yelagin, who was famous for his hospitality. He made a free entrance to the park and treated kindly all its guests. Prior to the revolution of 1917, the Imperial family had owned Yelagin Island. The reconstruction of the palace and the park was entrusted to the Italian architect Carlo di Giovanni Rossi. Landscaping was done by the same architect who created the parks of Tsarskoye Selo and Pavlovsk. Yelagin Island is also reputed for its Central Park of Culture and Recreation named after Sergei Kirov (former Leningrad Communist Party boss, who was assassinated in 1934). Yelagin Island as the Krestovsky Island is located in the north-western part of the city on Neva River’s delta, which flows into the Gulf of Finland. it is so quiet area. If you want spending a calm day or having a rest in a park -  it is worth getting to Yelagin island. it's spacious and even though there are many people being actively doing sports (running, cycling, rowing, roller skating, sunbathing on the shore, dancing to the military band or visiting an exhibition, 5 km. running track) . This is a great place for cultural activities and promenades. Yelagin Island is especially good in the summer time with outdoor cafes available for the visitors. However it’s also nice during snowy winter and in the period of autumn leaf falling. In spring this island is full of tulips so you could feel yourself in The Netherlands. This island is stunning in autumn when trees turn yellow and red. In all seasons It has the feel of an English park:

Kirov Central Culture and Leisure Park: The Kirov Central Culture and Leisure Park on Elagin Island is a favorite spot for Petersburgers to spend free time relaxing with family and friends. In the winter there is an ice-rink and you can also hire skis to explore the island, while during the summer there are badmington courts, rides for kids, and boat trips around the city on offer. The centerpiece of the island is the Elagin Palace (see below), which is now a museum holding a wonderful collection of decorative and applied art. Work on the creation of the Park began in 1931. It was based on the Yelagin Palace Park, which was built for the Empress Maria Fyodorovna and contained an Imperial summer residence surrounded by fields and woodland. In 1932, part of the park was opened to the public, and fairground attractions, a children's park and a boat-house were built; in the winter there are skiing, sledding and ice-skating. The park is widely populated with grey squirrels and special food is sold here for them. There are also various birds, ducks and  geese. There is a great opportunity to take photos in Yelagin Palace in some of the rented historical costumes so do not forget to bring your camera. And you can take some pictures of splendid scenery of the park too. Several years ago, the park has been restored to its historic appearance. It has preserved different kinds of centuries-old trees and unique flora. Please note that some lawns with relevant signs are forbidden to walk onto. Very nice, romantic and peaceful park. Lots of water and trees. What is really nice about this place is the quiet atmosphere. During the weekends - music played out on speakers throughout the park, and lots of stalls selling hot drinks, food, and crafts:

Yelagin Palace: The main attraction of Kirov Park is the Yelagin Palace. It is also called “the palace of the doors” – you will not find a single matching pair of doors here. The furniture and even the smallest details of the interior are created after the drawings of the Italian architect Carlo Rossi. The main objects are:  Chariot Stables building (exhibition halls are open to the visitors), Yelagin Palace itself, Kitchen building, Greenhouse building (occupied by the museum of fancy glass). There is the Museum of Russian arts and crafts and interior of XVIII-XX centuries, with a permanent exhibition on the first and second floors, which demonstrates the everyday objects of past eras. In the palace there are conducted tours which offer everyone to learn ballroom etiquette 19th century. Every Wednesda takes place a concerts' series called "Yelagin’s evenings" in the Oval Hall of Yelagin palace. There you can hear the music of all styles - from classical to jazz, from folk to tango, from medieval to avant-garde. In the halls of the Chariot Stables building take place temporary exhibitions. In the only St. Petersburg Museum of Art Glass there is a collection of works by St. Petersburg factory of glass art, as well as works made by masters of glass-making of Russia and abroad, and there is a workshop “Painting on glass”.

Opening hours: Summer season: daily - 06.00 - 24.00 (!), Winter season: daily - 06.00 - 23.00. Tickets office working hours: 10.00 - 22.00. Working hours of museums and exhibition halls: 10.00 - 18.00. Please note: Yelagin Park is closed on Mondays and last Tuesdays of each month. Park entrance is free on weekdays. On weekends and public holidays the Kirov Park admission fares are: Adults – 70 rubles (except for privileged categories of citizens), – Pupils, school and university students, armed forces personnel – 40 rubles. The admission fare of the Yelagin Palace Museum and the Museum of Fancy Glass is from 75 to 150 rubles. All-inclusive tickets: Adults – 260 rubles, students and retirees – 160 rubles:

General map of Yelagin Island:

We return to the First Yelagin Bridge and cross it again with our face back to Kamenny Island and our back to Yelagin Island. We return to Starogo Teatra Square and turn left (north) to the Teatralnaya Alleya path or narrow road. Alternatively, you can take, the more northern road - nab. reki Srednaya Neva. We walk from south to north along Teatralnaya Alley - when the green park on our left. After 250 m. we'll see, on our left, (north-west) (on your right, after 300 m. - if you took the nab. reki Srednaya Neva road) the Polovtsov Mansion. It is a nice example of the Russian neoclassical revival of the early 20th century. This majestic, strictly symmetrical building with giant pillars was constructed 1911-1913 by the architect Ivan Fomin. THe entrance is from 6, Naberezhnaya Sredney Nevki:

Walk in either of the two roads (Teatralnaya Alleya or nab. reki Srednaya Neva) and turn right to Bolshaya alleya. If coming from nab. reki Srednaya Neva - cross Teatralnaya Alleya and continue easward. In Bolshaya alleya #13 - you find the Vollenweider Mansion. The house was built by the court architect Roman (Robert-Friedrich) Melzer in 1905 for the Swiss tailor Edward Vollenweider, a supplier of the Imperial Court. Try to catch its view in the river from the south facade:

You continue walking soutward in Bolshaya alleya (аллея Большая) until it meets the 2-ya-Berezovaya Alleya. In this junction (at 12 Bolshaya Alleya / 32 2-ya Beriozovaya Alleya) stands the the Gausvald Dacha. In Soviet times, the mansion was used as a sanatorium and in the 1990s was home to the Consulate-General of Denmark.

Change direction, retrace your steps and head northwest on Bolshaya Alleya (аллея Большая) toward 2-ya Beriozovaya Alleya (ал. 2-я Берёзовая), 65 m. Turn right onto 2-ya Beriozovaya Alleya (ал. 2-я Берёзовая), 650 m. In numbers 3-5 stands the Ananyeva Asylum (1905), now Oncological Hospital:


It happened that the Oncological Hospital is our last station (...) in this route - and we make our way back to our initial Metro station. It is a 1.1 km. walk back to Chyornaya Rechka. Head east on 2-ya Beriozovaya alleya (ал. 2-я Берёзовая) toward Letnyaya alleya (аллея Летняя), 45 m. Turn left onto Letnyaya alleya (аллея Летняя), 190 m. Turn right onto nab. Reki Bolshoy Nevki (наб. реки Большой Невки), 180 m. Cross the Neva over the Ushakovsky Bridge. Continue direct toward Akademika Krylova (ул. Академика Крылова), 260 m. Slight left in  Akademika Krylova (ул. Академика Крылова), 55 m. Turn right in Akademika Krylova  (ул. Академика Крылова), 40 m. Turn left onto Akademika Krylova, 20 m. Slight right to stay on Akademika Krylova, 160 m. Slight right, 35 m. Finally, take the pedestrian tunnel stairs, 90 m. Turn left, 55 m - and we arrived to the Chyornaya Rechka pavilion and Metro station.

St. Petersburg - The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum - Floor 2

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

Tip 1: The Winter Palace  - The State Rooms

Tip 2: The Small Hermitage: French Art , Art of the Western European Middle Ages, Dutch Art and the Pavilion Hall

Tip 3: The New Hermitage: Flemish, Dutch and German Art, The Twelve-Column Hall, The Knights' Hall, Italian Art

Tip 4: The New and Old Hermitage: Italian and Spanish Renaissance and Fine Art.

Tip 1 Main attractions: Rastrelli Staircase, The Great (Nicholas) Hall (Hall 191), The Concert Hall (room 190), Field Marshall Room (Room 193), The Malachite Room - Room 189, The Gambs Room - Room 185, The Library of Nicholas II - Room 178, The Boudoir - Room 306, The Gold Drawing Room - Room 304, The White Hall - Room 289, Room of French Art of the 18th Century - Room 287, Room of French Art of the 18th Century - Room 286, Alexander Hall - Room 282, The Picket Room - Room 196, The Armorial Hall - Room 195, The Peter the Great (Small Throne) Room - Room 194, The Field Marshall Room - Room 193, The War Gallery of 1812 - Room 197, The St. George (Large Throne) Hall - Room 198, The Great Church - Room 271,

Note: For the French paintings of the 19th–20th centuries which are on display in the General Staff Building - see another blog.

Opening Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30 - 18.00.
Wednesday, Friday: 10.30 - 21.00. Closed: Mondays,  January 1 and May 9.

Prices:

  • The Main Museum Complex and its branches:
    the General Staff Building, the Winter Palace of Peter the Great,
    the Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory - 600 RUB. This is a combined entrance ticket to the State Hermitage allowing visiting all the museum facilities operated by the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg in two consecutive days, including: the main displays located in the five interconnected buildings of the museum on Palace Embankment; the displays in the General Staff building on Palace Square and the Menshikov Palace on University Embankment; the Winter Palace of Peter the Great down the Palace Embankment from the main complex; the Porcelain Museum on Prospekt Obukhovskoy oborony.
  • Entry ticket to one of the museum branches - 300 RUB. This is a regular entrance ticket to the State Hermitage allows visiting the complex of Hermitage buildings located on Palace Embankment that contain the main exhibition halls. It gives access to the museum displays housed in five interconnected buildings.
  • Schoolchildren, students (irrespective of their citizenship !), pensioners of the Russian Federation - FREE.
  • FREE admission for all visitors: The first Thursday of every month. Expect huge waiting queues. We did it on 2 JUL 2015. It took us 1.5 hrs waiting. We saw, in one day (which was satisfactory), the main museum complex (incl. the Winter palace). Herds of visitors around.

Public Transport:
Metro: Admiralteyskaya, Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor.

Buses: 7, 10, 24, 191.

Trolleys: 1, 7, 10, 11.

Entrance: from the Palace Square. Everyone appears to join an enormous queue. On-line tickets (see below) require that you swap your voucher for a ticket (approx.100-200 persons in that queue) and then another long queue to enter the Hermitage). SO, USE the AUTOMATIC MACHINES. There are a couple of self-service ticket machines in the courtyard before the main entrance. Enter the Palace Square, walk across past the monument towards the Winter Palace black iron gates. Enter Just through the arch, on the right as you enter the courtyard, there is a ticket machine. The instructions are in English and it costs 600 rubbles to buy a ticket. Join the short-time queue to the entrance and Voila ...

Online tickets: You can avoid a L-O-N-G line at the ticketing office at the museum by purchasing Hermitage tickets online. When you place an order with the Hermitage e-shop (https://www.hermitageshop.org/tickets/), you will receive a Ticket Voucher via email in 20 minutes. Just print it and handle it, with your ID (Passport) on entry day. There are two types of tickets and  prices: 

  • 18 USD - one-day entrance ticket to the Main Museum Complex and the General Staff Building.
  • 23 USD - two-consecutive-days entrance ticket to the Hermitage museum, the General Staff Building and all museum's branches.

If you are going to purchase tickets in advance, I recommend you do it on the Russian website because the tickets are cheaper. If you do not understand Russian, it does not matter, you can just use an automatic translator in your web browser or you can open both versions (the Russian and English page) on two different screens in order to understand the Russian.

After you make your e-purchase you will be emailed a PDF voucher, which you must print out at home and present (along with a valid ID, like a passport) in a special kiosk just inside the museum courtyard (with the face inside - to the left). In return you’ll be given an admission ticket, and off you go, bypassing the line of people who, for whatever reason, would rather wait…and wait…and wait to get inside. You should print the voucher and present it on the day of your visit along with your ID !!!

Guided tours:  guided tour ticket for one visitor in groups of maximum 25 people to the Main Museum Complex or the General Staff Building according to the tour schedule - 200 RUB. The tickets are purchased together with the entrance ticket upon arrival. Information about guided tours' hours is available daily at information stands at the main entrance.
Guided tour tickets can be purchased at museum ticket offices. Visitors from abroad can enjoy tours in European languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Audio-guides for 350 Rub are available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish as well. Please be aware, though, that it is not possible to buy tickets for neither the Gold nor the Diamond Treasure Rooms online (Floor 1). You are only allowed to visit these sections of the Museum on a scheduled guided tour.

Food and Smoking: There is only one café in the whole building. It is right in the middle on the ground floor. It is a good idea to plan your tour in a way that you will come back to this place for a lunch or tea time break. Better - bring some protein bars or heartier snacks along with you in your bag and find a place for rest and lunch. Quite difficult to find. If you are a smoker you might be in trouble. Smoking obviously is prohibited inside the building, but on top of that there are no easy ways out or smoking areas. So best prepare yourself for a day without food and without a smoke !

Photography: Flash photography or use of illumination devices are not allowed.

Luggage: Backpacks go in lockers but if you have a large handbag there is no problem.

Views from the museum's windows: the views from the windows are spectacular. There aren’t views like this anywhere else in the world.

When are the best times to visit The Hermitage: The best time to visit the museum is in winter and spring, when there are less people. Should you be visiting St. Petersburg mainly to see the collection of the Hermitage, I advise you to go in winter! The whole winter palace is well heated and there are not even half as many tourists there as in summer. Believe me! You don’t want to wait a quarter of an hour to see the Pavilion Hall or one of the two Da Vincis with elbows pushing into your ribs from both sides. And if you still want to come in summer, it’s better to do this in the middle of the day while tour groups are having lunch. The museum can barely hold the large amount of visitors that arrive during the summer. In fact, the tourist crowds in summer make it impossible for true art lovers to see the basic museum collections.

What not to see in the Hermitage Museum: this blog concentrates on the SECOND FLOOR only. Down in the first floor you will find a huge collection focused on ancient Greece and Egypt. Now if you’ve never seen an egyptian sarcophagus or a greek amphora you might want to consider checking this part of the collection. There are no true highlights to be found there like in the British Museum or the Pergamon in Berlin, or in the Louvre though. Most Hermitage museum guides do not really mention these at all. So better save those for another visit or another day. On the third floor there is some Art from Asia and Asia Minor. Probably the same can be said about these rooms: while interesting in itself there are other museums in the world that really specialized on these cultures. Rather save your time and head to the General Staff Building. You don’t want to miss that ! (see our blog on the GSB collections).

Introduction: There is no museum in the world that rivals the Hermitage in size and quality. Its collection is so large that it would take months to view its whole treasures. There are nearly three million works on exhibit (17,000 paintings and 600,000 graphic works, over 12,000 sculptures and 300,000 works of craft, 700,000 archeological and 1,000,000 numismatic findings). The museum itself, IS STUNNING, BREATH-TAKING with its fine interior decoration and architectural detail. The museum consists of five buildings located in the historical center on the Neva embankment (southern shore of the Neva). The Winter Palace that comprises the main collection of the state museum has 1,057 halls and rooms. As the Hermitage is so enormous, its collection so impressive and diverse, and its interior so attractive in its own right - many visitors prefer to make several briefer visits rather than one lengthy, hurried and exhausting one-day tour. Many visitors don't try to see the entire museum in one day. Instead, they concentrate on one section or specialty. To see all the art displayed you'd have to cover a distance of about 22 km. Another way is to explore the whole main complex on a high-speed reconnaissance tour for a 2-3 hours to get an overview of as much as you can see. Then go back later (on another day when you've recovered!) to concentrate on your favorite bits and see them properly. Even so, after several visits you will touch only the tip of the iceberg... The museum is also worth a visit for its sumptuous interior.
The Winter Palace in particular is magnificent, with its marvelous Jordan Staircase and dazzling splendor of the many state rooms.

As we said before, the State Hermitage consists of five linked buildings along the Palace Embankment (north) (or: riverside Dvortsovaya nab.). From west to east they are:

Winter Palace: This stunning mint-green, white and gold profusion of columns, windows and recesses, with its roof topped by rows of classical statues, was commissioned from Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754 by Empress Elizabeth. Catherine the Great and her successors had most of the interior remodelled in a classical style by 1837. It remained an imperial home until 1917, though the last two tsars spent more time in other palaces.

Small Hermitage: The classical Small Hermitage was built for Catherine the Great as a retreat that would also house the art collection started by Peter the Great, which she significantly expanded.

Old Hermitage: At the river end of the Little Hermitage is the Old Hermitage, which also dates from the time of Catherine the Great.

New Hermitage: Facing Millionnaya ul on the south end of the Old Hermitage, the New Hermitage was built for Nicholas II, to hold the still-growing art collection. The Old and New Hermitages are sometimes grouped together and labelled the Large Hermitage.

State Hermitage Theatre: Built in the 1780s by the classicist Giacomo Quarenghi, who thought it one of his finest works. Concerts and ballets are still performed here. In the same building but accessed from the Neva Embankment are the remains of the Winter Palace of Peter I.

The museum is especially strong in Italian Renaissance and French Impressionist paintings, as well as possessing outstanding collections of works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Tician, Rubens, Rembrandt, Picasso (the main complex) , Renoir and Matisse (the General Staff Building). Visitors should also take advantage of its excellent Greek and Roman antiquities collection (mostly, copies) and its exhibits of Central Asian art. The museum also hosts a world's best collection of Holland Baroque, French paintings of 19th and 20th centuries, Western European decorative art collection and a unique Gold of the Scythes exhibition. 

History: The Winter Palace was built in 1754-1762 by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. In 1764-75, at the order of Catherine the Great, Small Hermitage was erected by Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe and Yuri Felten. In 1771-87, Yuri Felten built the Great Hermitage. In 1783-87, based on Giacomo Quarenghi designs, the Hermitage theatre was built. The museum was damaged in an 1837 fire and reconstructed in the neoclassical style in the 19th cent. To complete the ensemble, in 1842-51 Leo von Klenze built the New Hermitage for the emperor museum.  Nicholas I also greatly enriched it and opened the galleries to the public for the first time in 1852.

The origins of the Hermitage collections can be traced back to the private art collection of Peter the Great, who purchased numerous works during his travels abroad and later hung them in his residence. Catherine the Great expanded the collection considerably, and she and her successors built the Hermitage collection in large part with purchases of the private collections of the Western European aristocracy and monarchy. The collection of Catherine the Great began with the purchase of more than two hundred paintings from Berlin art merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. This collection consisted of a plethora of impressive works by artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Raphael, Holbein, Tician, and several others. Historians say that during her lifetime Catherine the Great acquired 4,000 paintings by the old masters, 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 10,000 drawings, 16,000 coins and medals and a natural history collection filling two galleries. Catherine the Great aimed to enhance the international reputation of the Russian imperial court. At the same time, it was a display of power and wealth, sending an important political symbol to rival empires in Europe. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was heir to the greatest collection of art in Europe. Opened to the public in 1852, the museum contained only the imperial collections until 1917. After the Revolution of 1917, the museum was opened to the public, and its collection was further augmented by the addition of modern works taken from private collections. Today, the Hermitage has embarked on a major renovation effort. Its collection is in the process of being reorganized, and many of its works have for the first time become available for traveling exhibits outside of Russia. Today the collection on display is simply staggering and represents nearly every major epoch in the history of man, since Paleolithic times to the present day.

The Hermitage now has a permanent partnership with the Guggenheim in New York and maintains permanent show rooms in London (Somerset House), Las Vegas (Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum), and Amsterdam (Hermitage-Amsterdam Exhibition Complex). It has also received a substantial technology grant from IBM for a digital image studio and a new interactive website. The complex also continues to host a theatre (built 1783), an orchestra (1989), a music academy (1997), a center for education and Internet technology (1997), in addition to shops, cafes, and other services.

Future plans: The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has announced plans to open a new institution in Moscow called the Hermitage Modern Contemporary Museum. The space will display some of the museum’s iconic 20th-century works as well as contemporary art. Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture, noted for their interactive virtual version of the Guggenheim, have been selected to design the museum, a 15-story structure.

Getting in: High season: The biggest crowds of tourists gather in June and at the beginning of July for the legendary "White Nights". The Museum is closed on Mondays. If you come during high season, try to arrange the Hermitage visit for Wednesday afternoon and avoid the busiest day – Tuesday. There are less people during lunchtime and in the evenings (but keep in mind that you’ll need about 3-4 hours to see the most important Hermitage collections). Ticket offices close an hour earlier, than the museum itself. Low season: The best way to avoid waiting is to come either 10 minutes before opening time or after 15.00  - 16.00. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are the least crowded days. Try to avoid Tuesday even during low season. During school holidays crowds grow significantly (end of December - first week or two of January). In winter there’s often a waiting line for the cloakroom so even with a ticket you’ll probably have to wait a little bit.

Hermitage Rastrelli Staircase is called, also,  Jordan Staircase. During state receptions and functions the Jordan Staircase was a focal point for arriving guests. After entering the palace through the Ambassadors' entrance, in the central courtyard, they would pass through the colonnaded ground floor Jordan Hall before ascending the staircase to the state apartments. It was here that the imperial family watched the Epiphany ceremony of baptism in the Neva River, which celebrated Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. This grandiose staircase retainins the original 18th-century style. Only the supporting  grey granite columns, were added in the mid 19th century. The staircase was badly damaged by a fire that ruined part of the palace in 1837.  Nicholas I ordered Vasily Stasov, the architect in charge of reconstruction, to restore the staircase using Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli's original plans. The stair hall is decorated with alabaster statues (some of which were brought from Italy in Peter the Great's reign) of Wisdom and Justice by Mikhail Terebenev (1795-1866); Grandeur and Opulence by Alexander Ustinov (1796-1868); Fidelity and Equity by Ivan Leppe; and Mercury and Mars by Apollon Manyulov. The 18th-century ceiling painting by Gasparo Diziani depicting Mount Olympus visually enlarges the interior that is transfused with light, gleaming gold and mirrors.

 

The Jordan Staircase brings us up to the impressive rooms of state, where imperial receptions, official ceremonies, court festivities, and magnificent balls were held. This is a series of spectacular state rooms designed to overwhelm those entering  - with the imperial glory and military might of the Russian Empire. We start with the rooms of the Neva Enfilade, which runs west from the Jordan Staircase. Several rooms have spectacular views across the river to the Strelka on Vasilevskiy Island. We continue with a series of rooms which display entitled Russian Palace Interiors of the 19th Century, which, also, feature recreations of the Winter Palace's more private rooms: for example: Nicholas II's  Library Room and the charming, Russian Empire Music Room. At the southwest corner of the Winter Palace, a further cluster of rooms has been preserved, amongst them the incredibly magnificent Golden Drawing Room.

The Great (Nicholas) Hall (Hall 191) of the Winter Palace: This room is the first to hit in the Great Suite of State Rooms in the Winter Palace. Tt derives a special grandeur from its Corinthian columns. After Nicholas I's death in 1855 a formal portrait of him was installed here and the hall was given his name:

view to the Neva river from the Nicholas hall:

The Concert Hall (room 190) is on right side (adjoining) of the Nicholas Hall. Also created by the architect Vasily Stasov after the 1837 fire. Paired Corinthian columns support a cornice bearing statues of the ancient muses and the goddess Flora.

The Concert Room opens to the Room 189 - The Malachite Room. The Malachite Room, designed by Alexander Briullov, 1839, served as the state drawing-room of Empress Alexandra Fiodorovna, the wife of Tsar Nicholas I. On one of the walls is depicted an allegorical picture of Night, Day and Poetry by Antonio Vighi. There are also 19th-century works of decorative and applied art. During summer 1917 - this room was the main meeting point of the emerging Bolshevik government. The dominant color of this room - is deep green.

Music Room - Room 187:

Rossi Room - room 186:

The Gambs Room - Room 185 - "Exhibition: The Decoration of the Russian Interior in the 19th Century". Former Study room of Tsarina Alexandra Fiodorovna. The display is devoted to the work of the best-known furniture-maker in Russia in the early years of the 19th century - Heinrich Gambs (1765-1831). Gambs arrived to St Petersburg in the 1790s and founded a firm that produced mahogany furniture and flourished until the 1870s.

Drawing Room - room 184:

Pompian Dining room - Room 183:

Smoking Room - Room 179:

The Library of Nicholas II - Room 178: Created in 1894-95 by the architexct Alexander Krasovsky with extensive use of English Gothic motifs. The bookcases are placed along the walls and on the upper gallery, which is reached by a staircase. In the gallery, on the desk - there is a porcelain sculpture portrait of Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor.

Neo-classical Room - room 177:

Art- Nouveau room - Room 176:

Neo-Russian Room - room number is one of the three (173-175):

Room 172 - Goblins and Glass Artworks:

Personal items of Tsar Alexander II - Room 170:

Russian Culture - 2nd half of the 18th century - room 169:

Russian Culture - 1st half of the 18th century - A Cradle - room 167:

The Boudoir - Room 306: The Boudoir was part of the apartments of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II. The posh room was designed in 1853 by the architect Herald Bosse. It is total Rococo- style room with deep crimson silk fabrics with metal threads, soft gilded furniture, heavy chandeliers reflected in the mirrors - all create a royal atmosphere and striking, intimate imperial feeling.

The Golden Drawing Room - Room 304: one more apartment of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II. This room retains its original decoration. Here, the extensive room was designed and created, reconstructed following the fire of 1837, by the architect Alexander Briullov in 1838-41: stunning parquet floor, vaulted ceilling, marble or jasper columns, heavy gilt mouldings on the walls in a Byzantine style, multiple bas-reliefs, gilded doors, glass cabins, impressive marble fireplace and mosaic pictures:

We are, now, in the most south-west room - The White Hall - Room 289: Again, the White Hall, was, also, designed and created by Alexander Briullov for the wedding of the future Emperor Alexander II in 1841. The dominant color is different shades of white. Centered in the White Hall are figures of ancient Roman gods. On top of the Corinthian columns are  figures symbolizing the arts. Displayed, in the hall, pictures of French painters from the second half of the 18th century: Hubert Robert, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Jean-Louis Voille:

The White Hall - Room 289: view to the Palace Square:

Room of French Art of the 18th Century - Room 287: In the centre of the room is the famous sculpture of Voltaire that was commissioned by Catherine II (who exchanged letters with Voltaire for 16 years) and created by the sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon. Volataire is presented and dressed as a Greek philosopher. Other pictures, in the room, are: Still life by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, The Washerwoman (1735), Saying Grace (1740) by Jean-Baptiste Chardin.

Room 286 - Winter by the 8th-century French sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet:

Marie-Anne Collot (French 1748-1821) made the sculpture of Voltaire - which stands also in Room 286. Collot made the bust of Voltaire around 1770 to Catherine's commission. The philosopher was well known in Russia, where his works on Russian history had been published even before Catherine's reign. When she took the throne in 1762, the Empress began a long correspondence with Voltaire that ended only with his death in 1778. To create the bust Collot used existing depictions of Voltaire:

Room 286: view to the Palace Square:

French Decorative Art - Room 283:

French Decorative Art - Alexander Hall - Room 282: the room is dedicated to Emperor Alexander I and commemorates the reign of Emperor Alexander I and the Napoleonic Wars - particularly, the French invasion to Russia (Patriotic War of 1812). Created by Alexander Briullov after the 1837 fire. The walls contain twenty-four medallions commemorating Russia's victory over the French, created by the sculptor Count Fyodor Tolstoy:

We move, now, to a series of state room - NORTHWARD.

The Picket Room - Room 196 : designed by Vasily Stasov in 1838 and intended for the changing of the internal palace guard. It was, in this, roo, where the lesser court staff members, accompanied by their wives - greeted the Tsar family. Reliefs with motifs of military equipment are placed between the pilasters. Paintings of the vaulted ceiling depict battle scenes of the Patriotic War of 1812 by Peter von Hess. The room also contains works by 16th- to 18th-century silversmiths of Augsburg and Nuremberg as part of the Hermitage's large collection of German silverware. You can see, here, personal belongings of Napoleaon and his rival - Marshall Kutuzov:

Battle of Viazma on 22 October 1812:

The Armorial Hall - Room 195: the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace was intended for grand receptions. It was created by Vasily Stasov in the late 1830s. The entrances to the hall are flanked by sculptural groups of early Russian warriors. Attached to the shafts of their banners were little shields bearing the arms of the Russian provinces, which gave the hall its name.

The Peter the Great (Small Throne) Room - Room 194: created in 1833 by Auguste Montferrand and restored after the 1837 fire by Vasily Stasov. The room featuring crimson velvet wall panels embroidered with silver double-headed eagles and decorated with a plethora of gilt. The room commemorates Peter the Great. its decoration features the Emperor's monogram (two Latin letters P), double-headed eagles and crowns. In a niche that is designed like a triumphal arch is a painting of Peter-the-great  accompanied by the allegorical figure of Glory (Minerva) (by Jacopo Amigoni). Above the throne we note the painting of hovering cupid ready to place a crown upon Peter's royal head. Set into the upper parts of the walls are paintings (by Pietro Scotti and Barnaba Medici) depicting Peter in major battles of the Northern War. The throne was made in St Petersburg in the late 18th century. The room also contains two large battle scenes from Peter's victorious northern war against Sweden (Battle of Poltava and the Battle of Lesnaya by Pietro Scotti (1768-1837) and Barnabas Medici). In this room - the foreign delegates greeted the Tsar for the upcoming new year:

The next hall northward (turning to the left at the top of the Rastrelli staircase) we reach the Field Marshall Room - Room 193. Placed on the walls between the pilasters are portraits of Russian filedmarshals - in honor of Russia's military leaders. Hence the name of the room. The room contains full-length portraits of Russian Field Marshals - most notably (from left to right) Kutuzov, Suvorov and Potemkin. Further motifs of military glory embellish the massive gilded bronze chandeliers and the paintings on the ceiling:

Portrait of Suvorov:

Prince Mikhail Kutuzov of Smolensk:

RETURN TO ROOM 195 and move eastward to The War Gallery of 1812 - Room 197: Gallery dedicated to the victory of Russian arms over Napoleon. It was built by Karl Rossi and unveiled on the anniversary of the exile of Napoleon in Russia, 25 December 1826. Placed on its walls painted portraits by George Dawe 332 generals – members of the war in 1812 and foreign campaigns of 1813-1814:

The gallery has a portrait of Emperor Alexander I and King of Prussia, Frederick III of F. Kruger:

a portrait of Emperor Franz I of Austria by P. Kraft:

Room 197 opens eastward to The St. George (Large Throne) Hall - Room 198: Created in the early 1840s by Vasily Stasov who followed the compositional approach of his predecessor, Giacomo Quarenghi. The grand decor of the hall accords with its function as the setting for official ceremonies and receptions. The columned hall with two tiers of windows is finished with Carrara marble. The great imperial throne was made in London to a commission from Empress Anna Ioannovna (by Nicholas Clausen, 1731-32). The hall has a magnificent parquet floor made from 16 varieties of wood:

Return (westward) to room 197 and continue southward to room 270. from there continue to The Great Church - Room 271:  this room belonged to the suite of rooms in the Old (Large) Hermitage in the mid-19th century. The interior décor has not survived. During restoration in 2003 the walls were painted the colour of the cloth that used to cover/decorate the room. The majority of the works in this room were painted by Veronese (1528-1588) the greatest artist of the Venetian school :

Here, we finalize our visit in the Hermitage state rooms. There are more state room like the Pavilion Hall (room 204) - but, they are included in our following tips in this blog. Now, skip to Tip 2.

Petrogradskaya - along the northern bank of Neva river

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

Petrogradskaya Island: From Sobornaya Mosque - to Finlandskaya train station.

Distance: 7-8 km. Duration: 4-5 hours (with the Museum of Political History: 7-8 hours).

Attractions: St. Petersburg Mosque, Museum of Political History, Trinity Square, Troitskiy (Trinity) Bridge, Petrovskaya nab. (Петровская наб.), Cabin of Peter the Great, Nakhimov Naval Academy, Sampsonievskiy Bridge, Mikhailov Artillery Academy, Lenin Square, Finland train station.

Start: Gorkhovskaya Metro station (Red line #1).

End: Finland train station or Lenin Square (Ploshchad Lenina) Metro station (Red Line #1).

Introduction: this itinerary is ONLY in the Petrogradskaya island. It does not include the St. Paul and St. Peter fortress (also in Petrogradskaya) - browsed in the "St. Petersburg - Vasilievsky and Petrogradskaya Storona Islands" blog. This route starts in Gorkhovskaya Metro station - where the  "St. Petersburg - Vasilievsky and Petrogradskaya Storona Islands" route ends. Most of the route passes along the northern bank of Neva river, overlooking the impressive southern shores of the Neva river. You'll have magnificent views of Petrogradskaya Island from the Holy Trinity Bridge and you'll pass by several wonderful Art-Nouveau buildings in Petrogradskaya and through a couple of well known icons of the Bolshevik revolution: the balcony where Vladimir Lenin spoke to the public after returning to St. Petersburg and the Finland train station with the train which brought him, in 1917, from his exile in Switzerand - back to revolutionary Russia and St. Petersburg. As for the old ship "Aurora" and its cannons - it is at Kronstadt for repairs till 2016.

We start in Gorkovskaya Metro station. We exit the station at the subway, crossing the Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt under the ground. Cross also the Kronverskiy street (Кронверкский пр) (caution !) from south to north. You should be on the left side of Kronverskiy bustling street - where the St. Petersburg Mosque is, immediately, on your left. You cannon miss the St. Petersburg Mosque, Kronverkskiy prospekt, 7 (Санкт-Петербу́ргская мече́ть) - a magnificent, oriental, bluish-greenish mosque - probably under restoration (as for summer 2015).  It is the largest mosque in Europe outside Turkey, 50 m. high. It was opened in 1913, its construction completed at 1921 and it can accommodate up to five thousand prayers. In 1940 the Soviet authorities banned services and turned the building into a medical equipment storehouse. During the Second World War St. Petersburg Mosque was closed and was made into a warehouse. At the request of the first Indonesian President, Soekarno, ten days after his visit to the city, the mosque was returned to the Muslim Religious community of St. Petersburg in 1956. The mosque was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of St. Petersburg exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. The architect Nikolai Vasilyev designed the mosque after Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane in Samarkand. The hall for men is located on the first floor of the mosque, women pray in the hall on the second floor. The classrooms of the Sunday school, where the classes of Islam, the Arabic and Tatar languages are taught, are situated on the third floor:

Our next destination is the Museum of Political History, Kuibisheva st., 2-4. You continue south-east along Kronverskiy street. Almost in its end, on your left, you see a courtyard with sculptures (a university workshop):

The next, adjacent building, in the intersection of the streets Kronverskiy and Kuibisheva stands a splendid, asymmetrical, in Art-Nouveau style: in the past - the Kshesinskaya Estate or Mansion and, presently, the Museum of Political History. Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 18.00, last admission is at 17.00. Closed: Thursdays and on the last Monday of each month. Prices: adult:  200 RUB, Students/children: 100 RUB. Audio-guide: 100 RUB. Photo: free, video: not allowed. NOT wheelchair accessible (no elevator/lift, many stairs). There is a good provision of English annotation as well. http://en.polithistory.ru/. This  Art Nouveau building  was originally built, in 1906, for Ballerina Mathilda Kshesinskaya (a lover of the Tsar Nicholas II), the Prima Ballerina at the Mariinskiy before the 1917 revolution. The design (by Alexander von Gogen) combines line of reception rooms with a winter garden and rotunda. The exterior comprises windows of different sizes set in walls covered with various materials. In 1917, the building was seized by the Bolsheviks and turned into their headquarters in the city. It became the centre of their revolutionary activities, and Lenin made a historic speech from one of the balconies after his arrival in the city. It was later passed through a number of organizations, before eventually becoming the Museum of the Revolution in 1957.

The exhibition WAS based, during the 20th century years, on the collection of artifacts gathered by key players in the Communist revolution long before the museum itself was actually established, including their own personal items, documents, posters, pamphlets, and banners. Of particular interest are the belongings of politicians, statesmen, scientists and military leaders, among them the 19th-20th centuries Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin, Trotsky, Gorbachev and Yuri Gagarin. During the last years, the museum's collection Had been extended and its time spectrum had been broadened - from the reign of Catherine the Great (the second half of the 18th century) to the political climate in present Russia. There are nearly 500,000 exhibits on display now. Among them: original document signed by Napoleon, piece of the Berlin Wall, an actual Sputnik and correspondence letters of Mikhail Gorbachev. You can visit the same room and balcony from which Lenin spoke during the 1917 revolution. THIS IS AN IMMENSLY INTERESTING MUSEUM FULL WITH HISTORIC AND CULTURAL INFORMATION, ARTIFACTS AND DOCUMENTS. DO NOT MISS !!! More than that: it is the creative presentation of the materials that makes it truly so inspiring, phenomenal and outstanding. Unforgotten lesson in recent history !!! Allow, at least, 3 hours. There is also a good Soviet-style cafe'/cafeteria (hidden at the end of a long corridor, behind the washroom and cloakroom) with budget prices:

Lenin office:

Stalin office:

We head now to the Neva river - without crossing the Troitskiy bridge. We stay on the northern shore of the river. With your back to the museum, head RIGHT (southwest) on Kuibisheva (ул. Куйбышева) toward Trinity Square (Troitskaya Ploshchad) (пл. Троицкая), 110 m. On your left is the Troitskiy (Trinity) Church - a recently built (year 2003) Troitskaya (Trinity) Chapel devoted to 300 jubilee of the city of St. Petersburg:

Today, the Trinity Square is comparatively bustling and unremarkable green space - leading to the more famous bridge, further south-east. At the centre of the square, Domenico Trezzini designed the wooden Troitsky (Trinity) Cathedral. For a long time it was the main cathedral of the St. Petersburg. The square was also used for the reading of royal decrees and for a variety of festivals and military parades. Celebrations took place here in 1721 as the Great Northern War with Sweden came to an end, and St. Petersburg's first triumphal arch was erected here to mark the victory of the young Russian Navy at the Battle of Gangut. On October 22, 1721, Peter was declared the first Emperor of Russia at this site. From 1720 onwards, however, the area started to lose its significance. The port and the administrative center of the city moved to Vasilievsky Island, and during the 1720s and 1730s fires destroyed almost all of the buildings on Troitskaya Ploshchad. The only one rebuilt was the Troitsky Cathedral in 1756, this time in stone. Nevertheless, life on the square did not slow down and it continued to play host to many celebrations, firework displays, military parades, and public executions. We see the church and the square from the north-west. Try to walk further and have a view from the north-east:

Continuing, zigzag left and right, crossing the green square toward Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt (пр. Каменноостровский), 340 m. Slight right onto Troitskiy (Trinity) Bridge (мост. Троицкий). Trinity Bridge (Тро́ицкий мост, Troitskiy Most) is a bridge across the Neva that connects Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt (north bank of the Neva river, Petrograd side) with the Palace Embankment (Suvorovskaya Square) in the southern bank in SPB mainland. In the middle of XIX century necessity of a bridge in this area became obvious, but only in 1890 the decision on construction was accepted and another two years later a competition on the best project of the bridge was declared. It was the third permanent bridge across the Neva, built between 1897 and 1903 by the French firm Société de Construction des Batignolles (it was first handled to the Eiffel French company). The bridge's creation was a symbol of a new military coalition between Russia and France. During St. Petersburg's bicentennial celebrations in 1903, the area was connected to the opposite bank of the Neva by the new Troitsky Bridge. This brought new life to the area, and grandiose plans were developed for Troitskaya Ploshchad. It is 582 meters long and derives its name from the Old Trinity Cathedral which used to stand at its northern end. Troitsky bridge changed its name many times: in the 20th century it was known as Equality Bridge (мост Ра́венства, 1918-1934) and Kirovsky Bridge (Ки́ровский мост, 1934-1999):

When you are standing on the bridge - you see a ship on your left. IT is NOT the "Aurora" ship. It is the Fregat Blagodat', Restoran:

The view from the Trinity Bridge to the southern bank of the Neva - to St. Petersburg city centre and the Palace Embankment:

We trace back and head with our face back to the north, returning from the bridge to the north shore of the Neva.

The view from the Trinity Bridge back to the Trinity (Troitsky) Square (in the background - SPB Mosque):

After returning over the bridge from south to north - we turn RIGHT (EAST) to Petrovskaya nab. (Петровская наб.) with the Fregat Blagodat', Restoran on our right (south). A splenidid and pleasant walk along this embankment or promenade:

We walk 220 m. further, north-east along Petrovskaya and reach a couple of lions' stone statues on the Petrovskaya Embankment overlooking the Neva - their face to the south, to St. Petersburg City centre, to the southern shore of the Neva:

Opposite, in the northern side of Petrovskaya street, hidden in a dense garden or pitch is the Cabin of Peter the Great, Petrovskaya naberezhnaya, 6,: When Peter the Great arrived to supervise the construction of the Peter and Paul Fortress and his new city and capital, he needed a place to stay. So, in three days (reputedly) the army carpenters built him this modest little cabin where he lived for the next six years. The site he had selected near the Gulf of Finland for the new city wasn't much more than a swamp and there was no accommodation or luxury whatsoever. But Peter decided his grand ambitions were more important than the comfort of a luxurious home. But due to his involvement in the Northern War with Sweden, Peter did not spend much time in the cabin and in 1712 he moved to the partially completed Summer Palace. After the Tsar left, the cabin stood abandoned for years. In 1723 his wife Catherine decided to protect the cabin from decay, so a protective wall was built around the wooden structure. In 1844 the wall was replaced with the current brick and glass encasing, which gives the log cabin the appearance of a brick house. Today, the house - the oldest in the city - is home to a museum, the Muzey Domik Petra I (Museum of the House of Peter I). It gives an idea of life during the very first years of the city of St. Petersburg. The little cabin feels more like a shrine than a museum, but confirms Peter’s love for the simple life with its unpretentious, homely feel, visibly influenced by the time he spent in Holland. The building, which is just 5.5 meters wide and 12 meters long has only two rooms - a study and dining room - and a hall which doubled as bedroom. Inside are some items from Peter the Great, such as his chair (built by himself) and his compass. There is also a small boat that Peter made, who is sometimes referred to as the Tsar Carpenter. Look out for the bronze bust of Peter by Parmen Zabello in the garden. The cabin has always been a sentimental site for St Petersburg. During WWII, Soviet soldiers would take an oath of allegiance to the city here, vowing to protect it from the Germans, before disappearing to the front. After the Siege of Leningrad, this was the first museum to reopen to the public. Opening hours: daily 10.00 - 18.00, THU 13.00 - 21.00. Closed TUE and last MON of month. Price: adult 200 RUB.  

We continue along Petrovskaya street with our face to the east - on the left side of the street (the northern, tree-lined) pavement - leaving the Neva river on our right:

Note, on your left - when Petrovskaya street meets the Michurinskaya road - The Sha'arei Shalom Progressive Jewish Community Synagogue (Sankt-Peterburgskaya Obshchina Progressivnogo Iudaizma), Michurinskaya ul..

Just before Petrovskaya street slights left (north), where the tree-lined avenue meets a small park - stand a couple of public buses which had been transformed into public restrooms:

On our left is a MAGNIFICENT pale blue building - Nakhimov Naval Academy (Нахимова Военно-морской академии), 2-4 Petrogradskaya Embankment. Opposite the academy - nice fountain and small garden. Established in 1944 to teach and bring up children who became orphans during the WW2 (today sailors' children have advantages for acceptance). It is, now, the only one in Russia. Named after Imperial Russian admiral Pavel Nakhimov (defender of Sebastopol in the Crimean War):

We slight / turn left from Petrovskaya street to Petrovskaya Embankment - and see the eastern facade of Nakhimov Naval Academy:

We continue northward along Petrovskaya Embankment, turn right and cross the Bolshaya Neva river over the Sampsonievskiy Bridge (Сампсониевский мост) - 212-meter, seven-span bridge that dates in its current form from 1958. The current structure, fully renovated in 2000, consists of steel spans resting on granite-faced reinforced-concrete piers. The name refers to a nearby cathedral, and the bridge was known as Freedom Bridge in the Soviet era:

After crossing the river over the bridge - we turn RIGHT (south) to Pirogovskaya nab (Пироговская наб.). On our left is the St. Petersburg hotel, Pirogovskaya Emb., 5/2. It is a huge hotel, but with very old rooms with overall feeling of returning back to the Iron Curtain years. There is small section of the hotel which was renovated and its look is far more modern. The hotel might be a good option for tourists continuing to Finland with the Allegro train (10 min. walk from the station) (see below):

Walking eastward along Pirogovskaya nab - we arrive to Liteynyy most (bridge) and walk underneath. We turn our head back to the west. You see the high spire of St. Paul and St. Peter Fortress and the Fregat Blagodat', Restoran ship behind your back and the small golden dome of the Trinity Church on your left (still behind):

Keep walking along Pirogovskaya nab (it changes its name to Arsenalnaya nab.) and 250 m. further east, on your left (north) - you see the Mikhailov Artillery Academy (Михайловская военная артиллерийская академия). The school is one of Russia's most prestigious military institutions and established in 1849 by the Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich. In 1855 the school was transformed to the Mikhailov Artillery Academy (СПб Михайловская артиллерийская академия). During the Soviet era, the school was known as the Leningrad Artillery Academy by Mikhail Kalinin . This military scientific and educational institution trains of artillery command personnel:

Several steps further we arrive to the Lenin Square (pl. Lenina) (Ploshchad Lenina). We turn left and take the more distant (EAST) side of the square. It is the Moskovsky district - where we are now. This square, located between the Finland Station and the Neva River, is best known for its impressive statue of the Father of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, and a charming light and music fountain which is popular in the summertime. Surrounded by the grey severe-looking buildings and crowned by the huge statue of Lenin (16 meters tall, together with pedestal) - the square was originally intended to hold parades and host the government administration in the House of Soviets overlooking it. The monument to the founder of the Soviet Union is situated on Ploshchad Lenina (Lenin square). Vladimir Lenin can best be referred to as the father and founder of the Soviet Union. He was at one time a student of the Saint Petersburg State University. The monument to Lenin was erected on the square near the Finland Station in 1926. It is the work of the sculptor S. Yevseyev, architects V. Shchuko and V. Gelfreikh. It was on this square in 1917 that the communist leader made a speech immediately after his return to Russia from exile in Switzerland. In April 1917, Lenin returned from exile to Finland Station to lead the Russian Revolution. Standing on an armored car, he gave one of his most famous speeches, inspiring the actions of the Bolsheviks for years to come. Due to this historic event, the square was renamed in his honor in 1924 and two years later the monument to the revolutionary leader was erected, becoming a prototype for hundreds of monuments throughout the Soviet Union. The monument is so super-imposing; you can see it as soon as you come out of the subway station (metro station) 'Ploshchad Lenina'. Take the exit to the Finland Train Station. Despite Lenin sculptor’s idea was to express strong will and single-mindedness of the leader, the masses call Lenin here “a dancer of good cheer”. Nowadays, Lenin square is still the biggest in the city but naturally serves for more relaxing purposes like observing the music fountain and skating youngsters in the summertime.

House of Soviets - Lenin Square:

Lenin Square (Ploschad Lenina) - musical fountain opposite the Finland station. The fountain on Lenin Square runs every day from 10.00 to 23.00. It displays the light and music performances at 12.00 and 22.00 from MON to FRI, and, on weekends and public holidays it has additional performances at 20.00 and 21.00. The duration of light and music show - 20 - 25 minutes. The repertoire of the musical fountain contains the masterpieces of classical music, works of A. Petrov, V. Soloviev-Sedoy, Paul Mauriat, hits of 60's, marches and waltzes:


 Lenin Monument:

We walk further north (after crossing the whole Lenin Square from south to north) and we'll enter the Finland train station (St Petersburg-Finlyandsky) (Станция Санкт-Петербург-Финля́ндский). This railway station handles transport to northern destinations including Helsinki and Vyborg. The station is most famous for having been the location where Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia from exile TWICE: from Switzerland on 3 April 1917 ahead of the October Revolution and, second time, from Finland - after the turmoil of the July Days, when workers and soldiers in the capital clashed with government troops. Lenin had to flee to Finland for safety, to avoid arrest. Lenin secretly returned from Finland on 9 August 1917. Both times Lenin crossed the Russian-Finnish border on the engine #293. The steam locomotive was donated by Finland to the Soviet Union in 1957, and is now installed as a permanent exhibit at one of the platforms on the station. YOU SHOULD ASK PERMISSION TO SEE THE LOCOMOTIVE AND ENTER THE STATION WITHOUT BUYING TICKET FOR RIDE. THERE IS A SPECIAL POLICEWOMAN WHO IS CHARGE FOR SHOWING THE WAGON FOR THE LOCAL OR FOREIGN TOURISTS. THE SHORT VISIT IS FREE. DO NOT OFFER TIP. The Finland Station was built by Finnish State Railways as the eastern terminus of the Riihimäki-Saint Petersburg railroad and was owned and operated by Finnish railways until early 1918. Later, ownership of the station was exchanged for Russian property in Finland, including the Alexander Theatre in Helsinki. It was designed by Swedish architects and opened in 1870. The station formerly contained a special pavilion for Russian Tsar family:

Locomotive # 293:

After completing the visit in Finland station you can take the metro back to SPB city centre - or sample a wonderful budget restaurant nearby (see below, Tip 2).

Peterhof - the "Russian Versailles"

Agnes Teder

Russian Federation

Peterhof Palace and Gardens:

We spent one full day in Peterhof - on the last day of June 2015. The weather had not been as nice as other days in SPB - but, still, it was a WONDERFUL day in an absolutely stunning historical site - in all levels.

Distance: 11-12 km. Duration: 1 day. Take a picnic and make an entire day of Peterhof park. Weather: avoid a windy or rainy day.

Transportation: Take the RED Metro line (line 1) to Avtovo station (А́втово). The Avtovo station on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro was designed by architect Ye.A. Levinson and opened as part of the first Metro line on November 15, 1955. Note: you get coins (Jetons) in place of tickets for entry through the turnstiles. Avtovo is an highly ornate designed station with white marble columns. The walls are faced with white marble and adorned on the north side by a row of ornamental ventilation grilles. At the end of the platform is a mosaic by V.A. Voronetskiy and A.K. Sokolov dedicated to the theme of the Leningrad Blockade during the second world war. From Avtovo - you get to Peterhof via Marshrutka (which is like a shared taxi or mini-bus). You get off from the Avtovo subway and, in front of the Metro station, you find the Marshrutkas waiting for passengers (lines: K424, 424A, K 300, 224). Price: 70-100 RUB. You can take buses 200 and 210 from the AVTOVO subway as well. The ride is approx. 45 minutes. Bus 200 - to Oranienbaum (Lomonosov) thru the Peterhoff compound. Tickets cost 56 RUB. Buses run frequently, every 10-20 min. Bus 404 leaving in front of the BALTIYSKAYA station stopping in front of the Peterhof entrance. Tickets costs one way 70 RUB. The bus runs every 20 min. and takes about 45 minutes. There is, also, hydrofoil service from in the back of the Winter Palace (Neva Embankment), 45 min. approx 750 RUB.

Peterhof City (Петерго́ф) or Petergof known as Petrodvorets (Петродворец) from 1944 to 1997, is a municipal town in Petrodvortsovy District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. We do not visit the city in this route. The town hosts one of two campuses of Saint Petersburg State University and the Petrodvorets Watch Factory, one of the leading Russian watch manufactures.

Our itinerary is devoted to the Peterhof palace and Gardens - a series of palaces and gardens, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great, and sometimes called the "Russian Versailles". The palace-gardens-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some practicalities: The quite extensive compound at Peterhof is famous for it’s Grand Palace and many fountains. You can seemingly walk forever in this magnificent park and have a relaxing day in nature. In summer time, the park comes to life with floods of tourists and locals alike. Another appealing feature of the park at Peterhof is that it’s right on the Baltic Sea. Be ready to take A LOT of pictures.

Try to arrive BEFORE 11.00 when the opening ceremony commences and the fountains launched into action.

Waiting or queuing up for tickets is a matter of chance. We arrived at 10.45 and waited a couple of minutes for buying tickets. But, it is quite frequent of long queues and waiting for 20-30 minutes for getting entry tickets.

It is the upper garden we walk through from the entrance to. It is quite a long walking distance from bus/Marshrutka stop to the Peterhof tickets booth in the Upper Gardens:

There are 3 fountains from south to north: Midway Fountain, Neptune Fountain and Oak Tree Fountain.

Midway (Mezheumny) Fountain. Five bronze statues are set in a pool thirty metres wide, edged with a border of light-coloured Reval stone; they represent a ferocious dragon, with its wings spread, and four dolphins leaping out of the water:

Neptune Fountain:

Oak Tree Fountain:

The park has an upper garden and a lower garden. The upper garden (Verhny Sad) is free of charge and really quite lovely and peaceful. Open: Daily 9.00 to 20.00. Admission: Free. Photo and video: Free. Accessibility note: The garden is wheelchair accessible:

The lower park (Nizhny Sad) (where everyone goes to see the fountains), requires paid entry and is well worth it. You can take a picnic and make an entire day of it. Open: Daily, 9.00 to 20.00. Last admission at 19.30 pm. Fountains operate from 10.00 to 18.00 (Saturdays and Sundays till 19.00). Almost everything is closed on the last Tuesday of each month.  Price: 500 RUB (Russian citizens - 200 RUB). Students and children: 250 RUB. Photo and video: Photo (without tripod) is allowed. Accessibility note: The lower garden is wheelchair accessible in most of the itineraries. The lower gardens, at 1.02 square kilometers, (0.39 sq mi) are comprising the better part of the palace complex land area, and confined between the palace and the shore, stretching east and west for roughly 200 meters (660 ft). The majority of Peterhof’s fountains are contained here, as are several small palaces and outbuildings. East of the Lower Gardens lies the Alexandria Park with 19th-century Gothic Revival structures such as the Gothic Chapel. Near the middle of the Lower Gardens, stands the Grand Palace (Bolshoy Dvorets). To the south of it are the comparatively small Upper Gardens (Verhny Sad). Below the Palace (north) is the Grand Cascade (Bolshoy Kaskad). This and the Grand Palace are the centerpiece of the entire complex. At its foot (further north) begins the Sea Channel (Morskoy Kanal), one of the most extensive waterworks of the Baroque period, which bisects the Lower Gardens from south to north.

Hunter's pavilion (olgmar) in the lower gardens (west side):

Peterhof Palace: Like Catherine Palace, Peterhof Grand Palace was built in the early 1700’s and sustained substantial damage from the German invasion during World War II. It has been fully restored, though renovations are still ongoing. The interiors are heavily influenced by French style. There is an overabundance of silk wall coverings, ornamental plaster designs and gold leaf detail in every room. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the Grand Palace. It takes about an hour to walk through the palace. The largest of Peterhof's palaces looks truly imposing when seen from the Lower or Upper Gardens, but in fact it is quite narrow and not overly large. Open: 10.30 - 18.00 (ticket office 10.30 - 17.00), closed on Mondays. There might be a scheme of "tourists visiting hours" and "Locals visiting hours". Please - inquire in advance:

Peterhof Palace is one of the most popular and most visited sites in Russia. It was popularly called ‘Summer Residence’ of the Emperor in the 18th century. The three-storey great palace sits on top of the ridge that separates the upper and lower parks. At initial stage, it was a simple hut beside Baltic Sea for relaxation purpose, but then the hut was gradually transformed into a grand palace in French style. The Peterhof Palace, also known as Petrodvorets, was founded in the year 1714 by Peter the Great. The palace is the inspiration of Versailles. But the fountain was his own idea, which was developed and built on a grand scale. Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Leblond – the architect was also French. The Main Hall (Throne Hall) is designed by FB Rastrelli. It is a Baroque hall of Elizabethan times. The ceiling of the palace is carved from wood, beautifully painted with shining colors. Special material of wood, mirrors and titled stoves with special marquetry techniques were used in designing the hall. The hall was then redesigned by Y.Velten in the year 1770’s in complete classical style. Another hall is the Chesma Hall because it features a number of paintings belonging to the Battle of Chesma - a stunning naval victory of the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774. These were painted between 1771 and 1773 by the German artist Jacob Philipp Hackert. These paintings display the victorious naval ships in different forms such as the flying timbers, fireballs, smokes and flames. His first renderings of the great battle scenes were criticized by witnesses as not showing realistically the effect of exploding ships — the flying timbers, great flames, smoke, and fireballs. Catherine II assisted the artist by exploding a frigate in the harbor of Livorno, Italy, for the benefit of Hackert, who had never seen a naval battle firsthand. Hackert also did not research the actual positions of the Russian and Turkish forces during the battle, so the scenes depicted are somewhat fanciful, but do effectively convey drama and destruction of naval warfare. Another room, positioned at the center of the palace, bears the name of the Picture Hall. Its walls are almost entirely covered by a series of 368 paintings, mostly of variously dressed women, differing in appearance and even age, yet most were drawn from a single model. These were purchased in 1764 from the widow of the Italian artist P. Rotari, who died in St. Petersburg. The palace also features Chinese cabinets to the east and west. These cabinets were built between 1766-1769. The walls were decorated with imitation Oriental patterns by Russian craftsmen, and hung with Chinese landscape paintings in yellow and black lacquer. The site was nationalized by special announcement issued by ‘Vladimir Lenin:

Peterhof Cathedral east to the Grand Palace:

Big urn on the Grand Palace terrace - overlooking the Grand Cascade:

Peterhof Gardens: after the palace tour make your way through the gardens to see (and experience) some of the ‘trick’ fountains. These fountains were created by Peter the Great to trick his guests – as they would appear to be small fountains, yet would suddenly burst with water and wet thoroughly the guests.

Peterhof Cascades and Fountains: The prime attraction of Peterhof is Lower Park, which has 4-cascades and 150-water fountains. The Great Cascade is most amazing located in front of the Great Imperial Palace. The fountains at ‘Great Cascade’ is truly breath-taking, the complete composition is dedicated the victory of Sweden. It is adorned with statues of Roman & Greek gods and their respective heroes. The interior is fabulous too! Try to watch the fountains either from an higher spot (then the sun is on your back) or from a lower corner where there are less tourists crowding the area. Aside from the beauty, the big attraction to the fountains is that they are all gravity-fed. No pumps are used to power the many fountains. It’s not only an amazing feat of ingenuity, it’s visually stunning. There are around 176-fountains which are connected by a huge network of water pipes. The Great Cascade’ is truly breath-taking, the complete composition is dedicated the victory of Sweden. It is adorned with statues of Roman & Greek gods and their respective heroes.

Grand Cascade - before the 11.00 activation:

Grand Cascade as the fountains are being activated:

There are several fountains across the Peterhof Palace--->

Samson Fountain (below, north to - the Grand Cascade):

The Grand Cascade and the Samson Fountain:

The Adam & Eve Fountains - along the Sea Channel. Adam on the east side and Eve on the west side - quite distant from each other:

Dragon Hill Cascade (or Chessboard Cascade) - located in the eastern section of the lower gardens. The water cascades over black and white marble arranged as on a chessboard. The ten statues lining the cascade were buried to keep them safe from the German occupation during World War II:

Roman Fountain: in the eastern side of the lower gardens, north to the Orangery:

Lions Cascade - on the western side of the lower gardens, compositionally linked with the Hermitage building. It was built in 1799-1801 and looks like an open Greek temple. The stone foundation is surrounded from three sides by 14 gray granite columns. Among the columns there are marble vases fountains. Standing in the middle of the indoor pool, on the hill of granite stones, is the bronze figure of the nymph Aganipph. From the two sides the cascade is guarded by bronze lions. It is a monument of the age of Nicholas I. The cascade first appeared in the late 18th century (the architect Andrei Voronikhin). It got its name because of the bronze figures of lions placed beside it (sculptor Ivan Prokofyev). In 1854-57 Andrei Stackenschneider built the Classical Greek colonnade of granite columns, which are 8 metres high, in the place of the Voronikhin cascade. The twelve marble bowl fountains were placed inside the colonnade between the columns. The Nymph Aganippe Fountain was erected in the centre of it:

Memorial Monument of Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (Memorial bench of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna) - in the Lower Park, near the Lion cascade is an unusual monument - a memorial bench monument dedicated to Princess Alexandra Nikolaevna. Grand Duchess Alexandra was the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas I, died at a young age (19 s) from tuberculosis.The monument was erected in 1844 - 1847 years. The authors of the project were renowned architect A. Shtakenshnejdera and talented sculptor M. soared. The composition is a bench with a beautiful pink marble, which, on a pedestal a bust of Princess. Monument fenced Forged fences and decorative columns, which are planted flowers in pots:

Golden Hill Cascade or  Marly Cascade is located on the western side of the lower garden (above or south to the Marly Palace):

Pyramid Fountain - is made up of 505 jets that form a large pyramid of water. This fountain was severely damaged in World War II, but was back in operation in 1953. South-east to Monplaisir Palace and Garden:

Pavillion near the Pyramid Fountain:

Sun (Sundial) Fountain is located in the center of the Menagerie Pool. Magnificent !!! It mimics the sun with a disc of water jets. The entire fountain rotates on a vertical axis, changing the sun's direction perpetually. A water-wheel on another fountain drives a small dog chasing four ducks:

The Sheaf Fountain is another amazing work to catch. It is situated in front of Monplaisir Palace. In French the word "mon plaisir" means ‘my pleasure’:

North (north-west) to the Grand Palace is the Orangery, built to protect plants and flowers from inclement weather. In front of the Orangery stands the Triton Fountain and to the east are a couple of eighteenth-century marble fountains known as the Roman Fountains:

The Sea Channel (Morskoy Kanal) - the channel itself was used as a grand marine entrance into the Peterhof complex from the north (Finnish Gulf / Baltic Sea). The Sea Channel (also known as the Marine Canal) is lined with 20 water fountains and bisects the Lower Gardens at Peterhof. It is one of the most extensive waterworks of the Baroque period.

The canal from the Grand Cascade:

Sea Channel (Morskoy Kanal) from north to south:

The northern edge of the Sea Channel (Morskoy Kanal) - near the Finnish Gulf:

Peterhof small Palaces:

Peterhof Hermitage: standing on a moted island right on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, the graceful two-storey Peterhof Maly (small) Hermitage was envisioned by Peter the Great as an informal dining room for his closest associates, with a system of pulleys used to serve food and ensure the privacy of the diners. Built to the design of Braunstein, 1721-1724. With your back to the Marly Palace - walk along the ramparts (the Baltic Sea on your left) (south-eastward) and you see the Hermitage pavilion:

Marly Palace: This is the main structure of the lower park. Located in the western half of the Lower Park. Three avenues radiate from the palace, one crossing the Sea Channel. The Marly Palace is a charming Baroque mansion that was built on the orders of Peter the Great as an intimate retreat in the grounds of the Grand Palace.Peter's inspiration was the royal hunting lodge at Marly Le Roi, just outside Paris. Louis XIV had commissioned his residence there as a private, peaceful alternative to Versailles. Peter visited Marly Le Roi during his visit to France in 1717, and, when creating the "Russian Versailles" at Peterhof, he decided to have his own personal sanctuary built in the grounds:  Fine examples of antique furniture within; an old lady stands guard in each room, some even with a smile. Open only on SAT and SUN:

Marly Rampart in the Lower Park of Peterhof:

Monplaisir: Peter the Great's pet project at Peterhof was this small but charming summer palace, which the Tsar designed by and for himself, although he sought the help of several architects to do so. It is located near the Gulf. If you arrive in Peterhof by boat, Monplaisir is one of the first sights to greet you. Sitting in the eastern corner of the Lower Park, right on the shoreline of the Gulf of Finland, Monplaisir vaguely resembles a Dutch Colonial mansion, with its high gabled roof over the central corpus and narrow rectangular windows to keep out the wintry north wind. The facade on the opposite side of the palace is quite different, with long single-storey galleries topped by a balustraded terrace and supported by slender columns. Here, large French windows allow natural light to pour into the rooms, giving the whole building a summery, almost tropical feel. It also has three avenues radiating from it:

Faun and a Kid Cloche fountains are located in the Monplaisir Garden:

The Sheaf Fountain:

On the north side of the Mon Plaisir Garden or Mon Plaisir Palace compound - there is terrace overlooking a stunning views of the Finnish Gulf (the Baltic Sea):

Alexandria Park (east of lower gardens): to the east of the main park at Peterhof lies an expanse of landscaped parkland in the English style, named after Alexandra Fedorovna, wife of Nicholas I. The land was used as a royal hunting ground for most of the 18th century, and then left to go wild after the court moved to Tsarskoe Selo. Open: daily, 9.00 to 22.00.
Price: 9.00 to 17.00: 150 RUB,  17.00 to 22.00: Free. Photo and video: Free:

The Cottage Palace in Alexandria Park: building here began in 1826 with the Cottage, a palace built in the neo-Gothic style characterized by the use of Gothic architectural features without any organic link between function and construction. In 1829 the architect Adam Menelaws completed work on its decor. This compact, three-storey building, almost square in ground plan, has a roof with steep gables painted the colour of thatch, yet another reminder of its purpose as a country villa. The wrought-iron lattice work of the balconies, the bay windows and terraces, the window grilles, and the moulding of the cornices are all done in the English style of Tudor Gothic. The deep loggias of the east and west facades are also in this style. The details of the decor are painted white to contrast with the ochre of the walls. The colored glass in the casements of the arcades on the ground floor is also reminiscent of Gothic. Some very fine flower-beds were laid out around the Cottage and the other buildings in the park. In 1842 the architect Andrei Stakenschneider added a dining room, pantry and marble terrace with a fountain to the Cottage, which had become somewhat cramped for the royal family. This upset the strict symmetry of Menelaws' building, but made it look more homely and attractive:

An arbour near the Cottage Palace:

The Gothic Capella (The Church of St Alexander Nevsky): at the request of Nicholas I the German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed a Gothic church (Capella) for the Alexandria Park in 1829. In 1831-1833 the church was built in the western section of the park on the edge of the upper terrace (architects Adam Menelaws and Ludwig Charlemagne):