JUN 28,2015 - JUN 28,2015 (1 DAYS)
From the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood to the Summer Garden.
Tip 1: The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood - If you are going to visit only one church is St. Petersbourg, this is the one!:
Tip 2: From Mikhailovsky Garden to the Arts Square.
Tip 3: Market Place Restaurant, Nevsky Prospekt 24.
Tip 4: From Bolshaya Konyushennaya to the Summer Palace.
Tip 5: Summer Garden.
Tip 6: Opera Evening in Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Main Attractions (most of them - north to Nevsky Prospekt): Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, Mikhailovsky Garden, First Engineer Bridge, Panteleymonovsky Bridge, Mikhailovsky Castle, Peter the Great Monument, Manezhnaya Ploschad, Statue of Ivan Turgenev, Malaya Sadovaya Street, the Arts Square (Ploshchad Iskusstv), The Russian Museum (Mikhailovsky Palace), Russian Museum of Ethnography, Monument to Alexander Pushkin, Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, Market Place Restaurant (Nevsky Prospekt #24), Bolshaya Konyushennaya, the Green Bridge, the Red Bridge, Bolshaya Morskaya Street, Arch of the General Staff Building, Winter Canal, Palace Embankment, Marble Palace, Vladimir Palace, Summer Garden and Palace.
Distance: 13 km. Duration: 1 day.
Start: metro line #2 (blue line) Nevsky Prospekt (Невский проспект), OR metro line #3. (green line) Gostiny Dvor (Гостиный двор). The The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood resides between the (north to )Nevsky Prospekt avenue and (south to) the Neva river.
End: Summer Garden. From there - walk to Mikhaelovsky Castle, Field of Mars or Spilled Blood Cathedral and catch a bus nearby to the city centre.
It is 800 m. walk from Nevskiy prospekt or Gostiny Dvor Metro stations to the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. Head west on Nevskiy prospekt avenue, 240 m/300m. Turn right onto Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова) and walk along it for 600 m. The Savior on the Spilled Blood Church is in front of you - all along your walk northward:
Duration: 1/2 hour to take photos of the exteriors. 1/2 hour to queue-in for tickets and 1/2-1 hour to explore the stunning interiors of the cathedral.
Introduction: Alexander II, the eldest son of Tsar Nicholas I, was born in Moscow on 17th April, 1818. Educated by private tutors, he also had to endure rigorous military training that permanently damaged his health. In 1841 he married Marie Alexandrovna, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt. Alexander became Tsar of Russia on the death of his father in 1855. At the time Russia was involved in the Crimean War and in 1856 signed the Treaty of Paris that brought the conflict to an end. The Crimean War made Alexander realize that Russia was no longer a great military power. Tsar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, did much to liberalize and modernize Russia, including the abolishment of serfdom in 1861. His advisers argued that Russia's serf-based economy could no longer compete with industrialized nations such as Britain and France. Alexander now began to consider the possibility of bringing an end to serfdom in Russia. The nobility objected to this move but as Alexander told a group of Moscow nobles: "It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below. In 1861 Alexander issued his Emancipation Manifesto that proposed 17 legislative acts that would free the serfs in Russia. Alexander announced that personal serfdom would be abolished and all peasants would be able to buy land from their landlords. The State would advance the the money to the landlords and would recover it from the peasants in 49 annual sums known as redemption payments. Alexander also introduced other reforms and in 1864 he allowed each district to set up a Zemstvo. These were local councils with powers to provide roads, schools and medical services. However, the right to elect members was restricted to the wealthy. Other reforms introduced by Alexander included improved municipal government (1870) and universal military training (1874). He also encouraged the expansion of industry and the railway network.
On the other end - evolved the People’s Will, a movement organized in 1879, which employed terrorism and assassination in their attempt to overthrow Russia’s Tsarist autocracy. They murdered officials and made several attempts on the Tsar’s life. When Alexander II authority was challenged, he turned repressive, and he vehemently opposed movements for political reform. The revolutionary “People’s Will” group, finally, assassinated Tsar Alexander II on March 13, 1881. He was killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the group. Ironically, on the very day he was killed, he signed a proclamation–the so-called Loris-Melikov constitution–that would have created two legislative commissions made up of indirectly elected representatives. He was succeeded by his 36-year-old son, Alexander III, who rejected the Loris-Melikov constitution. Alexander II’s assassins were arrested and hanged, and the People’s Will was thoroughly suppressed. The peasant revolution advocated by the People’s Will was achieved, at last, by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1917.
History: This marvelous Russian-style church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови, Tserkovʹ Spasa na Krovi) was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. The Church is prominently situated along the Griboyedov Canal; paved roads run along both sides of the canal. The church was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church. The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators. Construction began in 1883 during the reign of Alexander III. The church was dedicated to be a memorial to his father, Alexander II. The construction was complete during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907.
The church was closed for services in the 1930s, when the Bolsheviks went on an offensive against religion and destroyed churches all over the country. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary graveyard for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes. It remained closed and under restoration for over 30 years. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship. The Church of the Saviour on Blood is a Museum of Mosaics. In the pre-Revolution period it was NOT used as a public place of worship.
Exterior: Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. Interestingly, despite the church’s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth. Both the interior and exterior of the church are decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (M.V. Nesterov, V.M. Vasnetsov and M.A. Vrubel). The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood resembles a bit the St. Basil Cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow. The church is a perfect example of how you expect Russia to be: the golden onion domes, and fantastic colors, are so typical of the country, and are absolutely exquisite. What a colorful place to visit ! The views from the Griboyedov Canal are stunning ! I took thousand pictures of this cathedral !!!
The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood from the Griboyedov Canal:
Kazan Cathedral from the Griboyedov Canal:
Interior: Absolutely beautiful - words cannot describe this masterpiece. The interiors walls are covered with what looks like paintings, but upon a closer look are actually tiny mosaics. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are COMPLETELY covered in intricately detailed mosaics and It might be the most beautiful mosaic mural decoration you have ever seen. The mosaic work is AMAZING. Every inch of space seems to be covered with huge religious mosaics, soaring upward to the ornate vaulted ceiling, where the face of Christ looks down in a blaze of light. The sheer scale of the building is impressive enough, but the detail is just as amazing, with gold and precious stones glittering out here and there. The main pictures being biblical scenes or figures.
Christ the Pantocrator, mosaic in the central dome designed by Nikolai Kharlamov:
Practicalities: the Church is amazingly busy, thousands flock here everyday. Beware of pickpocketing.
There are long lines to get in, so book ahead. Be prepared to elbow your way to get a ticket and (sometimes) to enter the church.
There are nice markets (mainly, souvenirs - good prices) to browse around and close by. There are also good restaurants on both sides of the Griboyedov Canal - leading to the church.
Many people say that photo-ops during the late afternoon hours or sun setting time - are far more appealing. Transportation: it is easily accessible from the Nevsky Prospekt metro station.
Opening hours and admission prices: daily 10.30 to 18.00. Last admission is at 17.30. Evening openings of the Cathedral in the summer only (May 1 - September 30): 18.00 to 22.30. Closed: Wednesdays. Admission: Adult: RUB 250. Children: RUB 50. Audio-guide (in Russian, English, German, French, Italian or Spanish): RUB 100. Evening openings of the Cathedral in the summer only: RUB 400. Photo and video: free/included.
Tip 2: From Mikhailovsky Garden to the Arts Square:
We leave the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood - heading northward as close as possible to the northern facade of the church. If we look northward, along the Griboyedov Canal - we see the Russian Museum (as seen from the Griboyedov Canal near the Spilled Blood Cathdedral):
Mikhailovsky Garden resides east to the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. With your face to the cathedral - the garden is on your right. The Garden is located behind the NORTHERN facade of the Mikhailovsky Palace (nowadays, the Russian Museum) (the museum is south to the church and the garden), and separated from the Mikhailovsky Castle with Sadovaya Street's carriageway in the east. Most people arrive to the garden along Griboyedov Canal from Nevsky Prospekt through bustling flow of people and cars. THe garden resides exactly between two historical spots: the place where Tsar Paul I was strangled is on one side and the spot, where a blast killed Alexander II is on the other. But Mikhailovsky Garden is an oasis of calmness and relaxation. The garden is very well maintained and very pleasant to stroll among its paths and allies. Free entrance.
The Mikhailovsky (Michael) Garden derives its name from the Mikhailovsky (Michael) Palace (the main building of the Russian Museum) which it adjoins. In 1716-1717, the architect J.B. Leblond, commissioned by Peter the Great, made a general plan of the three Summer Gardens. The first and the second were situated on the territory of the modern Summer Garden. The third was the one that housed the palace of Catherine I. The territory of the modern Mikhailovsky Garden belonged earlier to that third Summer Garden and was called "the Swedish garden". It has been a formal French garden, a hunting reserve and nursery. In 1741 the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna suggested that Rastrelli makes a project of a new Summer Garden that would include the former Palace of Catherine I and the surrounding garden. During the reign of the Tsarina Elizabeth (1741-1762) it housed labyrinths and fountains. Under the Tsar Paul I (1796-1801) the garden was used for horseback riding. The construction of the Mikhailovsky Castle and after that the Mikhailovsky Palace, during the 19th century, both of which border the garden, fixed the Mikhailovsky Garden in its present boundaries. In 1823, the Emperor Alexander I approved the re-design of this garden by Carl Rossi. Carl Rossi created an exemplary English garden in the middle parts. After the revolution of 1917 the garden was turned into a park for the city-dwellers. In 1822-1825 decoration of the park was made by such masters as architect Menelas, artist Ivanov and the gardener Schumann. In 1898 the Mikhailovsky Palace went to the supervision of Museum of Emperor Alexander III (the Russian museum) and the Garden became public. In 1999 the Mikhailovsky Garden was handed over to the Russian Museum. From 2002 the garden has been reconstructed by the museum; the purpose is to recreate the integrity of the garden’s composition, to the utmost retaining the original outlines by Carl Rossi.
Before we enter the garden, do not miss the view of Mikhailovsky Garden's wrought iron fence - already seen when we are standing facing the eastern facade of the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood:
The Mikhailovsky Garden was closed after the summer season in 2002 for restoration, and opened again for St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary in 2003. Today it is once again a favorite place for PSB citizens to walk, or simply to relax. The garden combines two landscape styles: French-style garden around the periphery, and English-style landscape in the center. Classical music concerts are often held here in late spring and summer:
The Spilled Blood Cathdedral, as seen from the entrance to the Mikhailovsky Garden:
Russian Museum, as seen from Mikhailovsky Garden:
In the north-east corner of the Garden, on the banks of the Moika River, is a small pavilion built in Empire Style by Carlo Rossi in 1825; a century earlier, this site had been occupied by a wooden palace belonging to Peter the Great's wife, Catherine. Next to the pavilion is a symbolic composition called the Tree of Freedom, made out of old oak by the sculptor Anatoly Solovyov.
There are two exits from the Mikhailovsky Garden. One is in the eastern side (quite frequently - closed) and the second, and better one, is through the entrance - in the west side. So, we return to the Griboyedov Canal Embankment, continue walking northward along the canal and turn right, EAST (crossing the Moyka river on a small bridge) onto a path along the Moyka river, along the northern benches of Mikhailovsky Garden, 150 m. parallel to nab. Reki Moyki (реки Мойки). The bridge we crosssed, over the Moyka river (where it meets the Fontanka river) is the First Engineer Bridge. Designed by P. Bazen, the engineer responsible for many of St. Petersburg's most famous wrought iron bridges, the First Engineer Bridge was opened in 1826. Fully restored in 1999, the bridge is famous for its intricate railings featuring a repeated head of Medusa, the design of which was copied for the railings of the Summer Garden. The sights from this small road along the Moyka towards Mikhailovsky Garden and the Spilled Blood church - are gorgeous. The extensive green area, on your left, beyond Reki Moyki road is part of the Summer Garden.
Before arriving to the meeting-point of the Moyka and Fontanka rivers - we, already, see the Mikhailovsky Castle (part of the Russian Museum) on our right. After 150-200 m. walk along the Moyka - we arrive to the rivers' meeting-point and to the Panteleymonovsky Bridge (Пантелеймо́новский мост). The bridge was erected in 1823 and was named after Panteleymonovskaya Street (now Pestelya Street, further east, continuing the bridge), which in turn was named after the nearby Church of St. Panteleimon. From 1915 until 1923 it was known as "Gangutskiy Bridge". In 1923 it was renamed as "Pestel Bridge" after Decembrist Pavel Pestel. In 1991 the original name was reinstated. It is 43 meters long and 23.7 meters wide. A wooden bridge stood in this location as early as 1725. In 1748 a Baroque-style bridge was built in its place designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. This last structure was damaged in the flood of 1777 and was demolished. In 1823 a narrow suspension bridge ("chain bridge") was built by von Tretter and Khristianovich. In the beginning of the 20th century, it was widened and converted into an arch bridge by Lev Ilyin. Today, the bridge still preserves Ilyin's design:
Step on the bridge to catch nice views (especially, in the morning hours) of the Summer Garden and Mars Field:
In the picture below we see the First Engineer Bridge (left) and Pantelmon Bridge (right):
We shall continue along the western bank of the Fontanka (nab. Reki Fontanki) (NOT crossing Pantelmon Bridge):
On the other, eastern bank of the Fontanka river, several steps from Pamtelmon Bridge - resides the famous Demidov (Demidoff) restaurant with authentic Russian food (There is live music and Gypsy music and dancers from 20.00). More than average prices but luxury service and romantic atmosphere. Further south, along nab. Reki Fontanki (before passing Zamokovaya rd. on your right), still on your right - stands Mikhailovsky (Michael) Castle (zamok) (Миха́йловский за́мок), 2, Sadovaya Ulitsa. St. Michael's Castle was built as a residence for Emperor Paul I by architects Vincenzo Brenna and Vasili Bazhenov in 1797-1801. Catherine The Great made a coup d'etat against her husband Peter III to gain access to the Russian Imperial throne and then ruled the country until her death in 1796. Her son, Paul I succeeded her, but, neither the nobility nor the royal guards liked or respected Paul and he lived his life in constant fear of assassination. In order to relieve his fears he ordered a fortified castle (a palace surrounded by deep ditches) to be built for him. Tsar Paul I disliked the Winter Palace where he never felt safe. The new royal residence was built like a castle around a small octagonal courtyard. The building with rounded corners was surrounded by the waters of the Moika River, the Fontanka River and two specially dug canals (the Church Canal and the Sunday Canal), transforming the castle area into an artificial island which could only be reached by bridges. Ironically, Paul I was assassinated only 40 nights after he moved into his newly built Mikhailovsky Castle. He was murdered on 12 March 1801, in his own bedroom, by a group of officers headed by his son, Alexander I. After Paul's death, the Tsar family returned to the Winter Palace. St. Michael's Castle was abandoned and in 1823 was given to the army's Main Engineering School. From then on, the building was known as the Engineers' Castle. In the early 1990s, St. Michael's Castle became a branch of the Russian Museum and now houses its Portrait Gallery, featuring official portraits of the Russian Emperors and Empresses and various dignitaries and celebrities from the late 17th to the early 20th century. Today the building hosts a branch of the Russian Museum. Opening hours: MON, WED, FRI - SUN - 10.00 - 18.00. THU - 13.00 - 21.00. Ticket offices close 30 minutes earlier. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays. Price for general ticket for visiting the Mikhailovsky Palace, Marble Palace, Stroganov Palace and St Michael's Castle - For adult visitors: 300 rubles, for students 150 rubles. Photography allowed - but, at the temporary exhibition photography and video shooting are forbidden.
From nab. Reki Fontanki - you can see part of Mikhailovsky Castle eastern facade:
The castle looks different from each side, as the architects used motifs of various architectural styles such as French Classicism, Italian Renaissance and Gothic. We turn on the first turn to the right - Zamokovaya ul. (Замковая ул.) and, immediately, to the left to the Kenovaya ul. (Кленовая ул.). From this nice avenue we can have a glance of the southern side of the castle and, even of its internal court. The Southern facade is particularly expressive and monumental. Standing at Kenovaya ul. with your face to the castle, to the north - enter its inner courtyard through the stone gate:
The northern facade looks onto the Summer Garden. Flanked by bronze statues of Hercules and Flora, it is reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance villa:
Return from Mikhailovsky Castle to Kenovaya road - now, your back to the castle (north) and face southward. In the middle of the tree-lined Kenovaya avenue stands the bronze Monument to Peter the Great (памятник Петру I). In 1716, emperor Peter the Great commissioned the Italian sculptor Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli to design an equestrian statue in commemoration of the Russian victories over Sweden in the Great Northern War. Rastrelli worked for eight years with a model of the monument before it was approved by the emperor in 1724. But as the emperor died the following year, work halted and the sculpture's casting was only completed after the sculptor's death, by 1747. Catherine the Great ALSO had ordered ANOTHER monument in memory of her predecessor Peter the Great - the Bronze Horseman, the most famous statue of Peter the Great in St Petersburg near the Admirality and the Neva river. Only in 1800, during the reign of Tsar Paul I, was the Monument to Peter I finally erected. It was placed on a pedestal faced with green, red and white-shaded Finnish marble that is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting scenes of two Russian victories over Sweden. Peter the Great led his troops to both victories: the Battle of Poltava and the Battle of Hangö. During World War II, the equestrian statue of Peter I was removed from its pedestal and sheltered from the 900-day German siege of the city. In 1945, the statue was restored and returned to its pedestal. It stands, more than 70 years - opposite the Mikhailovsky Castle:
From the middle of Kenovaya ul. turn LEFT (east) to Inzhenernaya ul.
After walking 130 m. you arrive to Ploschad (Square) Belinskogo- and on your left (nortside of the square) resides St. Petersburg Circus or Circus on Fontanka (Bolshoy Sankt-Peterburgskiy gosudarstvennyy tsirk),nab. Reki Fontanki, 3. The circus is under a massive restoration and closed to the public until JAN 2016. This is Russia’s first stone building specifically designed for the circus. It opened its doors in 1877. Several local and tourist were enthusiastic about the circus interiors (Dome) and its past performances. For online tickets and more information on shows in the restored circus - see: http://www.circus.spb.ru/en#_=_
Return to Kenovaya ul. and continue southward (your back to the Mikhailovsky Castle) - until you arrive to the Manezhnaya Ploschad (Manège Square) (Манежная площадь). Manège in French is Riding School. The shape of Manezhnaya Square resembles a right-angled triangle. Its southern side is a continuation of Italyanskaya Street. Its eastern side is Karavannaya street, which ends (in the south) in Nevsky Prospekt.
This is a nice and refreshing square with a big fountain. Around te fountain stand sculptures of four arcitects who took part in te design of this square and SPB, in general, all of them of Italian origin (almost half of the great buildings of central St. Petersburg were designed by Italians) : Francesco Bartholomeo Rastrelii. Carlo Rossi, Antonio Rinaldi and Giacomo Quarenghi:
We change our direction and head, now, to the west. From Manezhnaya Square we continue westward along Italyanskaya Street (which is parallel, north to Nevsky Prospekt). Immediately, on our right (north) is the 3 m. tall Statue of Ivan Turgenev. The statue, full with grandeur, was made by the sculptors Yan Neiman and Valentin Sveshnikov, who used Turgenev's death mask when sculpting the writer's face. Although he died in France, Turgenev was buried in the city, as he had requested.
Continue west along Italyanskaya street and turn LEFT (south) to Malaya Sadovaya Street (Малая Садовая Улица). This is a splendid, short (only 175 m. - the shortest in SPB) pedestrian street of cafes, terraces, and fountains. It runs between Italyanskaya Street and Nevsky Prospect. The pedestrian road is, frequently, decorated with outdoor exhibitions, posters or sculptures:
We do not continue towards Nevsky Prospekt. We return from Malaya Sadovaya Street to Italyanskaya Street (our face to the north). We turn LEFT (WEST) onto Italyanskaya, walk 400 m. westward and turn right onto Mikhaylovskaya ul. (ул. Михайловская) and the Arts Square or Ploshchad Iskusstv. The white, impressive building opposite - is the Russian Museum, Inzhenernaya Street, 4. Arts Square derives its name from the cluster of museums, theaters and concert halls that surround it. The square was only named Arts Square in 1940. From 1918-1940 it bore the name of the German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle. All the buildings lining the square are similar in design and form a harmonious, grandiose architectural ensemble. The square's plan and all its buildings were drawn up by the ... Italian architect Carlo Rossi:
In front, on the north side is the Russian Museum (State Museum of Russian Art). The past Mikhailovsky Palace, now, the Russian Museum, is the greatest single collection of Russian art in the world. The first building to the right (with the face to the Russian Museum), is the Mikhailovsky Theatre of Opera and Ballet. More to the right (east) - is the Ethnographic Museum (part of the Russain Museum, representing all the ethnic cultures of the former USSR). On your left (west side of the square) are the Brodsky Museum, the Mikhaylovsky Theatre (formerely, the Maly Opera and Ballet Theater), with old-fashioned lanterns adorning its doorways - still a well-respected and centrally located theater. On the south-east side of the square, is the Operettas and Musical Comedy Theatre (Санкт-Петербургский государственный театр музыкальной комедии), Italyanskaya ul., 13. Out of the square, on the east side of Mikhaylovskaya ul., leading to the square, is the former Nobles' Club, now the Shostakovich Philharmonia, home to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic or St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Mikhaylovskaya ul., 2 - the city's prime classical music venue. Its white-column hall has superb acoustics.
The Russian Museum, Mikhailovsky Palace: Open daily: 10.00 to 18.00. THU: 13.00 -21.00. Closed: Tuesdays. The museum’s central building is the yellow, white-columned Mikhailovsky Palace, built between 1819 and 1825 for Grand Duke Mikhail, the brother of Alexander I and Nicholas I. The building was bought by the government during the late 19th century and turned into the "Russian Museum of the Emperor Alexander III" in the beginning of the 1890s by the Tsar Alexander III. His son, Nicholas II, decided to open a museum in his father's honour and, in 1895, bought the Mikhailovskiy Palace to house the collection. Originally called the Alexandrovskiy Museum, it was opened to the public in 1898. Coordinated by architect Vasiliy Svinin, considerable changes were made to the interiors of the Mikhailovsky Palace. In place of its eastern wings, Svinin constructed the Ethnographic Museum. A new wing, the Benois Building, was added to the museum at the start of this century to help house the museum’s growing collections:
Today, the Russian Museum hosts several of the most important Russian art collections. The museum's collection includes over 400,000 artworks covering the complete history of Russian art, from 11th century icons to work by contemporary video artists. The Russian Museum in Mikhailovsky Palace excels in it's collection of 19th century works, which are housed on the second floor of the building. It is not until the works of the "Wanderers", a group of 14 students at the Imperial Academy of Art, who in 1863 set out to create a populist art for the whole of Russia. Among them are Ivan Shishkin, whose his realistic forest scenes are some of the most often copied images in Russia, and Nicholas Ge, whose his religious and historic works brought another kind of realism to their subjects.
Ivan Shishkin: Mast-tree grove. 1898:
The Last Supper, 1863, Nikolai Ge (1831-94):
Ilya Repin, one of the second generation of the Wanderers, and widely considered to be Russia's greatest realist painter, is very well represented in the Russian Museum, and his portrait of Leo Tolstoy in peasant dress and the gigantic Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council, 7 May 1901 are particularly impressive.
Barge Haulers on the Volga, Ilya Repin:
The last great painters of the 19th century like Vasily Surikov and Viktor Vasnetsov specialized in colourful, often violent, historical scenes - but, combined elements of mysticism and symbolism in their works:
Vasily Surikov, Taking a Snow Town (1891):
Victor Vasnetsov, Knight at the Crossroads (1882):
The Russian Museum of Ethnography (Российский этнографический музей) occupies the place of the eastern service wing, the stables and the laundry of the Mikhailovsk Palace. It houses a collection of about 500,000 items relating to the ethnography, or cultural anthropology, of peoples of the former Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The museum was set up in 1902 as the ethnographic department of the Russian Museum. It is housed in a purpose-built Neoclassical building erected between 1902 and 1913 to Vasily Svinyin's design. The museum's first exhibits were the gifts received by the Russian Tsars from peoples of Imperial Russia. These were supplemented by regular expeditions to various parts of the Russian Empire which began in 1901. Further exhibits were purchased by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and other members of his royal family. The collection was not officially opened to the general public until 1923 and was not detached from the Russian Museum until 1934. When the Museum of the Peoples of the USSR in Moscow was shut down in 1948, its collections were transferred to the Ethnographic Museum in past Leningrad, now, St. Petersburg. Nice collection of costumes ,photographs, hand made accessories, precious metals, weaponry and ornaments. The museum exhibitions - are very interesting and colorful. The Jewish section was very moving and a great addition to the museum. Opening hours: MON - closed. TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 18.00. Prices: For adult visitors - 250 rubles, for students and children of school age under 18 - free of charge. Very reasonable prices for the quality souvenirs at the museum's gift shop:
On the north end of Mikhaylovskaya ul., opposite the southern facade of the Russian Museum stands the Monument to Alexander Pushkin. The monument was created by sculptor Mikhail Anikushin and erected in 1957 to mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg (the city was, of course, founded in 1703 but the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 delayed celebrations by a full four years). The statue stands with his back to the Russian Museum and looking over a small green area:
Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre resides in the west side of the Arts Square. A beautiful building and wonderful interior. It is beginning to rival even the world-famed Mariinsky Theatre with its repertoire of classic ballet and opera. The majority of its repertoire consisting of classic ballet and opera of the 19th century. Built 1831-1833 by Alexander Brullov, In order not to draw attention away from the palace, Brullov created a plain and simple neoclassical exterior for the building, saving his efforts and imagination for the theatre's richly decorated and ornate interiors: silver, velvet, mirrors, and crystal chandeliers - as well as a unique ceiling mural by the Italian artist Giovanni Busato depicting "The victory of the powers of enlightenment and science over the dark powers of ignorance" which dates from 1859:
From the Mikhailovsky Theater - we walk 550 m. to a nice, budget but busy restaurant in SPB - the Market Place at Nevsky Prospekt 24: head west on Inzhenernaya st. (ул. Инженерная) toward Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова), 85 m. Turn left onto Griboyedov Canal Embankment (наб. канала Грибоедова), 350 m, turn right onto Nevsky Prospekt (пр. Невский), 150 m and Marketplace (ресторан-маркет) is at
Nevsky Prospect, 24. See Tip 3.
Tip 3: Market Place Restaurant, Nevsky Prospekt 24:
Restaurants in central St. Petersburg are expensive and touristic. This restaurant is an exception. The meal is fresh cooked in front of you and is enough filling for the person. Different types of food. Half-self service. Since it is very busy - do not expect a personal 5-star service. Quite noisy. You have to queue-in also for the restroom downstairs. Fair prices. Allow 15-20 minutes for waiting in queues:
After having lunch at the Market Place - we head to the area south of Nevsky Prospekt and back to the Winter and Summer Palaces (north of the thoroughfare. Our first destination, pretty close to Nevsky Prospekt - is the Bolshaya Konyushennaya avenue.
Tip 4: From Bolshaya Konyushennaya to the Summer Palace:
From the Market Place Restaurant (Nevsky Prospekt #24) (3 minutes walk west from the Nevsky Prospekt Metro station) - we head west on Nevsky Prospekt, 110 m. Then, we turn right onto Bolshaya Konyushennaya ulitsa (ул. Большая Конюшенная). The avenue is located between Konyushennaya Square and Nevsky Prospect. It was laid out in the early 1730s from the Court Stable (in Russian, Konyushenny) Yard buildings. This side street of Nevsky Prospekt, for its part, was constructed in the 1730s and 1740s near the heart of the power centre of St. Petersburg, the Winter Palace, but also deliberately as the centre for foreign congregations. Thus it came to embrace the
Lutheran churches of that day, the Finnish and Swedish churches (on Malaya Konyushennaya) being amongst them. During the 1880s and 1890s the Bolshaya Konyushennaya underwent a sudden change, a building process of five-storey high stone houses, giving the street an impressive neo-Renaissance and national romantic appearance. Bolshaya Konyushennaya did not enclose any park, but it was also later to get a small boulevard of trees in the middle. After its hectic
building period it also housed a department store. Bolshaya Konyushennaya gained, more and more - a Scandinavian (or, at least, multi-cultural) character. Around 1900 some 10% of the population of St Petersburg was Lutheran. The Lutheran group included Germans, Dutch, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and Finns. The Swedish congregation consisted of 5,200 members before the First World War and
the Finnish Church had over 17,000 members. At most St Petersburg housed 24,000 Finns, which meant that St Petersburg in 1880 was the second biggest “Finnish” city. Most of them lived in this area of SPB.During the years 1918 - 1991 the street was called Zhelyabova Street, in memory of А. I. Zhelyabov). The avenue is full with history and historical buildings. It includes the Finnish Lutheran Church (house No 6а),
N. A. Meltzer's apartment house (house No 19/8. 1904-05, architect F. I. Lidval), the Gvardeysky Economic Society House of Commerce (house No 21-23, today DLT Trade Company),
and the French Reformed Church of St. Paul (house No 25, 1770-73, architect U. M. Velten, rebuilt in 1858, architect Y. O. Dutel). In the 1730s, the cabinet-minister A. P. Volynsky's mansion (Nos 21-23) stretched all the way to the Moika River. House No 27 was part of the Demut Hotel complex (see Demutov Inn), housing the Medved Restaurant (1878-1929), and a variety theatre (from 1938) where the famous Soviet stand up comedian A. I. Raykin performed for quite some time.
From the 1930s, the French Church building accommodated the City M. I. Chigorin Chess Club. In the 1850-60s, I. S. Turgenev lived in house No 13; in 1889-93, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov lived in house No 11, А. А. Rylov in house No 19, and architect N. A. Trotsky in house No 15. Nowadays, the avenue image is a bit different: the whole length of the ostentatious boulevard Bolshaya Ulitsa is seamed with international luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Omega, Christian Louboutin, Dior, and Brunello Cucinelli. Just stroll on, even if your budget can only manage window shopping. It’ll still be fun:
We recommend walking approx. 550 - 600 m. NORTHWARD along Konyushennaya (until Konyushennaya Square) and back, SOUTHWARD on the other side of this avenue. Returning back to Nevsky Prospekt, we turn RIGHT (west) to this famous street and walk 150 m. until we arrive to the Moyka river. Cross the river along Nevsky Prospekt over the Green Bridge and cross the Nevsky Prospekt avenue from its northern side to the southern side, walking onto nab. Reki Moyki on the EASTERN bank of the Moyka river - when Stroganov Palace and the Moyka river are on your LEFT (east) and the river on your RIGHT (west):
A bit further southward, still, on our left - the Kazan Cathedral gardens. Walk approx. 400 m. down (southward) along the Moyka river until you arrive to the Red Bridge (Кра́сный мост, Krasniy most). The bridge's name dates from a 19th-century tradition of color-coding the bridges crossing the Moika River. Like other colored bridges, the Red Bridge got its name from the colour of its sides facing the river. Today only four colored bridges survive, the other ones being the Blue Bridge, the Green Bridge and the Yellow Bridge respectively. Three of them have kept their original names, but Yellow Bridge has been renamed to Pevchesky Bridge. The Red Bridge is, actually, a part of Gorokhovaya Street. The length of the bridge is 42 m., the width is 16.8 m. The first cast iron bridge on the site was built in 1808-1813. The bridge was rebuilt in 1953 by architect V.V. Blazhevich. In the same year four small obelisks topped with small bronze spheres were added to the bridge's granite piers. Also, the original cast iron structure of the bridge was replaced by the welded steel arches but most of the decorations are still left intact:
We cross the Red Bridge and move from the east bank of Moyka river to its west side, continuing north-west up along Gorokhovaya street. Walk along Gorokhovaya 140 m.
(at the end of this road - you can see, clearly, the famous top of the Admirality building.
We turn right (north-east) to Bolshaya Morskaya ulitsa. Bolshaya Morskaya Street (Grand Sea Street) is located from the General Staff Arch to Kryukov Canal and full with period building, still, with the past glamor.We shall walk the whole Morskaya street from the Gorokhovaya intersection until its end in the Winter Palace Square (approx. 500 m.). The direction of our walk is from south-east (later, south) to north.
The street was constructed in the early 18th century, in Morskaya settlement (hence the name). After fires of 1736-37, the main part of the street from Nevsky Prospect towards St. Isaac's Square was called Bolshaya Gostinaya (Gostinnaya) Street due to the project of Gostiny Dvor construction (has not been implemented). In 1755-67, the street between Nevsky Prospect and Kirpichny Lane was blocked up with the temporary wooden Winter Palace. In 1902, on account of Morskaya Malaya Street renamed Gogolya Street, the whole street was referred to as Morskaya. Always one of St. Pe
tersburg’s most fashionable streets, shady Bolshaya Morskaya ulitsa is the choice of the artistic elite to this day. It has some exceedingly handsome 19th - century mansions hidden away, especially, between St Isaac’s Square and Pochtamtskiy most.
Interesting buildings right (east) or close to to Gorokhovaya street / Bolshaya Morskaya Street intersection:
Alexander Pushkin lived in Building 26 in 1832.
Building 24 belonged to Faberge firm (1899), today it houses Yakhont Jeweller's. Peter Carl Fabergé, (Карл Густавович Фаберже Karl Gustavovich Faberzhe, (30 May 1846 – 24 September 1920), was a Russian jeweller, best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones. In 1885, Tsar Alexander III gave the House of Fabergé the title; ‘Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown’. The Tsar also commissioned the company to make an Easter egg as a gift for his wife, the Empress Maria. The Tsar placed an order for another egg the following year. Beginning in 1887, the Tsar apparently gave Carl Fabergé complete freedom with regard to egg designs, which then became more and more elaborate. The next Tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his wife, Alexandra. The tradition continued until the October Revolution. Although the House of Fabergé is famed for its Imperial Easter eggs, it made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. Fabergé’s company became the largest jewellery business in Russia. In addition to its Saint Petersburg headquarters, it had branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 to 200,000 objects from 1882 until 1917. The Company was located at Bolshaya Morskaya Street; before 1854 at No.11; in 1854-1900 at No.16; and from 1900 – now at No. 24 (House of Faberge);
Building 18 was being built in the 1910s for Russian Bank for Foreign Commerce (architect L.N. Benois and Lidval), complete in the 1930s (architects L.V. Rudnev, Y.O. Svirsky) for the Textile Institute (today Technology and Design University):
Building 15 is the former Russian Commercial and Industrial Bank (1912-14, architect M.M. Peretyatkovich):
Building 14 was owned by the wealthy Eliseevs brothers since the middle of the 19th century.
Building 12 is the former house of Kotomin.
Building 11 was the private house of architect P.P. Jacot (1830s). The Teremok restaurant resides in this building.
Building # 6:
Buildings 3-5 are the former building of the Azovsko-Donskoy Bank (1908-13, architect F.I. Lidval).
Interesting buildings left (west) to Gorokhovaya street / Bolshaya Morskaya Street intersection:
Building 67 - the former Officers' Corps of Horse Guards Regiment (1844-49, architect I.D. Chernik. Today: University of Aerospace Instrumentation):
Building 58 is the German Reformed Church.
Building 52 belonged to the Polovtsovs. Today - the House of Architect.
Building 47 belonged to the Nabokov Family (1898-1902, architects F.M. Geissler, V.F. Guslisty, today it houses the Museum of V.V. Nabokov):
the Demidov Mansion (No. 43) was reconstructed 1835-1840 by Auguste de Montferrand, architect of St. Isaac's Cathedral. The building is of interest not only for its rather comically posed atlantes (see picture below), but also because the richly decorated interiors included a Malachite Room several years before the idea was adopted in the Winter Palace. The better-preserved house next door (No. 45) dates back to the 1740s, and was also reconstructed by Montferrand, who sold it to the Demidov family in 1836. It later belonged to Countess Vera Gagarina, who employed Maximilian Messmacher to design interiors for some of the rooms. The building is now the House of Composers, and some of Messmacher's and Montferrand's original interiors can still be seen when visiting concerts there:
Buildings 42 and 44 were occupied by Ministry of State Property (1844-53, architect N.E. Efimov; today: the Genetics Institute and Plant Cultivation Institute).
Building 41 - the house of German Embassy:
Hotel Astoria, # 39:
Buildings 35 (1907, architects A.A. Gimpel, V.V. Ilyashev) and 37 (1898, architects L.N. Benois, S.Y. Levi) were owned by Russia insurance society:
Building 61, overlooking the Moyka river, was the mansion of M.V. Lomonosov (1750-60s, reconstructed in the 1840s by architect A.K. Cavos):
We walked 500 m. along Bolshaya Morskaya Street (crossing Nevsky Prospekt - 150 m. before arriving to the Arch of the General Staff Building , which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a Roman quadriga (1819–29), leading off Palace Square (see: "St. Petersburg - from Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog):
Allow 20-30 minutes for strolling again in the Place Square (see "St. Petersburg - from Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog). Exit the square in its eastern end and slight left onto nab. Reki Moyki (наб. реки Мойки), 65 m. (short section along the Moyka river). Then, turn left onto the Winter Canal or Naberezhnaya Zimney Kanavki (наб. Зимней канавки), 160 m. Please walk along the LEFT (west) side of the canal. With your back to the Palace Square and to the Moyka river and your face to the north (Neva river) - take the left, narrow road along the dark Winter Canal or Zimnaya Canal. The Winter Canal starts, in the south, between the eastern side of the Hermitage complex and the Hermitage Theatre. The narrow canal connects Neva river and Embankment (promenade) with Moika River in the vicinity of Winter Palace. The canal was dug in 1718–1719. Its length is only 228m, which makes it one of the shortest canals in the city. The width is about 20m. The granite embankment was built in 1782–84, and railings designed by sculptor I.F.Dunker were added at the same time. The special picturesqueness to the canal is added by the arch connecting Old Hermitage and Hermitage Theater, built by architect Yury Felten next to the Hermitage Bridge. There are, totally, three bridges across Winter Canal (from south to north): Second Winter Bridge on the Moika River Embankment, the First Winter Bridge (on Milionnaya Street) and the Hermitage Bridge (on the Palace Embankment):
Winter Canal or Zimnaya Canal or nab. Zimney kanavki (наб. Зимней канавки). We saw there preparations for Russian - BBC co-production of future TV movie:
The Winter canal from north to south. View from the Palace Embankment:
It is a 1.2 km. walk along the Neva river or the Palace Embankment ( наб. Дворцовая) from west to east (from the Winter Canal - turn right, east) - to the Summer Garden, Kutuzov embankment, 2:
Your walk should be pleasant if the weather allows. It might be windy (you can, take an alternative way eastward - along the Millionnaya street. On your right, along the Palace Embankment - are gorgeous palaces and mansions:
The Palace Embankment or Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya (Дворцовая набережная) begins at the Palace Bridge, where the Admiralty Embankment becomes the Palace Embankment, and the street ends at the Fontanka, where it becomes the Kutuzov Embankment. The Palace Embankment is a very popular street among tourists, as it has a wonderful view of the Neva, the Peter and Paul Fortress and Vasilievsky Island. Many sightseeing boats are available for hire there. On our way to the Summer Garden we pass through the following places and attractions:
Marble Palace, (Мраморный дворец), Palace Embankment # 76 or 5/1 Millionnaya Street. The palace takes its name from its opulent decoration in a wide variety of polychrome marbles. The stone decorations of the Marble Room strike with their many colours, smartness and opulence, their perfectly worked marble, selected and arranged with impeccable style. The palace was built by Count Grigory Orlov, an advisor and lover of Empress Catherine the Great and the most powerful Russian nobleman of the 1760s. Construction started in 1768 to designs by Antonio Rinaldi. In 1843, Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich decided to redecorate the edifice, renaming it Constantine Palace and engaging Alexander Brullov as the architect. An adjacent church and other outbuildings were completely rebuilt, while the interior of the palace was refurbished in keeping with the eclectic tastes of its new owner. Only the main staircase and the Marble Hall survived that refacing and still retain the refined stucco work and elaborate marble pattern of Rinaldi's original decor. In January of 1992, the Palace was handed over to the State Russian Museum, which marked the beginning of a new period in its history. In 1994, the permanent exhibition Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum was opened in the Palace. This exhibition is based on the collection donated to the Russian Museum by the famous German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig. The collection contains works by contemporary European, Russian and American artists. This exhibition is being continuously expanded with new acquisitions and donations. In 2001, the White (or Gothic) Room was opened after having been restored. The room is equipped with the modern high-technology equipment for conferences, symposiums and teleconference bridges. Opening hours: MON, WED, FRI - SUN: 10. 00 - 18.00, THU - 13.00 - 21.00. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays:
Vladimir Palace (Vladimirsky dvoretsor, Влади́мирский дворе́ц) or Palace of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, Dvortsovaya naberezhnaya, 26 was built between 1867 and 1872 for the third son of Emperor Alexander II. Just east of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage on Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya ("Palace Embankment"), the Vladimir Palace was designed by a team of architects lead by Vasily Kenel. The palace's simple, somewhat dour facade is in stark contrast to the wonderfully preserved interiors, where the architects employed a hugely eclectic range of styles and periods, from neo-gothic to rococo to oriental. Guided tours of the Vladimir Palace are available daily except Sundays. Call in advance:
The Golden Staircase inside:
The Persian room:
Bust of Grand Duke Vladimir:
On our way along the Neva river, we also pass through (on our left) the Troitsky Bridge over the Neva river:
At last we arrive to the Summer Garden on your right. We enter the garden through its northern entrance. Skip to Tip 5.
Tip 5: Summer Garden:
Summer Garden (Letny Sad) and Summer Palace of Peter the Great - a must see tourist attraction in SPB.
The gardens are open with FREE ADMISSION. A true escape from the everyday life of the city of St. Petersburg. It's the right place to shelter from the soaring heat. Best time - late afternoon hours.
Just an absolutely beautiful garden. Relaxing and awe inspiring thinking of all the work that went into building them. Allow, at least, 2 hours for strolling around. Magnificent grounds and gardens. It is quite extensive so if you cannot walk far this is not for you. Wide and long lanes, many statues, many fountains, frequent artistic displays or performances. However, if you can walk the grounds you will see beautiful landscapes, fountains, statues and flowers. The property also extends to the water. You can see the Finnish Gulf from the outskirts of the gardens. The gardens are kept immaculate and at any given time you can observe an armies of people who are tending the gardens and keeping them clean.
It's lovely to walk in the garden on a sunny day, quiet and peaceful inside. Amazing fountain displays and guilded sculptures (mostly, copies - not the originals). For truly enjoying the garden experience - make sure the fountains have been turned on for the season. The fountains come on only around 11.00 and turn off at 18.00. The gardens are managed by the nearby Russian Museum, and can be accessed either from the ornate wrought-iron gates running along the Palace (Dvortsovaya) Embankment of the Neva, or from the entrance on ulitsa Pestelya, close to whether the Moika and Fontanka rivers meet (not far from Pantelmon Bridge - see Tip 2).
The Summer Garden was used as the center for culture and entertainment. The Tsar Peter the Great (Peter I) laid it immediately after the founding of the Northern Capital. The territory of the garden is a monument of culture of the 18th century. This garden is unique in that its entire arrangement has remained virtually unchanged since the time of Peter the Great. The king was fond of this garden where luxurious balls and receptions attended by the most prominent people of St. Petersburg were organized. Peter himself designed the park plan. One of Peter the Great's passions was inspired by Versailles gardens. According to his orders the park was filled with flowers and trees of various species, fountains, wide alleys, pavilions, galleries and ponds with swans and ducks. But the greatest virtue of the garden was becaming a kind of a museum of decorative garden sculptures of the 18th century. By 1714 the Summer Garden had received two-storey Summer Palace of Peter the Great. In 1777 St. Petersburg saw one of the mightiest floods in its history. As a result, the fountains, the grotto, the pavilion and numerous other attractions of the Summer Garden were destroyed. The statues suffered too. In the 18th century the number of statues in the garden totaled around 200. Today, there are less than 90: a part of their number was sent to various museums. Of the surviving copies the most interesting are the sculptures of Alexander the Great, Marcus Aurelius, the Polish King Jan Sobieski as well as the statues symbolizing Architecture, Glory, Navigation, Justice and other characters of Roman mythology. The floods did so much damage (entirely destroying the system of fountains) that the Imperial family stopped using the garden for entertaining, and the fountains were not restored. The garden was left for a daily use of the upper class people.
The Chess Fountain:
The Gardens or Neva Fencing: this is the first remarkable feature in this wonderful site. The whole length of the fencing is 232 m. The architect Jury Felten created the project of the fencing. 16 years passed from the decree of Catherine II in 1770 till the overall completion of the work. The project was changed several times. More than ten drafts still remain showing the stages of the work. Bronze gilded decorations enliven the strict look of the Summer Garden grating. In 1866 the fencing witnessed a historical event of murdering attempt of Tsar Alexander II. A chapel was built on the site of the central gate in commemoration of the good riddance of the Emperor of the mortal danger - but, the chapel had been dismantled in 1930.
The Summer Palace: NO PHOTOGRAPHS inside the palace. The inside is very ornate with lots of gold, mirrors and chandeliers. Also paintings of family members adorn the walls. As for Summer 2015 - the Summer Palace that lays within the Summer Garden(s) is under massive renovation and is inaccessible for visitors. Regularly, the palace has an entrance fee (higher for tourists).
The Summer Palace (Летний дворец) is the residence of Peter the Great that was built in 1710-14 in his new capital, St. Petersburg, in what is now the Summer Garden. It stands very close (west) to the Fontanka river and very close (south to) the Neva river. An incredible location ! The design was by Domenico Trezzini. This simple Dutch-style (Petrine Baroque) mansion contains just 14 main rooms. The mansion was designed as an entertainment pavilion and was intended for warm weather use only. Peter moved into the partially completed palace in 1712 and spent summers here until his death in 1725. He occupied the lower level while his wife Catherine preferred the upper rooms. Peter's daughter Elizabeth Petrovna had her own Summer Palace built on the Field of Mars slightly to the west. The older palace has stood untenanted since the 1840s. The Summer Palace - a witness of Peter the Great life - has remained without any radical changes up to the present day. The evidence can be found both in historical plans of the Summer Garden of the first half of the 18th century and in the sketch from year 1727. Thus, the Summer Palace is not only one of the first stone buildings in St. Petersburg, but also a unique sample of the architectural work of its founder reflecting the peculiarities of Peter's character. In the early 19th century the Summer Palace served as a Dacha (summer house) for high ranking state officials. The museum was founded in 1903, the year of the 200 anniversary of St. Petersburg. After 1917 the Palace was kept as a historical and architectural monument. In 1934 the memorial museum of history and art was opened in the Summer Palace of Peter I (the Great). Its oak interiors were reconstructed in the early 1960s. The house was open to the public as a branch of the Russian Museum until it closed down for repairs in 2009. Nowadays it houses a museum with some of Peter the Great’s personal belongings and furniture plus some stuff that was simply made in the era when he lived. Also on the grounds are the 1826 Coffee House, designed by Carlo Rossi, and the 1827 Tea House, designed by Ludwig Charlemagne, where you can still enjoy refreshments and beverages everyday.
In the 19th century the garden received new pavilions: the "Coffee House" (Kofeinyi Domik), built by Carlo Rossi in 1826 and the "Tea House". The "Tea House" resides behind the monument to the fabulist Ivan Krylov (see below), south of the Summer Palace. The Tea House (Chayniy domik) is a simple Neoclassical pavilion built by the architect Charlemagne in 1827:
Ivan Krylov Monument: The statue stands between the main alley and the Tea House. Krylov, the famous fables-teller drew heavily on the works of Aesop and Jean de la Fontaine, adapting them to satirize the peculiarities of Russian life, and especially the country's bureaucracy. Most of his tales had animals as main subjects. Baron Pyotr von Klodt, whose most famous works are probably the magnificent horses on Anichkov Bridge, is also the sculptor of this charming monument to the much loved stories author. The pedestal of the monument is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the of Krylov’s fables. From the Neva River side the Summer Garden is fenced with the laced gilded lattice, a real masterpiece of decorative art. This lattice is so beautiful that it become one of the symbols of St. Petersburg:
Vibraphone player - in front of Krylov Monument:
There are cafe and restaurant inside the gardens. Of course there is a gift shop and vendors on the grounds.
You can leave the Summer Garden through its southern entrance or exit - near the point where the Moyka and Fontanka rivers meet each other (see Tip 2). We recommend leaving the garden through the northern entrance (the one we entered through, opposite the Neva river). From the northern, main, entrance on the Palace Embankment, turn RIGHT (east), walk 150 m. until you arrive to the Fontanka river. Head south on nab. Reki Fontanki (наб. реки Фонтанки), 650 m. Turn right onto Pantelmon Bridge (мост. Пантелеймоновский), 80 m. Here, find a bus heading to Nevsky Prospekt or walk to Nevsky Prospekt via the Spilled Blood Cathedral (see Tip 2). Along this itinerary - you see marvelous sights of the cathedral - glowing under the sunset rays:
Mikhailovsky Castle in sunset - on our way back from the Summer Garden to city centre:
Tip 6: Opera Evening in Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre:
Mikhailovsky Classical Ballet and Opera Theatre was established in 1833. It is St. Petersburg's second largest Ballet and Opera stage and second best Ballet and Opera stage after the world-famous Mariinsky (Kirov).
Like the Mariinsky (Kirov) hall - its hall is also the hall of Imperial theatre, beautifully decorated. It was renovated in 2010 and now looks the same as in 1833. Most of the Mikhailovsky Ballet dancers are graduates of the famous Vaganova Ballet Academy. Most of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet dancers are graduates of the same academy as well. Mikhailovsky is a great alternative to Mariinsky, You'll find the the entrance fees for the Mikhailovsky are more reasonable than the Mariinsky (Kirov) ones. This beautiful theatre is a bit smaller, than the more famous Mariinsky.
For current schedule of performances - see: https://www.balletandopera.com/theatre/mikhailovsky/sid=GLE_1
"Tosca" - White Nights Festival - July 2015: