The central area of St. Petersburg is incredibly beautiful. The main street is Nevsky Prospekt, originally built by Tzar Peter I (the Great) to go to the ancient city of Novgorod. It now runs from the Admiralty in St. Petersburg to the Moscow Railway Station, and with slight kink on to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Of course, I didn’t travel this route, but instead walked along Nevsky Prospekt in the central district of St. Petersburg. I’m glad you are joining me as I retrace my steps.
Nevsky Prospekt is the main shopping avenue and one of the many landmarks is Dom Knigi, translated as the House of Books. The building was originally built by the Singer Sewing Machine Company and was meant to be a sky scraper but city codes didn’t allow for any building to be taller than the tzar’s residence, the Winter Palace, at 23.5 meters. The architect built the glass globe on the top as a solution. This dome, sculpted by Amandus Adamson of Estonia, gives the impression of a high rise, but has a lightness that doesn’t overshadow the other important buildings in the vicinity. They did produce sewing machines here and these black, reconditioned Singers are for sale at the Osh Bazaar we visited in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (formally a part of the Soviet Union).
Of course I can’t resist browsing a book store but it is very different when all the books are in an unfamiliar language. There was a small English section, but why buy those when I can get them at home.
This is a pedestrian walk off Nevsky Prospekt and the building on the right is their largest department store, Gostiny Dvor. It was built between 1757 and 1785 and is said to be one of the first shopping malls. I was able to do a lot of really fun shopping because a significant part of this mall is rented out to small shops, many with hand-crafted items. The above photo shows the beautiful architecture that is throughout this whole area.
This photo shows so much of the beauty of St. Petersburg: the many canals and rivers, the architecture, and of course The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. The background of the name is an interesting part of Russian history that can be discovered through a Google search.
Olga, the woman we were staying with, was the English speaking tour guide at the Peter & Paul Fortress and she called one of her colleagues at the church who gave us a private tour. The inside is covered with intricate mosaics which are so beautiful that they are a bit overwhelming. I was discouraged by the quality of my photos but have found that even National Geographic photographers haven’t done much better given the lighting and the scale.
I found St. Isaac’s Cathedral to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city because of the architecture and the color of the stone used in construction. The columns that you see are made of single pieces of red granite and weight 80 tons each. The golden dome can be seen from throughout the city.
From what I have read, the inside is very impressive but because of limited energy we didn’t go in. There is so much to see and we had so many wonderful opportunities because we were staying with my daughter’s friend that I had to carefully use my limited energy.
Here are some additional fun images for the letter S in St. Petersburg.
Okay, so you are wondering what begins with S in this photograph. Well it is “SHARING”. This is in front of the Winter Palace of Tzar Peter I and the driver had dumped the grass on the pavement for the horse to eat. There was a second horse and carriage a ways away and that horse slowly made his way towards the grass. If you look closely you can see the second one just behind, ready to take his share. Here is a photo of one portion of the building that houses the Hermitage Museum. Another S stands for STANDING in line – which we didn’t have to do because Olga walked us to the front and showed her identification tag. 🙂 I know it wasn’t fair but it would have offended Olga’s sense of hospitality if I would have told her I wanted to go to the back of the line.
We stayed with Olga in her flat and this is her Siamese cat. She took great joy in dragging the toilet paper out of the toilet and wrapping herself up in it – always when we were away.
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