Nevsky Avenue

Nevsky Avenue has always been and still is the main street of St. Petersburg with its inexpressible charm. The Avenue stretches from the Admiralty to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery for 4.5 kilometers. The street received its name not from the Neva River but from the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. The Nevsky Avenue passes through three rivers: the Moika, the Fontanka and the Griboyedov – or Catherine – Canal.

27 lanes, streets and avenues approach the Nevsky Avenue but only four of them intersect it. The right (odd-numbered) side is informally called the “shady” side, and the even-numbered side bears the name of the “sunny” side (it is a popular place for promenades). The avenue goes through four out of forty two of the Neva’s islands. It is the only main street in the world at which the churches of all Christian faiths are situated: Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The construction of a main road through the city began right after the foundation of St. Petersburg. Nevsky Avenue’s direction was predefined by the direction of the Novgorod Road which had already existed. The section leading from the monastery had been completed by 1718 and the section from the Admiralty was finished in 1720. The Anichkov Palace was built at the corner of the Nevsky and the embankment of the Fontanka in the 1740s. Under the supervision of Bartolomeo Rastrelli the Stroganov Palace was erected along the avenue in 1752-1754. Following the fire of 1766 only stone buildings were allowed to be constructed at the Nevsky. The construction of the Big Shopping Arcade by the architect J. Vallin-Delamot had begun in the 1760s; at the same period the St. Catherine Church was erected on the avenue.

A number of other remarkable buildings were constructed in the second half of the 18th century including the Armenian Apostolic Church, the building of the Silver Mall, the Public Library etc. The buildings of the German Lutheran Church of St. Peter, the “Passage” department store, the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace and the “Evropeyskaya”, or European, hotel were built during the 19th century. Dozens of buildings for trade and financial institutions were constructed at the beginning the 20th century on Nevsky Avenue.

The visage of St. Petersburg’s main and most famous street has been constantly changing over three centuries but its architectural ensembles, sculptures, monuments and bridges connecting banks of rivers and canals stay unchanged. That is why the most accurate definition of Nevsky Avenue would probably be the ‘cart-de-visite of St. Petersburg’.

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