Nevsky west end

Explore central St. Petersburg on foot

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n front of the central Admiralty building extend the major, arterial roads of St. Petersburg. One of which is Nevsky Avenue, or simply “Nevsky” as the locals call it. It’s best to start the walk on Admiralty Avenue in front of St. Isaac’s Cathedral alongside Alexander Garden and make your up past the other two major roads, Voznesensky Avenue and Gorokhovaya Avenue. These roads are almost as busy as Nevsky, but there is more to see with the time that you spend by taking this route.

As you pass Gorokhovaya the Wittinghof House on the right was the headquarters of St. Petersburg secret police, established to gather intelligence on those suspected of stirring unrest and revolutionary connections. The museum inside contains four rooms that chart the history of the secret police from 1879 to the Bolshevik Cheka in 1917. Not everything is in English, however.

As you continue the roads bends right forming the main Nevsky Prospekt, where the Wawelberg Bank is seen to your right, home of the airline company Aeroflot since the Soviet era. Further down the street on the left is Kotomin House, 18 Nevsky Prospekt, dating back to 1815. Here upstairs is the Literary Cafe where in the very same room many great Russian literature writers, including Pushkin himself, met for a drink. The cafe is unmissable thanks to the bright yellow building with white columns and a picture of the poet on its wall.

On the opposing side is the mansion of the St. Petersburg Chief of Police Nikolay Chicherin. This large building held many artistic and entertainment clubs and is now being renovated into a luxury hotel.

Across the Green Bridge that spans the Moika canal is the eye-catching Strogonov Palace on the right and the far smaller Dutch Church on the left. The F.L Mertens Building is the last landmark before you swing left onto Bolshaya Konushennaya. This building housed the height of fashion in pre-revolution Russia with expensive furs.

After turning left off Nevsky Avenue, the large DLT department store stands near the centre of the street with a spire. Further up on the left is the castle-like Meltser House, built in 1905. This area is heavily influenced by Swedish architects, reflecting the Swedish presence this part of Russia once had.

Turn right just after the Meltser House and Finnish Church on the right onto Shvedsky Pereulok, translating to “Swedish Lane”. This street is filled with Scandinavian architecture and feel. Pass the Swedish Church on your right and the Meteorological Pavilion and Clock as head down again. Turn onto the very brief Cheboksar through to the Griboedov Canal Embankment, were a stunning view of the beautiful Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood can be seen.

Follow up the embankment down towards Nevsky Avenue until you come across the Singer Sewing Machine Building, Nevsky Prospekt 28. Built in 1904 it was for the American sewing machine company and is surprisingly ornate, with winged figures extending out over the roof.

As you make your way back up Nevsky Prospekt you’ll pass the front of the Kazan Cathedral. A bit further ahead on the corner of Malaya Konushennaya and Nevsky stands the Church of St. Peter to your right. Surprisingly for the German Lutheran structure, the interior was made into a swimming pool from the 1950s to 1991. Here marks the end of your walk, as you’re now back on Nevsky Avenue.

More Places of Interest in Nevsky West End

Alexander Popov Central Museum of Communication

Housed within the Palace of Prince Alexander Bezborodko is one of the most modern museums in St. Petersburg, opened in 2003. Journey through the history of Russian communications from postboxes to satellites. On display are a plethora Soviet-era TVs and record players and other devices.

State Museum of the History of Religion

This museum showcases are variety of religions and their antiquities, most notably Russian orthodox but also early to modern Christianity, Judaism and even Siberian shamanism. Originally located in the Kazan Cathedral and called the Museum of Religion and Atheism until 1999, this museum opened in 2001.

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