The Ostrovsky Square Ensemble

This is one the only architectural ensembles in St. Petersburg’s historical centre which cannot be looked at with a single glance. The vast architectural complex consists of two squares, one street, twelve listed buildings and two monuments.

The Ostrovsky Square is one of the remarkable ensembles created by the architect genius Carl Rossi. The square ensemble’s pivot is the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the famous “Alexandrinka”, built in 1828-1832. A new building of the Public Library was constructed in tandem with the building of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. According to Rossi’s design, the library’s front façade faces the square in front of the theatre. The colonnade which extends for almost all façade’s length is decorated with the statues of ancient philosophers placed between the columns. There are ten of them: Herodotus, Euclid, Cicero, Tacitus, Plato, Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Demosthenes and Hippocrates. Minerva, the Goddess of wisdom overlooks from on top of the building’s roof. At the present time the Russian National Library is situated in the building.

The monument to Catherine the Great stands at the pedestal in the centre of the Square. It was reared in front of the Alexandrinka in 1873. One of the most unique streets in the world was laid by Rossi behind the building of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Today the street is named after the architect. The creation of the complex consisting of two squares was a true achievement and the Architect Rossi Street that linked the two squares received universal recognition. Its proportions are unique by architectural standards: its length is 220 meters, the width is 22 meters and the height of two buildings located at the street is also 22 meters.

One of the buildings was handed over to the Ministry of Education and the other is the place where the Vaganov Ballet School, Theatre Library and the Museum of Theatrical and Musical Art are situated.

The building of the Ministry of Education also opens up to the Chernyshev Square (the Lomonosov Square). This square is entered into by Lomonosov Street which goes by under the two arches that had been cut in the former building of the Ministry of Education. This is one of Rossi’s favourite patterns – to connect the passages and squares with monumental arcades. The complex of the Ostrovsky Square also includes two small parks and a garden: the park in front of the Theatre building, the Anichkov Palace garden and the park at the Lomonosov Square.

Both squares, the Lomonosov and the Ostrovsky, together with the Architect Rossi Street shape a uniform solemn architectural ensemble in the Empire style that still retains the spirit of the great epoch. Tour to st Petersburg