Highlights of Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg emblematic street

Maria Selezneva | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Nevsky Avenue, or Nevsky Prospect in Russian, is synonymous with Saint Petersburg itself. This emblematic street represents for the city what Champs-Elysees does for Paris, Gran Vía for Madrid, and Unter den Linden for Berlin. Probably no one could ever see all the points of interest located on Nevsky Avenue, but you should not miss the main highlights of Russia's most famous street, when in Saint Petersburg. There is a lot to enjoy, but let us start with a bit of history first.

Two parts of the same line

© istock/yulenochekk

Nevsky Prospect was built as a road connecting two important points of Saint Petersburg. They are the Admiralty (the headquarters of the Russian Navy) and Alexander Nevsky Lavra (an important monastery founded by emperor Peter the Great). He believed it was built where prince Alexander Nevsky had defeated the Swedish troops in the 13th century.

There is also a belief that Nevsky Prospect got its famous curve right at the place where Vosstaniya Square now is (in front of the Moskovsky Rail Terminal) because of the fact its two parts were built inconsistently. The one leading from the Admiralty was commissioned to the people who took care of delivering different goods and products, such as hay or wood. And the line starting where Alexander Nevsky Lavra stands was built by the monks. That is why Nevsky Prospect is more narrow there, and people still sometimes call it ‘Old Nevsky Prospect’

So, officially, Nevsky Prospect has two sides - sunny one (even) and shady one (odd). The first one is, of course, more popular for taking strolls. However, during the Siege of Leningrad in World War II, the sunny side was more dangerous because of regular artillery bombardments, and you can see a special plaque informing about it on the building at ‘Nevsky Prospect, 14’.

Nerve center of Saint Petersburg

© istock/DedMityay

Nevsky Prospect is undoubtedly the nerve center of the city. There, you can meet people at any time of the day, even when you arrive in the city by a night train from Moscow. There are a lot of cafés opened 24 hours a day, and it is very convenient to pass some time there until the reception desk in your hotel opens. That way, you can at least leave your luggage and start exploring the city. 

Attractions not to be missed

You really cannot even count all the points of interest situated on Nevsky Prospect, but I can name at least some of them so that it would be easier for you to recognize them. Those are the most emblematic ones, so you need to see them and visit them. 

1. Kazan Cathedral

Kazan Cathedral is a place to admire both internally and externally. It is a pleasure to have a rest while sitting on the bench surrounded by lilac bushes.

2. Singer House

Singer House is probably the most well-known building on Nevsky Prospect. Its cupola, lit from inside, is truly iconic.

3. Anichkov Bridge

Everyone sooner or later will cross Anichkov Bridge over Fontanka River. It is easily recognizable by beautiful Horse Tamers statues.

4. Elisseeff Emporium

Elisseeff Emporium is the most famous deli built in Saint Petersburg at the beginning of the last century. It was meant to be really attractive to customers.

5. Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace

This Neo-Baroque building is located close to Fontanka River. You can recognize it by pink colored walls.

6. Catherine Public Garden

One can find this garden near Aleksadrinsky Theater. It is known for the magnificent monument to Catherine the Great, the Russian empress.

Besides, other sites such as the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, Bank Bridge, Palace Square and Hermitage Museum, as well as the St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Arts Square are all at a stone’s throw. All the main sightseeing points of Saint Petersburg are located nearby. So, there is no doubt you will come to Nevsky Prospect, again and again, discovering new places, finding something unusual in what you already saw, and just enjoying it at any time of the day.

When exploring the highlights of Nevsky Prospekt, just remember it is the most emblematic street in Saint Petersburg. Hence, expect to see a lot of people (mostly tourists), and you need to keep this pace and move with them. Also, people crowd this avenue during the national holidays, so plan your visit to Saint Petersburg accordingly.

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