Nevsky Prospekt – The most famous street in Russia!
Невский Проспект (Nevsky Prospekt) really is one of the most extravagant and splendid streets I have ever had the fortune of frequenting. It will take you a full hour to walk down the whole avenue, and it really feels like you are walking through history!
Walk through History
The street was designed by a French architect, called Alexandre Jean Baptiste LeBlond, on the orders of Peter the Great, and it is 4.3 km long, one of the longest streets in the world! It has had its name changed many times throughout its history. The Prospekt was called the Great Perspective Road until 1738 and between 1918-1944 it was named the Avenue of the 25th October (this was discarded as it was not popular with residents!). At all other times though, it has been called Nevsky Prospekt, named after a 13th century Russian hero, Alexander Nevsky. He is credited with defeating the invading armies of Germany and Sweden in 1240. He is such a legendary hero that the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral at the end of Nevsky Prospekt is named after him, and is apparently the battle site of his victory against the Swedes!
Nevsky Prospekt is lined with magnificent buildings, all of which were built during different parts of the street’s history, and all cater to the architectural preferences of the person in power. I find it impossible to find an ugly building anywhere on Nevsky Prospekt! It rightfully draws comparisons to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and rivals the beauty of Amsterdam and Venice, just like Peter the Great envisaged!
Street that never sleeps
The street is and always has been the hub of activity and action in St Petersburg. Since it was first used, Nevsky Prospekt has been filled with all the shops, businesses, restaurants and bars that the city has to offer! It has always been extremely vibrant and busy (especially during the White Nights in June and July!) that Nikolai Gogol noted that once you step onto Nevsky Prospekt, ‘you step into a fairground’!
When visiting St Petersburg, it is almost impossible not to walk down Nevsky Prospekt as a lot of the tourist sites are either on the street itself or just off it. Whether you want to visit the enormous Kazan Cathedral, stop by the Church of Our Saviour on the Spilt Blood, walk along the beautiful Anichkov Most and enjoy a fantastic view of the winding Fontanka canal, or simply feel like you are walking through time, away from the skyscrapers of a metropolis and modern architecture, Nevsky Prospekt represents a ‘blast from the past’, and its beauty is something not to be missed!
This blog was brought to you by Alexander, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz