Contemporary Russian megacities are rich in all sorts of events: performances on water, immersive shows, wine tastings, and brunches with bloggers are no longer a rarity. But what to do if you only come to town for the weekend, the main tourist routes are already exhausted, and you do not want to spend all your savings on entertainment?
"Not Only Bears" will tell you how to spend an interesting and budget weekend in St. Petersburgwhere you can still get in touch with the beautiful architecture, and where you can dance until dawn in the fresh air.
Organize your own quest: hunt for yard wells
What do the octagon, the cat, and the Egyptian goddess Isis have in common? Each of them found a place in St. Petersburg architecture, or rather, in the mysterious world of courtyard wells, adored by photographers and travelers.
The emergence of such courtyards was due to the location of St. Petersburg: to deploy large-scale construction in the swampy terrain was extremely problematic. The need to save space prompted Peter I to pay attention to the Dutch type of building. Houses were built literally "side by side", and the function of the yard area began to carry an inner courtyard.
Creative understanding of this forced measure by architects led to the creation of architectural mysteries and masterpieces such as the octagonal yard of the Zanin house, the Egyptian well of the Nezhinskaya house, the Court of Spirits in the house of the "sugar king" Leopold Koenig (the yard is believed to change location and grant wishes) and the yard with air galleries, where they regularly shoot movies. We'll tell you more about the courtyards in a separate article, and here we'll leave the coordinates for your searches:
- chambery and minimalistic yard - kitty cat40 Rubinshteina Street (Vladimirskaya/Dostoevskaya metro station);
- refined and aristocratic the courtyard of the Tolstoy House with arches: 15-17 Rubinstein Street (Dostoevskaya metro station).
- Octagon Yard with a cast-iron tree: 1B, Maly Prospect on the Petrograd Side (Sportivnaya metro station);
- house with an exotic Egyptian facade and, at the same time, the yard-well: Zakharievskaya Street, 23 (metro station Chernyshevskaya);
- the smallest yard-well (make a wish!): Vasilevsky Island, 4-th line, 5 (Vasileostrovskaya metro station);
- courtyard with air galleries and, at one time, an underground casino: 24 Kirochnaya Street (metro station Ploshchad Vosstaniya).
Wait for the Hogwarts Express
Perhaps more photo shoots in the spirit of the Harry Potter universe are done only at King's Cross Station itself. Today Vitebsk Station resembles a revived a still from a film about the beautiful Art Nouveau eraIn 1837 on this place was built a simple wooden building, proudly bearing the title of the first railway station of the country.
Laid out Tsarskoe Selo - St. Petersburg railway was at the insistence of Nicholas I. The monarch did not want to lag behind developed England and, according to legend, drew a new route on the map of Russia with his own hand. However, in the end, the emperor's hand shook, and a small "hook" was imprinted on the paper. Nicholas could not admit his mistake, and therefore the trains still move along this exact trajectory.
To believe such anecdotes or not is everyone's own business, but to be there, where the history of the Russian railroad began, is really interesting. The Art Nouveau building was built by order of Nicholas II and designed by Stanislav Antonovich Brzhozovsky. Its exterior featured an abundance of metal, unknown to the 20th century, and the interiors were lit with electric lamps. Balconies, staircases and flights of stairs, stained-glass windows and lanterns are still decorated today with aristocratic artistic forging with floral motifs. The clock tower is guarded by an owl, and trains can reach the second floor thanks to an embankment that was revolutionary for the beginning of the last century.
A walk and a photo session in the walls of a functioning train stationIt's a great way to rediscover your favorite city and see yourself in it in a new way, even if all you have is a smartphone and money for a metro token.
Improvise and give yourself to the dance!
Have you ever dreamed of finding yourself on the streets of New Orleans, hearing the loose tunes of local jazz musicians and going out dancing with the cheerful crowd, feeling like you're in the middle of a party?
If your heart is thirsty for parties and good music, The 1930s jam session atmosphere is exactly what you need. They hold them daily at The Hat, a jazz bar known for its lack of posters and its huge list of jazz stars who have performed on the small stage. On weekends it can be crowded, but during the warmer months the administrators open an additional space, a "smoking room" in the enclosed archway between the houses. Admission is freeIf you do not count the deposit (about 500 rubles), which can and should be spent at the bar.