ИСТОРИЯ САНКТ ПЕТЕРБУРГА XVIII XX ВВ
Saint-Petersburg: SPIT OF BASIL ISLAND
The cape of Basil Island (Vasilievsky Island) is called a Spit (Strelka) (Tongue of Land) because it sticks out into the Neva Riverin the shape of a spit and divides it into two estuaries. The spot ranks as one of the most prominent architectural sights in Saint- Petersburg. The two almost a hundred feet high redbrick.
Rostral Columns raised on the Spit in 1810 and designed by an architect Tomas de Tomon as a symbol of the naval supremacy of the Russian Empire and in honor of the Russian fleet victories. The shafts of the columns are decorated with the sculptural images of bows (rostra) of enemy ships. The five metre high allegoric statues installed at the foot of each column embody the four main Russian northern rivers: Volga, Dnieper, Neva and Volhov. The St.Petersburg Columns were designed as beacons or lighthouses as well and in 1957 the natural gas was laid up to the stone lighting cups at the top of each column, They are still fitted with gas lamps that are lit on ceremonial occasions. They are reminders that until the 1880s this part of Petersburg was a thriving port.
Toma de Tomon with the participation of the architect A.D.Zakharov designed the austere columns to highlight the limpid Classicism of the Stock Exchange building erected on the Spit just behind the green square bordered from the Neva River by granite fence and a long row of trimmed trees. The building was set up on a man-made mound protruded into the river at 120 meters ahead from the natural coastline. The porch with 44 snow- white Doric columns leads to the sea- green facade decorated with impressive sculptural groups of allegorical figures of Neptune with Two Rivers and Navigation with Mercury and Two Rivers. Nowadays the Central Naval Museum occupies the building. And to the south of the Exchange in another ex-warehouse is the Museum of Zoology, reputed to be one of the biggest and best in the world, with incredibly life-like stuffed animals from all around the world. Among the dioramas and the tens of thousands off mounted beasties is a complete woolly mammoth thawed out of the Siberian ice in 1902.
The Kunstkamera (1718-34 G.I.Matternovi, N.F. Gerbel, G.Ciaveri; 1754-58 S.O.Chevakinsky) is one of the most original examples of the baroque of the first third of the 18th century. That is blue-and-white building with the steeple was the city's first museum, founded in 1714 by Peter himself. This museum (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography) is about peoples outside the former USSR, with campy dioramas and displays on the cultures of Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Americas. The old anatomy theatre is the (only) big draw, with selections from Peter's original kunstkammer. While this translates from German to 'art chamber', the bloodthirsty crowds are really here to see Peter's collection of monstrosities, notably a ghoulish collection of preserved freaks, two-headed mutant foetuses and body parts.
The main building of the Academy of Science (1783-89 J.Quarenghi), a perfect monument of strict classicism.
The House of Twelve Boards (1722-42, D.Tresini), one of the most characteristic and unique buildings of the epoch of Peter the Great. The Principal Wing of the University (1794, 1840-42, A.F.Shchedrin), an example of stylization of the Peter the Great baroque. Near by there is statue of the scientist-poet Mikhail Lomonosov is Mendeleevskaya linia and the skinny, 400m- long Twelve Colleges building. Meant originally for Peter's government ministries, it's now part of the university, which stretches out behind it.