Excursions across Saint-Petersburg: rivers and channels
One can enjoy architectural amenities of St. Petersburg only from a little motor ship, sailing along the water mirror-like surface of the Neva. Like in Venice it flows practically near buildings, broadening horizons of those who want to feel majesty of towering above heads architectures of baroque and the Renaissance, regular classicism. The Neva flows out of the shallow Shlisselburgskaya bay of the Ladoga and flows into the Nevskaya bay of the Gulf of Finland. Its length makes up 74 km. Open areas of the Ladoga are isolated from the source of the river. The source of the river is the place at Petrokrepost town (former Shlisselburg), in front of the ancient Shlisselburgskaya fortress in Oreshek island. The range opposite the Nevsky gates of Leningrad sea trade port, at the entry from the Big Neva in the Gutuevsky scoop, is considered to be the creek of the river. Having common direction from the east to the west, the river has a form of a half-round, which prominence direct to the south. The distance from the source to the creek by straight line is 45 km. Into the Neva flow 26 small rivers, the main of them are the Mga, Tosna, Izhora, Ohta. All these confluents in comparison with the Neva are nor large and have almost no influence on the regime of it.
On its banks there are 4 large cities and about 30 other settlements. In the lower reach for 32 km stretches St. Petersburg. Unlike other flat rivers of the Neva haven’t flood-lands of this riverside, annually flooded by hollow snow and rain waters. In fact, in the Neva floods never occur. The excursions across the rivers and channels of St. Petersburg are the good opportunity not only for enjoying the architectural amenities of the city, but also to know the centuries-old history of every building. It is worth to mention that names of the city water-ways keep the names of memorable events of Russian history, the names of Russian writers and poets, for example, channel by Griboedov. Almost all rivers and channels – the integral attributes of writings. It is worth to remember mentions of rivers the Moika, the Fontanka, the Winter channels and the Lebyazhja grooves in the novels and stories of Russian classics, personages of which committed suicides, rushing into the black disaster of the water-ways of great Peter.
Formerly the Neva and other rivers washed hundreds islands, on which Petersburg towered. However the present has kept to our day only 41 islands: the rest of them were covered up during scaling building. By these islands are carrying out water excursions. And they begin, certainly, in the city and are accompanied by short excursus in the history of this or that palace, villas, bridges, quays.
So, it will be interesting for tourists to know, that the majestic Marmoreal palace, situated in Palace quay, was built for favorite of Ekaterina the Great, Gregory Orlov. In this place one can see also the Hermitage – now the complex of museum constructions, and formerly – one of the greatest imperial residences in the world, consisting of the Small and Old Hermitages, and also the Hermitage theater.
In University quay, to which tourists will come from Strelka of Vasiljevsky Island, one can see the buildings of the Cabinet of curiosities, the Academy of Science and the complex of constructions of St. Petersburg University – Lomonosov’s abode, the elegant building of “12 collegiums” by project of Domeniko Treziny, the Rector’s house, the Palace of Peter II, where is situated the philological faculty of one of the local universities. The Menshikovsky palace, built for the first governor of St. Petersburg and the favorite of Peter I, Alexander Menshikov, deserves special attention. Now this erection is the branch of the State Hermitage. The most famous among artists and the most prestige educational institution in Russia is the Academy of Art, situated behind the Rumyantsevsky garden near which at the very mirror-like surface of the water are sleeping two gigantic stone statues of ancient Egyptian sphinxes, dating from the15th century B.C.
Next to English and Palace quay there is Admiralteiskaya quay, where is situated the building of the Admiralty, the spire of which is seen from all points of radially separating St. Petersburg streets. The monument to Peter I “Brazen rider”, situated in Senatskaya square (the square of Decembrists), looks especially majestic. Sailing on the Fontanka river, one can see numerous ancient buildings of 18-19 centuries. Among them – Izmailovsky (Troitsky cathedral), built by project of architecture V. Stasov, in which, by legend, got married the great Russian writer Fedor Dostoevsky. Here guides will tell tourists about the history of building 280 St. Petersburg bridges, show you the Mihailovsky and Engineering castle – the residence of emperor Paul I, where he was killed by conspirators, and also not unknown the Fontanniy house, where lived poetess-symbolist A. Ahmatova. Quays of the Fontanka, Moika and channels are mostly built up with dwelling houses and partially with palaces, which together with walls of quays, bridges and their grills created harmonious architectural panoramas. The Krukov channel will tell you stories and legends of Nickolaevsky cathedral and the famous New Holland, situated on two islands. The quays of the southern part of the Krukov channel together with Nickolskaya square is the valuable architectural ensemble of XVIII century. It consists of Nickolsky Sea cathedral. Having turned to the Moika, tourists will see the majesty building of the Mariinsky palace.
One can see with the history of making the world-famed House-museum of A. S. Pushkin, situated on the quay of the Moika. Here one can see also the Marsovy fields and other sights. By the way one can repeat such excursions also at night. They are especially good, when begin white nights, mystically keeping back the secrets of revolutions, high life of the former centuries and the present.