«Lions guard the city» route

Many statues of lions have become part of urban traditions. Try your luck, make a wish touching you like most.

Description: the route is dedicated to one of the unofficial symbols of the city - the Lion. It enlightenes visitors about legends connected with these gracious animals, made in stone.

The route: Griboedova Canal embankment – Lion Bridge and Bank Bridge - Lion on St. Isaak's Cathedral - Admiralteyskaya embankment lions - English embankment Lavaley House - Lying Lions - the spit of Vasilievsky Island - Makarova embankment. Lions at the Customs - Mikhailovsky Castle, Lions as monuments: on the clothes and bas-relief - Petrovskaya embankment, Shi-Tsa Lions. 

Duration of the route: 3 hours. This tour is suitable for children. 

  • monuments 4 ,
  • bridges 2
8 km, 824 m
House Lavalya

House Lavalya

House of Laval on Angliyskaya Embarkment

The first stone building on the place where the Laval’s house stands now was built in the 1720s

The first stone building on the place where the Laval’s house stands now, belonged to Alexander Menshikov, the first governor of St. Petersburg and was built in the 1720s. After Menshikov fell into disgrace, the house became the property of the vice-chancellor A.I. Osterman, and in the end of the XVIII century to the G.A. Stroganov. The house was rebuilt by the architect A. Voronikhin for G.A. Stroganov. Voronikhin was the first Russian architect who started to use lion statues in his compositions. As decorations there are two laying lions near the main entrance, nicknamed "philosophers" for the peaceful expression of their snouts. Countess A.G. Laval bought the house in 1800. The house was rebuilt again by architect J. Thomas de Thomon in the Empire style for her. 
In former times Laval’s house was one of the most popular literary and musical salons. Interiors in Laval's house were decorated like in a museum where were collected unique antique sculptures, Etruscan vases, Egyptian rarities and paintings. All this luxury has attracted a huge number of guests. Among them were famous artists and writers, diplomats and musicians. Laval's daughter became the wife of Prince Trubetskoy and she was among wives of the Decembrists, who went to Siberia with their husbands. 
 
Laval’s house was very popular in St. Petersburg in 1820s. Countess Laval’s literary salon visited such famous people as Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Krylov, Vasily Zhukovsky, Mikhail Lermontov. On February 16, 1840 at Laval’s ball Mikhail Lermontov quarreled with Ernest de Barant, the quarrel ended with the duel and the expulsion of the poet from St. Petersburg.
 
There is no museum in Laval’s house. Sometimes various travel companies organize excursions to Laval’s house.
1
Lions Bridge

Lions Bridge

St. Petersburg, Lviny most

One of sign bridges of Petersburg

Lions Bridge is considered one of the most famous bridges in St. Petersburg. Suspended pedestrian bridge decorated with sculptures of lions, attracts many tourists.
The bridge was built over the Griboyedov Canal near Podiacheskaia Street. The bridge was designed by prominent engineers V. Tretter and V.Christianovitz who participated in the creation of another famous pedestrian Bank bridge. P.P.Sokolov, is person who was made sculptures of griffins for Bank bridge, created sculptural decoration of the Lion bridge. 
Inside of statues of lions are situated supporting mechanisms which hold the chain of a suspension bridge. V. Trettera developed an original pattern of the iron railings of the bridge, which subsequently used in the design of Ioannovsky bridge leading to the Peter and Paul fortress. Despite of the technical complexity of the project, the bridge was built in a short time. The festive opening ceremony took place in July 1826. For the first time citizens called the bridge "The Bridge on the Four Lions” and only later the bridge got its present name. Bridge width is 2.5 meters, and its length is about 27 meters.

In 1838, a small copy of the bridge (length 17.3 m, width 2 m) was built by Borsig company on the territory of the Berlin Tiergarten. It was built by German architect L. F. Hesse. Bridge "Levenbryukke" (Loewenbruecke Hesse) became the first suspension bridge in Berlin. Unlike the original bridge in St. Petersburg, superstructure and bridge railings of Lion bridge in Berlin are still wooden.

If standing between two lions you will reach them with your fingertips, your wish will come true. 

1 km, 910 m
2
Bankovsky Bridge

Bankovsky Bridge

St. Petersburg, Bankovsky most

One of the most famous tourist points of the city

Bankovsky  Bridge (Bank Bridge) over the Griboyedov  canal  is nowadays one of the most famous tourist points of the city. Four griffins hold the light construction of the bridge with the decorative chains. The Bridge offers wonderful views onto the Kazan Cathedral, Singer House, Nevsky Prospect and Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. It’s one of Petersburg’s three remaining pedestrian suspended bridges.

The Bridge was constructed in 1826 by V.von Traitteur and V. Christianovitz and has formed the ensemble of the entrance to The State Assignation Bank (now it houses The University of Economics). The decoration of the bridge was created by famous sculptor P.Sokolov, the author of many animalistic and mystical sculptures, erected on the bridges and buildings of St. Petersburg. He also designed the lions of Lviny (Lion’s) Bridge and the sphinxes of Egyptian Bridge.

1 km, 819 m
3
Lions at the Dvortsovaya pier

Lions at the Dvortsovaya pier

St. Petersburg, Admiralteyskaya Embankment

The most popular guard lions in St.Petersburg

Made from a thin sheet of copper statues are clearly visible from everywhere.  Lion sculptures were made in 1832 by Alexander Ironworks in St. Petersburg. The author is I. Prang and model of sculpture was made by I.P. Prokofiev. The quay was adorned with statues of lions and vases in 1832 to decorate the stairs to Neva. Later the vases moved  to Petrovskaya Pristan, the lions and the quay were moved to the present place due to construction of Palace Bridge.

The lions are hollow inside but have a strong steel frame inside. These frames were set after the back of one lion had been broken by taking pictures tourists.

 

1 km, 574 m
4
Lion Masks on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island

Lion Masks on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island

St. Petersburg, Birzhevaya Square

Ramps are decorated with granite balls and lion masks made by Samson Suhanov

Earlier they were used to tie boats and barges.

According to legend the author Samson Suhanov  made it by eye  without any measurer.

There is a kind of belief that newly  married couple should hold together the ring in wedding day. That will promise strong and happy marriage.

644 m
5
Shi Tsa Lions on Petrovskaya Embarkment

Shi Tsa Lions on Petrovskaya Embarkment

St. Petersburg, Petrovskaya emb.

Shi Tsa Lions are two granite mythological lions in St. Petersburg, brought from China

They were placed on Petrovskaya Embankment in 1907. Shi Tsa granite lions were made in China, in the Manchurian city of Girin, for the general Chang’s chapel, but after his death, the new governor of the city gave these statues to  the governor-general of Priamurye, the ethnographer and the writer, N. I. Grodekov as a present.
Actually, Shi Tsa are not lions, but fantastic creatures, half-lions, half-frogs.  Following the Chinese tradition, their sculptures were usually put at the entrance to a temple or a cemetery. One of Shi Tsa lions holds a small ball in its paw, which symbolizes knowledge, and another Shi Tsa has a little young lion beside.
Statues were brought to St. Petersburg and placed on Petrovskaya Embankment at Nikolay Grodekov’s  in 1907
 
They say that the ball of Buddhist knowledge, which one of the lions holds in a paw, can grant one’s wishes.
2 km, 758 m
6

Useful information

Petersburg can rightly be called the most "lion" city in the country. You can find lions on St. Petersburg bridges, embankments, in the parks, near public buildings, palaces, quays in the form of sculptures and bas-reliefs on the coat arms and ornamental images.   Since ancient times lions considered as symbols of power, military prowess, membership of a the royal family, that is why the lions become so popular in the former capital of the Russian Empire.