Architectural complex “Spit of Vasilyevsky Island” is one of the most beautiful places in St. Petersburg
Rostral Columns (the height of each one reaches 32 meters) and the Exchange building constitute the center of architectural composition.
The Spit represents a small cape in the southeastern part of Vasilievsky Island, washed by the Big and Little Neva.
A huge water space allows to see the whole ensemble of the Spit in all it's splendor. For two decades, the Twelve Collegia (1722 - 1742), the Kunstkammer (1718 - 1734), the Novobirzhevoy Gostiny Dvor (1722 - 1735) and the palace of the Tsaritsa Praskovia Fedorovna (the wife of Peter the Great's brother Ivan) and other structures appeared on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island.
The seaport firmly established itself on the spit: dozens of ships and boats transported people and cargo in the water area. In 1781 at the Spit of Vasilievsky Island began the construction of the Exchange building under the leadership of J. Quarenghi. However, with its main facade, it faced the Winter Palace, and thus did not fit fully into the ensemble of the square. Therefore, four years later the building was dismantled. The project of the new Exchange building was developed by the French architect J.F. Tom de Tomon. The building, made by the type of temples of Ancient Greece, was built in 1804 -1816. The attic of the facade is decorated with the sculptural group "Neptune with two rivers", and on the opposite side of the Stock Exchange building – the sculptural group "Navigation with Mercury and two rivers". Since 1940, the Central Naval Museum is located here – one of the oldest in St. Petersburg.
In 1826 - 1832, according to the project of the architect I.F. Lukini on both sides of the Stock Exchange building were built southern and northern warehouses – closed storage facilities. Now the Zoological Museum is located in the southern warehouse. Behind the northern exchange warehouse, symmetricallly to the building of the Kunstkammer (in relation to the ensemble of spit) there is a building of the Customs, built also by the architect IF. Lukini in the classical style. Since 1927 the Institute of Russian Literature – Pushkin House is located here. The ensemble of spit also includes the main building of the Academy of Sciences, which is located between the Kunstkammer and the building of the Twelve Colleges.
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