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The basis of Petersburg

On May, 1st, 1703 Russian armies during operations of Northern war have taken the Swedish fortress Nienschanz (at a confluence of Neva the rivers of Okhta). The Military council led by Peter I has solved, that this fortress for the further strengthening does not approach(suit): the Nienschanz "is not much strong from a nature" as tsar spoke. Besides the Nienschanz was far enough from the sea, and Swedes still had opportunity to become stronger on one of islands of delta of Neva. Russian then all the same would appear cut off from the sea. Independently having surveyed islands of delta, Peter has found that is necessary: the Harel island located at a branching of Neva on two sleeves, near to the sea. From different directions the island was washed by water that would become a natural barrier in case of its storm. From island it was possible to hold the enemy ships under a sight, whence they have entered into Neva.

On May, 16th (27), 1703, in day Over the Trinity, on island have put in pawn a fortress. This day is considered day of the basis of St.-Petersburg. But the fortress has received the name only on June, 29th when, in Peters day, here have put in pawn Sacred Peter and Paul's church. Peter has named a new fortress "Saint-Piterburg", the same name has received and city arising around of the Harel island. Apostle Peter, under the Christian legend, was the keeper of keys from paradise, and it too seemed to Russian tsar symbolical: the city carrying a name of its heavenly patron, should become a key from Baltic sea. Only several years later a fortress began to name Peter and Paul - under the name of its main cathedral.

The plan of the future fortress was drawn by Peter. It was necessary to build strengthenings very quickly to be in time for short summer. And it is valid, to autumn of 1703 the fortress has been in rough finished". In the first years of its wall for acceleration filled from the ground, erection of stone strengthenings has begun in three years - in 1706. At once after a bookmark of a fortress on coast of Neva for three days the wooden house for Peter has been cut down. Tsar has wanted, that its new dwelling resembled the Dutch constructions which have grown fond to it, therefore walls of the wooden house have painted with an oil paint under a brick. Peter lived in this house not for long and only in the summer, but in memory of the founder of Petersburg Peter's small house is kept about one today. The new city has started to grow near to a fortress on the next Birch island, this island even began to name City (now it is the Petrogradskaya part). In November, 1703 the first temple of city - in memory that the fortress has been incorporated in day of the Sacred Trinity here has opened, it too have named Troitsky. Reconstructed in some years in a stone, Troitsky the cathedral some time was the main temple of capital. Here in 1721 Peter I has accepted a title of emperor.

The area on which there was a cathedral, has received name Troitskaya too. It opened to Neva, have here again arranged the first city quay to which moored, the ships were loaded and unloaded. On the area have been constructed the first Gostiny court yard, the first Petersburg tavern "Austery four frigates". The Drawbridge connected City island with next Harel where there was a fortress. City constructions have appeared and on opposite I protect Neva, under covering of the Admiralty fortress - shipyards. Construction and on island Vasilevskom has begun, which Peter planned to make city centre. Per 1712 in Saint-Petersburg from Moscow has moved an imperial court yard, it is considered to be, what exactly since this moment the capital of Russia has moved on coast of Neva. But in September, 1704 Peter wrote to Menshikov, that it goes to "capital Piterburkh".


Construction of Admiralty

In November, 1704 on left I protect Neva opposite to island Vasilevskogo the bookmark of ship-building shipyard took place. For it Peter I has chosen a place itself, preliminary having surveyed coast of the Neva delta. Necessity to construct shipyard near to gulf of Finland was obvious for tsar: before Russian fighting ships were constructed in Lodeynoe the Field, and then they needed to be resulted to Petersburg through rough Ladoga and across Neva. Not all the ships reached capital because of storm, and even that arrived to Petersburg, often demanded repair. But the new shipyard, on Peter's plan, should was become not simply a place where built the fighting ships. Under the order of tsar on coast of Neva the shipyard - a fortress was under construction. About the significant moment of a bookmark of new shipyard Peter's record was kept: "Have put in pawn the Admiralty house both were in Ostery and had fun, length 2000 ft., width 1000 ft.".

The foreground of shipyard belonged to the tsar, and Peter constantly was well informed about all details of construction. The Admiralty constructions should appear, as the wide letter "П", directed to Neva. Simultaneously with the main thing a building - "the Admiralty house" - constructed workshops, ellings, barns, drawbridges, a gate. Construction of the ships has almost simultaneously begun also: the first vessels have been incorporated too in November, 1704. By November, 1705 on serf bastions of Admiralty have established(installed) about 100 guns, drawbridges, a gate have been constructed. Construction of shipyard went difficultly. Thousand workers in heavy conditions, being ill and dying, worked here from a dawn up to is dark. The big flooding of 1705 has interrupted works and has caused a new fortress huge damage. But, despite of all difficulties in April, 1706 on water the first vessel - the 18-cannon ship which design is attributed to Peter has been lowered. On coast of Neva there was a shipyard - a fortress constructed duly of fortification of that time.

Tsar not only took part in development of designs of courts, but also itself worked on shipyard: he was registered on the main master. Even much later, when tsar has ceased "to serve" in Admiralty, he every day tried to come there. In 1707 the first program of construction of the ships of the Baltic fleet has been accepted. According to it on Baltic it was supposed to have 5 ships with 80 cannons, 12 ships with 70 cannons, 12 - 50-cannon ranks, 6 - 32-cannons frigates, 6 - 18-cannon Shnaves. By 1712 the first large ship - 54-cannon ship "Poltava" has been constructed. Release of each ship was celebrated as the big holiday, and the master built it(him), received from hands of tsar on a silver dish on 3 silver roubles for each cannon.

In 1719 the Admiralty shipyard began to expand, and construction have decided to conduct from a stone. Then there was in the center of the main building a spike with a ship above, become subsequently one of symbols of Petersburg. It has turned out so, that in the fighting purposes the Admiralty shipyard - the fortress was never used, and after conclusion of the Neshtadtsky peace it has lost any defensive value. By the end of reign of Peter Admiraltejstvo was the largest ship-building enterprise of Petersburg. Besides its(his) tower began to play a role of the architectural center of young capital: from here to Alexandro-Nevsky monastery the road which has become subsequently by the Neva prospectus has been cut through.


Construction of the first constant bridge through Neva

It is known, that during Peter time there was no any buildyng of bridges through Neva, in fact the river was so important navigable artery, that any bridge would become an obstacle for passage of vessels. In the summer on Neva ferries worked, and in the winter the river passed and moved on an ice. There was even a whole opening ceremony of seasonal ferries after an ice drift in the summer and frozing in the winter: drumbeat also three gun shots from a fortress, and then Peter if was during this moment in Petersburg, was forwarded the first. However every year the reliable continuous communication between coast of Neva, especially between its(her) Admiralty part and island Vasilevskim, was required more and more. The technics of that time did not give an opportunity to construct such bridge which would not prevent to pass across Neva to enough greater ships. Besides also Neva - very difficult river: It has fast current, and the powerful spring ice drift could damage support of the bridge, and the river bed consists from weak ground, and its depth in some places was 15-20 meters. Therefore to the first concerning a constant ferry through Neva became pantoon bridge.

pontoon bridges were under construction in Russia and earlier. As floating support for them barges, scows (not self-propelled cargo vessels), pontoons, boats on which put bridge spans served. For stability of support anchors or the delays fixed on coast were used. In case of need such bridge quickly enough understood, it was possible "to move apart" also any part of the bridge for passage of vessels that was especially important for Petersburg. For service of the bridge the constant command(team) from 20 - 30 person was necessary.

The first pontoon bridge has been induced in 1727, it has connected island Vasilevsky and the Admiralty part of Petersburg. The bridge have named Isakievsky because was opposite to church Isaakiya Dalmatskogo (at a present square of Decembrists). The bridge has constructed by bombardier - lieutenant Phillip Palchikov. However this bridge staid only one summer, by the winter it have disassembled and in following year to direct did not become. Only in five years, in 1732, it was again entrusted to Palchikov to build without "any delay" on a former place new pontoon Isakievsky bridge. To accelerate the building, tsar have disposed even to use private barks. The bridge has been built quickly enough, but there were, that the support made from merchant barks, are very unreliable, and already in following year the bridge has been destroyed by a whole gale.

In 1733 the ship master of Nightingales has constructed on the same place new pontoon bridge. For it have made special reliable scows. This bridge also became a reliable ferry through Neva for many decades. In the autumn it assorted, and in the spring, after an ice drift, again directed. After 1779 the bridge began to direct and in the winter, for this purpose in an ice cut through the channel to establish scows and though it was labour-consuming and it is inconvenient, with all difficulties it was necessary to be reconciled, that also to have a reliable ferry in the winter. As care of the bridge demanded greater means, for pass and travel on it took a payment: from the passer-by - on one copeck, from a horse - on two copecks, from the owner of the carriage - on five copecks. Only in 1754 empress Elizabeth has cancelled a payment of "bridge money". Reliability of the bridge constantly checked, improved its design. In 20th years of 19 centuries when reconstructed the Senatorial area, have reconstructed also the bridge. It became more reliable and beautiful, special coastal foundations with descents, have been constructed. The width of the bridge at this time was 18 meters. The special design for the passing of vessels has been stipulated also. The bridge shined kerosene lanterns.

In 1850 have finished construction of the constant metal Nikolaev bridge (on a place of the present bridge of Lieutenant Schmidt), pantoon bridge have moved above across Neva, to the Arrow of island Vasilevskogo and have renamed in Palace. However, when in 1912 have started to construct the metal Palace bridge, pontoon bridge has returned on a former place and again became Isaakievsky. In such kind it has existed four more years. And in 1916 there was a tragedy. Isaakievsky the bridge which was still shined with kerosene lanterns, had a stock of kerosene in one of scows. In the hot afternoon on June, 11th, 1916 from a spark of a passing steamship the tank with kerosene has lighted up, and the flame has quickly captured all bridge. The arrived firemen could not extinguish it. Pieces of the burning bridge have floated downwards, to the Nikolaev bridge and there still long burnt down. To restore the bridge did not become.

So the history of the first Petersburg bridge through Neva has ended. If we today shall closely look from island Vasilevskogo at opposite coast of Neva, there, where there is a well-known Copper horseman we shall see old stone foundations pontoon Isakyvsky bridge.


The basis of the Hermitage

Habitual for us the word "Hermitage" occurs from French "ermitage", that means "the place of a solitude", "a hut of the eremite". So named small pavilions in distant places of magnificent parks to which their owners could retire for rest or dialogue. Such constructions became extremely fashionable in the Europe in 17 18 centuries.

The first Hermitage in Russia has been constructed under Peter's I order in his Bottom park of Peterhof on coast of gulf of Finland. The Peterhof Hermitage has been surrounded by channels with water, through one of them have thrown a drawbridge, therefore in case of need the Hermitage could remain as though on island. Here under Peter's order it has been arranged, as then spoke, "invention" - the elevating table served on a ground floor. Then by means of the special device the table rose on the second, smart floor. Thus, if the owner wished to have a conversation with someone without witnesses, privacy of this conversation was provided completely.

The Hermitage became one of the picture galleries first in Russia: walls of the second, smart, a floor have been decorated by the cloths of the European masters got in the Europe. The unique pavilion of the Bottom park of Peterhof became the sample for other constructions of the same type which appeared during only 18 centuries. One them them - the Hermitage which has not reached us in park of a wooden Summer palace of Elizabeth Petrovny, constructed, as well as a palace, great Rastrelly. When in 1797 Paul I has ordered to build on a place of the Summer palace the Michailovsky the lock, the Hermitage have disassembled together with a palace. One more Hermitage Rastrelli has constructed in Tsarskoe Selo. From magnificent Ekatirininsky palace to this pavilion it was possible to pass on direct avenue. Much in common was and in their registration: the same rich decorative furnish, the same combination of azure, white and gold colors shining internally furniture. The Hermitages were under construction and in other places: On Stone island in possession of chancellor Bestuzhev - Ryumin, in situated near Moscow manor Sheremetevykh Kuskovo. The Hermitage have named also the small building constructed near to the Winter palace under the project of architect Z.B.Valen - Delamot for Ekaterina II. Empress suited here informal receptions. In two galleries of this building which began to refer to subsequently as the Small Hermitage, have placed the art collections got under the order of empress. This small firstly art gallery became a basis of the future largest museum which all over the world name the Hermitage.

It is considered to be date of the basis of the Hermitage 1764 when in the Winter palace have delivered 225 pictures got at Berlin businessman Gotskovskogo. This collection included works of the Dutch and Flemish artists. Gotskovsky had a collection for Prussian king Fridrikha II, however, being in a difficult financial position after heavy war, could not pay purchase of pictures. The businessman had a debt to Russian treasury, and has been forced to extinguish it, having transmitted Russia the collection. For Ekaterina this purchase became also demonstrative political step: it showed all Europe, that the Russian treasury does not test material problems (though actually it was not absolutely so), and that Russian empress remains true to the ideas of Education popular in the Europe. Continuing begun, Ekaterina has given the instruction to the representatives in the Europe to buy for it all the best works of art which will expose on auctions. For years of her reign have got some more fine collections of painting, and also an engraving, a sculpture, carved stones, coins, medals, Gobelin tapestries, jewels.

In the beginning collections placed all in halls of the Winter palace, but became fast places there a little, and Ekaterina orders to construct a special room for the art values. With this purpose the Small Hermitage also has been built. However, all treasures only visitors of empress in the beginning could see, and she wrote about the riches placed in empty halls: "only mice and me admire All". Actually the most part modern Hermitage collections of the French, Dutch, Flemish painting of 17-18 centuries has been got in days of Ekaterina II. In total by the end of her reign it has been purchased about 4 thousand pictures.

In 1787 for growing assembly of art values under Y.Feltena's project have constructed one more building which subsequently began to name the Old Hermitage. Almost simultaneously architect D.Kvarengi conducted construction of Hermitage theatre which is on other I protect the Winter flute, on a place where once there was Peter's I Winter palace. In 19 century of a collection of the Hermitage continued to grow, and in 1851 construction of one more Hermitage buildings under L.Klentse's project has been finished, it began to name the New Hermitage. The facade of this building leaves on Million street, and all over the world the New Hermitage know on grandiose figures of titans works of sculptor A.I.Terebeneva which maintain a portico above an entrance. In a building of the New Hermitage in February, 1852 the public museum has opened. For it from collections of imperial family have selected pictures, a sculpture, products from a stone, subjects of an ancient art. Opening of the Imperial museum has noted been by a greater holiday and a magnificent supper on 600 persons. But access to a museum to the first years has been extremely limited: for this purpose it was necessary to receive special invitation cards which gave out in Court office of the Imperial court yard, the entrance was resolved only to the persons dressed in dress coats and uniforms. All inscriptions in a museum have been made in French. Only in 60th years of 19 centuries the entrance in a museum became more free, and the number of its visitors began to increase every year.

For 200 with superfluous years the Hermitage became the largest art both a museum of Russia and one of the most significant in the world - the amount of its exhibits comes nearer to three millions, the exposition of a museum is placed in more than 350 halls. In 1981 branch of the Hermitage became Menshikovsky the palace, in some years in conducting a museum have transmitted a part of premises of a building of the General staff.


Flooding of 1824

The strongest flooding for all history Saint-Petersburg has occured on November, 7th (on November, 22nd on new style) 1824. This day the maximum level of rising of water has reached 410 sm above a normal level. Already on the eve - on November, 6th - from a gulf of barrels a strong wind. By the evening weather became even worse, and water has started to arrive. The true storm at night was played. In the early morning on the Admiralty tower turn on the alarm lanterns warning city dwellers about threat of flooding. Eyewitnesses recollect, that careless petersburgers, having woken up, and having seen the water which has risen in channels, have hastened to admire coast of Neva elements. But even then, when inhabitants of the Admiralty part of city yet did not expect big misfortune, the low places which are being on coast of gulf of Finland, have been already flooded. In some hours Neva, and also other rivers and channels, have overflown banks even there where there were high quays. All city, except for Foundry and Christmas parts, has been filled in by water almost in growth of the person. People were rescueed from stormed elements as could. Low wooden houses which simply took down a pressure of water especially suffered. Someone rose on a roof, on high bridges, someone floated on a gate, logs, having grasped for manes of horses. Many, having rushed to save the goods in cellars, perished.

About two one o'clock in the afternoon on the Neva prospectus on the big boat there was a general-governor of Petersburg of columns of M. Miloradovich, trying to encourage inhabitants and to render them though any help. One more eyewitness of flooding has left about it(him) such memoirs: "this Show to describe it is impossible. The winter palace stood, as a rock, among the rough sea, maintaining from different directions an impact of waves, with a roar broken about its strong walls and irrigated with their sparks almost up to the top floor; on Neva water boiled, as in a boiler, and with extreme force has turned back a watercourse; two heavy scows have sat down on a granite parapet against the Summer garden, barks and other vessels were carried, as chips, upwards on the river… On the area against a palace - other picture: under the sky, almost black, dark greenish water span, as in huge whirlpool; by air. The wide sheets of iron broken from a roof of a new structure of the General staff rushed, the storm played them, as down … "

To three one o'clock in the afternoon water has started to decrease, and by night of street were absolutely cleared of water. Exact number of victims of flooding to count up it was difficult, figures named different: from 400 up to 4 thousand person. The material damage was estimated(appreciated) by many millions roubles. The happened accident again has forced to reflect on necessity to protect Petersburg from rising of water. There were various projects: one assumed transformation of the Neva lip into artificial lake which would be separated from gulf of Finland by a dam with apertures for pass of vessels. According to another in a mouth of Neva creation of protective constructions was provided. But any of projects has not been carried out. Development of a science has allowed to define the reason of sudden Neva flooding more precisely. Already nobody discussed seriously a hypothesis that rising of water is caused by its inflow from Ladoga lake. The data saved up for many years have allowed to draw a conclusion that the true reason of flooding - in a wave formed in gulf of Finland. In a wide gulf this wave is imperceptible, but as the gulf is narrowed to a place of a confluence of Neva, the wave becomes all above. If to it the strong wind from a gulf water rises up to a critical level is added, and in such cases Neva leaves the coast. After flooding 1824 the city has gone through still much greater rising of water, however the level of 1824 and has remained record.

The Petersburg flooding of steel even the original phenomenon of Russian culture. About them, especially just about flooding 1824, wrote M.YU.Lermontov, Ampere-second. Griboedov, A.I.Odoevsky. But first of all, speaking about flooding in Petersburg, we recollect, certainly, a poem Ampere-second. Pushkin "the Copper horseman". Pushkin's this poem, certainly, became one their tops of its all creativity, and thus it is curious to pay attention to that, how much precisely the poet has described all the circumstances accompanying the big rising of water.


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