Vasilyevsky Island, the largest of St Petersburg’s islands, is one of the most picturesque areas of historic St Petersburg that features Old Stock Exchange, the Rostral Columns, Kunstkamera, Russian Academy of Science and many other historical buildings. The famous Spit of Vasilyevsky Island is one of city’s symbols – a beautiful ensemble of architectural forms on the shores of the Neva River.
- Region in Russia: Saint Petersburg
- Topic: Russian Architecture, Sightseeing
- Best Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
- Family & Kids: Yes
Vasilyevsky Island – a Picturesque Area of Historic St Petersburg
So, let’s start! Vasilyevsky Island, the largest of St Petersburg’s islands, is one of the most picturesque areas of historic St Petersburg. Originally planned by Peter the Great as the centre of the city, Vasilyevsky Island features several of St Petersburg’s greatest institutions. For example, among Vasilyevsky Island attractions are Old Stock Exchange, the Rostral Columns, St Petersburg State University, Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Russian Academy of Science and many more.
Another of Vasilyevsky Island attractions is the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. It is one of the symbols of St Petersburg and a beautiful ensemble of architectural forms on the shores of the Neva River. For sure, It is a place to enjoy a beautiful vista over the Winter Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress on set with their reflections in the Neva River.
Vasilyevsky Island attractions are numerous. All of them play an important part in the social, cultural and intellectual history of the city and the country on the whole. That’s why, Vasilyevsky Island is one of the highlights of St Petersburg and a must-see on a tour around the city. So, let us now find out a little more about Vasilyevsky Island attractions.
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Vasilyevsky Island Attractions – The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island
One of the most famous parts of St Petersburg that you will find in every tourist guide is the Strelka (or the Spit) of Vasilyevsky Island. It holds the TOP position among St Petersburg highlights and Vasilyevsky Island attractions.
Birzhevaya Square is a green square between the two red Rostral Columns. It is a place to enjoy a beautiful vista over the Winter Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Neva River.
The most of famous of Vasilyevsky Island attractions are the Rostral Columns in St Petersburg. They are located on Birzhevaya Square where once the main port of St Petersburg was located. Built in 1810 by Jean-Francois Thomas de Thomon, the towers are created in the style of Roman rostral columns – victory columns on which the prows or rostra of captured enemy ships were mounted. The figures at the base of the Rostral Columns represent four Russia’s major rivers – the Volga and the Dnieper at the Northern column, and the Neva with Volkhov at the southern one. The columns also feature figures of naiads, different sea creatures and anchors.
The Old Stock Exchange
The Old Stock Exchange is the main building in the architectural complex of the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. It is an elegant neoclassical building – a focal point of the Strelka (or the Spit). It holds an important location since it is right in from of the windows of the Winter Palace. The Old Stock Exchange was built in 1810 by Thomas de Thomon who took the inspiration from the Temple of Hera at Paestum. The façade features 44 Doric columns on a high red granite stylobare. On the main portico you’ll see the statue of Neptune with two rivers (the Neva and the Volkhov). Nowadays, the building hosts the Central Naval Museum. However, there are plans to transfer it back to its original purpose.
Vasilyevsky Island Attractions
Apart from the Spit or the Strelka, there are a lot of other major Vasilyevsky Island attractions. One of the first buildings to the left of the Spit is the famous Kunstkammer – the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.
The museum was founded in 1718 by Peter the Great himself who begun collection of curiosities – model ships, tools, astronomical instruments etc. It was the first museum in Russia, and one of the oldest in the world. During that time the visitors were invited cordially and served round with coffee. Because Peter believe that enthusiasts should be taught and entertained, instead of taking money from them. Today, the collection features around one million of artifacts and reflects the diversity of traditional cultures in the Old and New World.
Vasilyevsky Island in St Petersburg – Location Map & Contact Information
Vasilyevsky Island, Saint Petersburg,
How to get there – ARRIVAL INFORMATION
By metro: Vasileostrovskaya metro station (Line 3 or Green Line)
By foot from the Palace Square: cross the Dvortsoviy Bridge and you’ll find yourself almost on the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island