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The continuous one-storey building is stretching along the even-numbered side of the street. This complex of buildings bears the name of the Salt City. It occupies quite big territory and faces the embankment of the Fontanka River.
During Peter the Great, this place had Particular shipyards, where they built small private vessels. The demand in them was high – in Petersburg standing in the estuary of Neva River, there was a lack of bridges definitely. Moreover, Peter was obsessed with the idea to teach sailing Petersburgers, and even the whole Russia. On Sundays he arranged mandatory river regattas. By cannon signal from a tower of the Petropavlovsk Fortress, all famous folks were rushing to the berth at Troitsky Bridge over Neva River. One who oared, but not sailed, paid a big fine for each oar.
During Catherine the Great the shipyards were transferred to another part of the city, and, instead of them, they built salterns. The salt was always a property of Tsar or government, and was important product for the state budget. Its production, storage and sales were under strict government supervision carried out by a special Salt Office at all times. The office was located here in the Salt City as well. An excise tax for salt had existed in Russia until 1880. When it was abolished, the Salt City was not necessary any more. In memory of the past, it kept only its name.
Afterwards, the buildings of the Salt City were reconstructed. They were used as exhibition premises, and former storehouses turned out to be a unique centre of Petersburg’s cultural life.
During the centuries of Empire St. Petersburg was a grand city with ceremonial buildings, rich and pompous palaces. Even today St. Petersburg can boast a huge number of palaces, including some of the grandest residences not just in Russia, but in the whole of Europe.
Our audio guide will take you to the most famous palaces and Grand residences of St. Petersburg. We can start with the Tauride Palace and Garden, one of the largest and most historic complexes in Russia. This palace was designed for Grigory Potemkin in a rigorous Palladian style. In the 19th century, the palace was transformed into a residence for minor royalty. It had been used to host balls and exhibitions until 1906, when it was given as a seat of the first Russian parliament, the Imperial State Duma.
You will also hear the history of the Winter Palace, the most prominent palace in Russia. The Winter Palace not only physically dominates Palace Square and the south embankment of the Neva River, but also plays a central political, symbolic, and cultural role in the three-century history of the city. It was declared part of the State Hermitage Museum on 17 October 1917. Now the Winter Palace, the Hermitage and all historical landmarks of St. Petersburg are enlisted by the UNESCO.
Another famous building is Anichkov Palace located next to Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka River. It’s one of the oldest buildings on Nevsky Prospect commissioned by Empress Elizabeth in 1741. When the palace was completed she presented it to Aleksey Razumovsky, her favourite and unofficial spouse.
Mariinsky Palace, the last neoclassical imperial palace to be constructed in Saint Petersburg, was built between 1839 and 1844 by the court architect Andrei Stackensneider. The palace stands on the south side of St Isaac's Square, just across the 99-metre-wide Blue Bridge from Saint Isaac's Cathedral. The palace was conceived by Emperor Nicholas I as a wedding present to his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna.
During the tour you will also see the houses and mansions of famous court and military people: The House of Saltykov, The Marble Palace, The Vladimir Palace, The Mikhailovsky Castle, The Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace, The House of Gagarin, etc. Each building has its own history sometimes dramatic.
Take a walk in the Summer Garden. It was founded in 1704 by order of Peter the Great, who was personally involved in planning it, and is laid out according to strict geometrical principles. The Summer Garden is home to marble statues acquired from Europe especially for Russia's new capital, and also to rare flowers and plants, as well as fountains.
The Field of Mars, not far from the Summer Garden, has a long and varied history dating back to the very beginning of the city's history. You will listen to it while walking. To your attention will also be the stories and legends of The First Engineer Bridge, The Salt City, The Building of Senate and Synod, The Isakievsky Cathedral, The Petropavlovsk Fortress.
With audio visual materials you will also get a map that won’t let you lose your way.