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The end of the Spit is ornamented with a granite slope to the Neva and large stone balls resting on the pedestal. In the early C19th, stonemason Samson Sukhanov cut them by a rule of thumb without any measuring instruments!
Now, turn your back to the Neva river. Right in front of you, there’s a building of Stock Exchange, which looks like an ancient temple. From the pediment, the god of water and the sea Neptune himself greets every one going up its wide stairs. On both sides of the Stock Exchange, you can see two Rostral columns that used to serve as beacons. At the foot of the columns, there are allegorical statues of the Russian rivers. By the left column, the Volga and the Dnieper. By the right one, the Neva and the Volkhov.
The Neva river makes St.Petersburg look like no other city in the world. Here, the river reaches nearly 800 m in width. Please stand facing the river. The panoramic view is magnificent, isn’t it? On the opposite bank, you can see the front rank of St.Petersburg palaces. It’s headed by the turquoise Winter Palace. Then there’s a line of the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, the light green building of the Hermitage Theater… On your left, the spire of the Petropavlovsky (or St.Peter and St.Paul) Cathedral pierces the sky and the bastions of the Petropavlovskaya Fortress come to the fore by the river.
The Spit of Vasilievsky Island (called “Strelka” which means “arrow” in Russian) rightly claims to be the city center and its best observation deck. The best view to enjoy any events in the city, from laser shows to Formula 1 boat racing, is from here. Many citizens of St.Petersburg come to the Spit to celebrate the greatest moments of their lives. Traditionally, that is the place where newlyweds come to break a bottle of champagne against the quay wall as a token of a happy family voyage. When proms are held, high school graduates of St.Petersburg сome here to view a fantastic Scarlet Sails show.
Vasilievsky Island is a historical district in St. Petersburg, located in the delta of the Neva River. It is bordered by the Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva Rivers in the south and northeast, and by the Gulf of Finland in the west. Two of the most famous St. Petersburg bridges, Palace Bridge and Blagoveshchensky Bridge, connect it with the mainland to the south. Exchange Bridge and Tuchkov Bridge across the Malaya Neva connect it with Petrogradsky Island.
In 1715-25 Peter the Great planned this island to become a city center but those plans were not destined to be fulfilled. There are lots of legends connected with Vasilievsky Island and its buildings. For example, the name of the island Vasilievsky people usually associate with a certain man called Vassily or Basil. The legend says that was the name of one Peter’s foremost gunner officers and military engineers, Vassily Korchmin, who had his artillery battery to ward off the Swedish navy at the spit of the island and got the tsar's letters addressed "To Vassily in the Island".
During the tour you will hear some legends of the island and see all its landmarks. It is better to start the tour from the easternmost tip of the island, called Strelka (or the Spit, literally Arrow) which features a number of museums, including the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange as well as two Rostral columns. The Spit is a place popular for wedding processions and tourists. Nice postcard views on the city are open from here.
The edifices lining the Universitetskaya Embankment along the Bolshaya Neva include the Kunstkamera, The Palace of Peter II, the Twelve Colleges Building, the Menshikov Palace, the Imperial Academy of Sciences, and St. Andrew's Cathedral – all dating from the 18th century.
Museums, State University and the Imperial Academy of Sciences with library tell us the island has been for the recent centuries home to academic life. There is even the House of Academicians.
The island is a very romantic place with many cafes and restaurants, and panoramic views from the embankments. Just download the application “Your Audio Guide” (free) and the excursion. And walk as much as you want. Enjoy the unforgettable views of the northern capital.