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The even-numbered side of the street has a yellow mansion with a six-columned portico. Petersburgers know it as the former residence of Grand-Princess Yusupova. Today it's the official address of the House of Actors.
Long before Yusupova, in 1869 this mansion was rented for use by the English Club – the first gentleman's club of its kind in Russia. Women were not admitted – not even amid the staff. Exceptions might be made for special occasions – such as the celebration lunch for a royal coronation. The club was legendary for its fine dinners and card games. Nikolai Nekrasov, a famous poet and reckless gambler, once won 10,000 roubles at cards here – while Alexander Abaza, who was Finance Minster of Russia at the time, gambled away a million francs. Sadly none of Nekrasov's published poetry ever gained him such a good win as he made at the card-tables that evening.
In 1877 the owner of the mansion became Grand-Prince Nikolai Yusupov, and they began to hold art exhibitions of the so-called “Wanderer” group of young artists – Surikov, Repin, Kramskoi, and Makovsky. It was here – at the 13th Exhibition, to be precise – that Repin first displayed his famous canvas “Ivan the Terrible, and his son Ivan”. There was such a public rush to see the outstanding painting that mounted police had to be called to control the crowds outside.
Grand-Prince Yusupov was not merely the richest man in Russia – he was a great lover of fine art, admired music, and played the violin well. Of course a decent fiddle helps – the Grand-Prince had an Amati, a Guarneri and a Stradivarius to choose from. Yet this fabulously wealthy man was equally well-known for his generosity. In the Crimean war he personally paid for the weaponry of two battalions of the artillery. In the Russo-Turkish War he donated a hospital train, which carried the wounded from the battlefields to hospitals in St.Petersburg. Yusupov's billions also provided funds to establish an institute for the deaf – alongside many other charitable acts of this kind.
Grand-Prince Yusupov's sole heir was his daughter, Zinaida – who inherited all of her father's best features. She was also reputed to be one of the most beautiful women in St.Petersburg. This house on Nevsky Prospect is only one of the three which were owned by Zinaida Yusupova.
St. Petersburg is known as Russian cultural capital. It is also called “Northern Palmira” or “Northern Venice” as it was founded on islands in the delta of the Neva River and has a lot of architectural masterpieces.
Nevsky Prospect is the main avenue and one of the best-known streets in Russia. It is a real treasury of Russian culture. The street was planned by Peter the Great as beginning of the road to Novgorod and Moscow. It goes through the historical center of the city, firstly - from the Admiralty to the Moscow Railway Station and then, after making a turn at Vosstaniya Square, to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
Life on Nevsky Prospect has always been the object of attention of writers. For example, it was described by Nikolai Gogol in his story "Nevsky Prospect". Fyodor Dostoevsky often employed the Prospect as a setting within his works, such as Crime and Punishment and The Double: A Petersburg Poem.
It is best to start your walk from famous Palace Square where you can visit one of the most prominent world museums – the Hermitage. In the center of the square you will see the Alexander Column, a very popular among tourists place. With Your Audio Guide you will listen to the history of the square and all its attractions (The New Hermitage, The Winter Palace, the Alexander Column and The General Staff Building).
During the tour you will walk through the Alexander Gardens, past the Admiralty, see a lot of historical houses – real architectural “pearls” - Wawelberg's Mansion Apartments, The Sivers-Treiberg House, The Chaplin Brothers House, Chicherin's House, etc. The chief sights of the Prospect include palaces, churches and cathedrals, shopping centers and department stores. Among palaces are the Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace, the Anichkov Palace, The Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, Grand-Princess Yusopova's Residence and the Mikhailovsky, or Michael Palace.
Nevsky Prospect deserves the name "the street of religious tolerance". Religious buildings are presented by the huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral, the picturesque Russian-style Cathedral of Our Savior on Spilt Blood – a place where terrorists exploded the Emperor Alexander II, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, St.Catherine's Cathedral - the oldest Catholic Church in Russia, and The Armenian Church.
Nevsky Prospect is also the city’s central shopping street and the hub of the city’s entertainment and nightlife. For that You can visit the Art Nouveau Bookhouse,Elisseeff Emporium, half a dozen 18th-century churches, , an enormous 18th-century shopping mall “Gostinny Dvor”, a mid-19th-century department store “The Passage” and The Alexandrinsky Theatre, in the yard of which a monument to Catherine the Great is standing.
Your audio guide is glad to present you a wide audio tour of the Nevsky Prospeсt with map and descriptions. With this map, you will never get lost and you will always know what surprise awaits you ahead.