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The statues of two famous generals of the Napoleonic Campaign stand outside Kazan Cathedral. To the left – Marshall Kutuzov, and to the right Marshall Barklay de Tolly.
These statues of Kutuzov & Barclay de Tolly were erected to mark the 25th Anniversary of the rout of Napoleon's army. Solemn prayers and a gun salute marked the occasion. Kutuzov holds his Field-Marshall's baton in his left hand, but in the right a drawn sabre. The colours of the French Army are laid at the feet of both generals.
Kutuzov was born in St.Petersburg in 1745, to a military family. Despite noble birth, he entered the army as a private – it was rule of Peter the Great's that all noblemen must work their way through the ranks from the bottom. He was promoted under General Suvorov in the Turkish campaigns, from whom he learned the lesson for which he became famous – for always leading his men from the front line. It cost him dear – in the Crimean campaign a musket-ball took out his right eye, and medical orderlies expected him to die. After the war he went to Germany and England for treatment. However in 1787 he re-enlisted with Suvorov, only to be shot in the temple – he joked with the doctors that he'd already lost the eye, so there was no need to worry. His face remained permanently disfigured. In the Napoleonic campaign he clashed with Emperor Alexander I, who tried to direct the troops himself – he winced as Alexander led 25,000 men to their deaths at the Battle of Pratzen Ridge. However, by 1812 Kutuzov was the last experienced General available to lead the army against Napoleon's invasion – and the only General trusted by the men in the ranks. Alexander I hated him, and couldn't look upon his twisted face. Yet Kutuzov had the military ability to beat Napoleon, by allowing the French Army to get bogged in by the Russian Winter, for which it was utterly unequipped. Of the 700,000 men of Napoleon's Grande Armeé Du Nord, only 93,000 survived the disastrous retreat of 1812. While pursuing Napoleon’s retreating army through Germany in 1813 Kutuzov fell ill, and died at Bunzlau. It may be true that Suvorov's record was more glorious than Kutuzov's, but Kutuzov has a dearer place in Russian hearts – the man who saved Russia from Napoleon.
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.