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Ahead of us we see the Anichkov Bridge, which crosses the Fontanka River. Hundreds of thousands of people cross the bridge every day – and here we see a famous sculptural ensemble of four horses, which have become an iconic symbol of St.Petersburg. One of the pedestals has the inscription “molded and cast by Peter Klodt, 1841”. The city's populace went wild with excitement when Klodt's horses were unveiled on the bridge. The newspapers wrote: “If there are better examples of such work, we don't know where they are”. The Tsar himself clapped Klodt jovially on the shoulder at the opening ceremony, saying “Well, Klodt - you're better at producing horses than a stud-farm!”
Life-size copies of Klodt's horses turned-out to come in very handy as diplomatic gifts. Two horse statues were sent to Berlin as a present for Prussian King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV – they were installed in front of the Royal Palace. A further pair were dispatched to Naples as a gift to King Vittore-Emmanuele II, and now stand outside the main doors of the Teatro San Carlo there.
Take a look at the horse sculptures – each of the four is different, and they represent the stages of taming a horse. In the first the horse is up on its hind legs, and the poor tamer has fallen to the ground. In the next the young man is already on his knees, trying to restrain the unwilling horse. The third horse is already subdued, and the young tamer stands next to it ready to hold its reins. Finally the fourth statue shows the horse willing to accept the bridle of the confident tamer.
We even have the names of the actual horses who served as Klodt's models for the bronze sculptures. One was named Serko – a long-time veteran horse with a calm nature, he'd often been in harness and posed happily. The other was named Amalad-Bek – a purebred Arabian stallion with a wild and fiery temper. However, in real life Klodt so successfully tamed this Amalad-Bek that he could put his own daughter safely in the saddle. His daughter could even persuade the stallion to rise up on his hind legs while she rode – so that her father could sketch the horse. It's worth mentioning that the Anichkov Bridge horses are right in the proper spot – adjacent on the Fontanka River were the stables of the Horse Guards Regiment.
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.