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The building now housing the “BookVoEd” bookshop, at Number 13, is famous for having been the home of the merchants Stepan and Grigory Chaplin.
The house was built in the first decade of the C19th by two legendary St.Petersburg businessmen, the brothers Grigory & Stepan Chaplin. Their fur shop was on the ground floor, while the brothers lived in two apartments above the shop, while renting the others out.
The house of the Chaplin Brothers is infamous for the incident of the Foursome Duel. The details make engrossing reading. One of the tenants in the apartments above the shop was Count Zavadovsky – a peculiar character with a reputation as a lady-killer. His passions were aroused by the prima ballerina Istomina – but the passionate beauty was entirely happy with her position as the mistress of Sheremetev, a Guards Officer. However, her happiness was shattered by Sheremetev's jealous character, which led to shocking public scenes of jealous fury. After one especially unpleasant encounter of this kind, the couple parted.
A few days after the ugly incident, the poet and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov invited the ballerina to meet his friend Count Zavadovsky, at the Count's apartments on Nevsky Prospect. The visit dragged on somewhat – Mme Istomina only returned home three days later. As soon as he heard of it, Scheremetev challenged Zavadovsky to a duel. As his Second, Scheremetev chose a young officer Yakubovich – while Zavadovsky asked Griboyedov to be his Second. During the explanation of the rules, the two Seconds broke into a furious dispute – resulting in a duel challenge between the Seconds also.
Scheremetev fired first – but missed. With the return shot Scheremetev was fatally wounded in the stomach. Due to the death, the second duel was postponed – and took place only a year later. The result was less fatal – Yakubovich only managed to hit Griboyedov's little finger.
Ten years later, Griboyedov was killed while serving as a diplomat in Tehran at the Russian legation – which was attacked by an angry mob of extremists. His body was so badly mutilated that it could only be identified by the wounded little finger.
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.