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Take a look across to the other side of Nevsky prospect, to the tall corner building in grey granite, topped with a turret and ornamental glass cupola. Built in 1907 in the fashionable style moderne, it was the headquarters of the Singer Sewing-Machine Corporation in Russia. Today it houses the city's main bookshop – Dom Knigi, or House of Books.
The Singer Sewing-Machine Corporation saw the PR potential in building St.Petersburg's tallest building as its headquarters on Nevsky prospect. However, they failed to reckon on a strict local regulation determining that every building in the city had to be at least two metres shorter than the Winter Palace. But there was a get-out – the rule didn't apply to spires or turrets, and architect Pavel Syuzor put this workaround to good use in his design. The American clients were well-satisfied, and little wonder – it's impossible to walk past without casting a look up at the building.
Take a look at the decorative turret which crowns the Singer Building. The Bald Eagle at the base symbolises the United States. Above we see two seamstresses clasping a globe – a figurative symbol of Singer's success in distributing its sewing-machinery around the world.
However, not everything was as peaceful as it might seem. In WW1 the German Intelligence Services were using the Singer Corporation as a cover for their activities – their spies were working in the building under the guise of being “sales consultants”.
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.