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Not long after the 1917 October Revolution, offices within the former General Staff Building were occupied by the so-called Emergency Commission – the henchmen of the new USSR. Chairman of the Commission was Moses Uritsky, one of the instigators of the “Red Terror”. Under Uritsky's command the premises quickly became notorious as a ghastly torture-chamber. Their job in post-revolutionary Petersburg was to crush any remaining opposition, and to shoot Tsarist-loyal military officers, the nobility and the clergy. On one notorious day Uritsky signed more than twenty Death Warrants. On his special orders the men were put on a barge in the Gulf of Finland, which was scuttled while they were chained aboard. The men had all been naval officers who had expressed dissatisfaction with Communist rule.
A young man called at the entrance of the General Staff Building at 10am on 30th August 1918, asking if it was possible to see Uritsky. After being told no, he went to one of the windows looking onto Palace Square and bade his time. Half an hour later, Uritsky's car pulled up. The Chairman of the Emergency Commission approached the entrance of his offices when the young man moved towards him. After the sound of a shot, Uritsky fell dead on the spot. Throwing the gun to one side, the young man jumped onto the bike he'd arrived on, and pedaled furiously away across the Square. Realising he was being hotly pursued, he threw the bike aside and ran inside No 17 Millionaya Street, trying to hide there. Running up to the second floor he found an open door, and stole an overcoat in the hope of going unnoticed in the new clothes. However, this childish attempt at a disguise failed to save him.
The young assassin was recognised as soon as he entered the street, and arrested instantly. He turned out to be a young poet named Leonid Kannegiser – a pleasant young man from a well-to-do Petersburg family. Apparently he'd acted without accomplices. During his interrogation he said he had acted entirely on his own convictions, intent on avenging the murder of the officers in the barge – one of whom had been his friend. As might readily be imagined, Kannegiser was tried and shot. The ferocity of the “Red Terror” increased – the city was almost dripping in blood in those days. By way of revenge for their boss's murder, the Emergency Committee murdered several hundred 'non-working-class' hostages.
Uritsky was made a soviet martyr. He was buried on the Fields Of Mars, while Palace Square was renamed Uritsky Square, and the Winter Palace retitled Uritsky Palace. However, local citizens refused to use these hated titles – but the square was only renamed back to Palace Square in 1944.
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.