Streetlife

The world’s most iconic streets are more than just famous landmarks. Every issue we delve a little deeper into one of the globe’s most well-trodden by-ways.

This month:

Nevsky Prospect – St Petersburg,

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Nevsky Prospect – St Petersburg

St Petersburg’s arterial street has been attracting shopaholics since before the Napoleonic Wars, and is still the main focus of all things retail. Replete with haute couture clad ladies, bars thick with beautiful people and the most talked about restaurants in town, Nevsky Prospect gives new meaning to the phrase ‘see and be seen’.

Shopping

High fashion and even higher heels is what this shopping experience is all about. St Petersburg prides herself on attracting the best clothing retailers in the world to their capital high street, and visitors won’t be short of a designer label or two.

Eating

Nevsky Prospect delights in providing visitors with the very latest in Russian fashionable dining. Currently this includes a penchant for retro-themed food like mamma used to make, with restaurants stocking up on communist memorabilia and heavy dumplings. Similarly, the theme buffet is all the rage, and for a Russian salad spanning every kind of pickled fish and coleslaw variant, this is the place to eat.

History

St Petersburg was built as a deliberate anti-capital to Moscow, and with it the later feminine stylings of St Catherine The Great ensured a decadent and Rococo architecture to compliment the nation’s new wealth.

As part of the burgeoning city Nevsky Prospect became the main shopping street, replete with the latest shops and entertainments, and routinely crossed by the city’s arterial canal system. Today the street still acts as the European antidote to Soviet Moscow, complete with glittering stores and decadent nightlife.

Read All About It

Nevsky Prospect has been catalogued by novelists from Tolstoy to Dostoevsky, but this legendary St Petersburg street became the subject of an entire short story for Gogol.

“The moment you enter Nevsky Prospect, it already smells of nothing but festivity. Though you may have some sort of necessary, indispensible business, once you enter it, you are sure to forget all business. How clean-swept are its sidewalks, and, God, how many feet have left their traces on it! What a quick phantasmagoria is performed on it in the course of a single day! How many changes it undergoes in the course of a single day and night!”

The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, “Nevsky Prospect”, www.granta.co.uk

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