St. Petersburg is not only imperial palaces, world museums or front facades. There are unique and unusual places and objects in the Northern capital, a visit to which will allow you to feel the atmosphere of the city in a new way. Together with the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg, we made a selection of such little-known and interesting sights.
Vitebsky railway station (Zagorodny avenue, 52A)
Vitebsk railway station is unique in many ways. This is one of the rare stations that does not have a station square, and trains literally call “into the station”, because the platform is located on the second floor.
Vitebsky railway station in St. Petersburg. Photo: shutterstock.com
For its time (the beginning of the 20th century), the station building, built in the Art Nouveau style, was very modern. It was the first fully electrified station in Russia, and people even came here just to see how it all works. The station is also very interesting as an architectural object: there are practically no blank walls and ceilings in the building, there is a lot of light and “air” inside due to the large number of light windows and stained-glass windows.
Add to this luxurious chandeliers, beautiful railings and doors , a concert hall with a piano, a marble staircase, balconies and passages, as well as platforms with openwork metal ceilings and get a great atmospheric place for stylish photos.
Cinema connoisseurs will have a reason to remember and count all the films that were filmed in the interiors and on the platforms of the Vitebsk railway station: from “The Head of Chukotka” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” to “Secrets of the Investigation” and “Anna Karenina”.
Back to news »
Card Factory (110 Obukhovskoy Oborony Avenue)
You can't see the building of the old red brick card factory from the very avenue – it is hidden in the courtyard of a new residential complex. But it is clearly visible from the Neva.
The factory was built in 1819 on the territory of the Imperial Alexander Manufactory and before the revolution it was a monopolist in the production of playing cards throughout the Russian Empire. It was at this factory that the famous Russian Style deck was produced, which is still actively used. The Color Printing Plant has been working here since 1957.
Card factory. Photo: Vladimir Drozdin
Since 2019, the Nevskaya Zastava Museum has been organizing a walking challenge to the building of the former factory. Participants are offered to go through the route of the artist Vlasov and the technologist Panchenko, who worked in the winter of 1942 in besieged Leningrad on the creation of an anti-fascist deck of cards.
Since transport did not run in the city at that time, they had to get to the factory on foot. The length of the route is 32 kilometers: from Vasilievsky Island through Nevsky Prospekt and Obukhovskoy Oborona Prospekt to the factory, then along the Neva embankments to the Petrogradskaya Storona.
The edge of the “Petersburg geography”, which is far from being known to all the townspeople. The development of the island began from the very foundation of St. Petersburg. In the first half of the 18th century, batteries with ammunition depots were located here. Therefore, the island was called Battery. Kanonersky (gunner – gunner) he became later.
In Soviet times, an underwater tunnel was built on the Kanonerka, a residential microdistrict appeared on the island, part of which was then settled during the construction of the WHSD. But an interesting view opened up – the highway passes directly above the roofs of houses. The island has its own small beach and the main attraction is a sandy spit jutting out into the Gulf of Finland.
You can take a picturesque walk along the path between the canal and the bay. Along the way, there is a pier made of stones, dating back to tsarist times. You can admire beautiful views of the dam, Lakhta Center and the Gulf of Finland.
Kanonersky Island. Photo: Sergey Bogomyako
Nearby is the residential working quarter of the Putilov Plant – the historical quarter “Narvskaya Zastava” in the vicinity of Traktornaya Street near the metro station “Narvskaya”. This architectural monument of constructivism was built in 1925-1927 according to the project of architects Gegello, Nikolsky and Simonov for the workers of the Putilov factory. A little later, a similar quarter grew up in the neighborhood on the Serafimovsky site (the intersection of the current Trefoleva and Belousov streets with Stachek Avenue).
The area is unique not only in architecture, but also in the atmosphere. Here you don't feel like in St. Petersburg: low-rise buildings, lots of greenery, flower beds. Similar quarters can be found in the areas of the Yelizarovskaya and Udelnaya metro stations.
Datsan Gunzechoinei (91 Primorsky Avenue)
The oldest and northernmost Buddhist temple in Europe. Many have heard about it, but far from everyone has been there – the temple is located behind a high fence. It was opened in 1915, but did not last long: after the revolution, the monks left Petrograd, and then Buddhism, like all religions, was banned.
In the Soviet years, a base for athletes, a military radio station and a laboratory of the Institute of Zoology of the Academy of Sciences worked here. In 1990, the datsan was returned to believers. Now services, excursions, lectures about Buddhism are held here.
Datsan Gunzechoinei. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
There is a dining room where you can try Buryat cuisine. Be sure to take a look at the local landmark – stained glass windows designed by Nicholas Roerich, restored in 2017.
Gauswald Dacha (Stone Island, Bolshaya Alley, 12–14)
Stone Island is famous for its mansions. One of the most beautiful is considered to be the Gauswald dacha, built at the end of the 19th century in the Art Nouveau style for Evgenia Karlovna Gausvald, the wife of a wealthy St. Petersburg baker.
Dacha Gauswald. Photo: Natalia Kazakova
The appearance of this building is familiar to almost all Russians. It was the Gauswald dacha that “played the role” of Irene Adler's mansion in the Soviet film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. She can also be seen in the films Don Cesar de Bazan, Die Fledermaus, Maritza.
By the end of the 2000s, the wooden building fell into disrepair, and there were even proposals for demolition. As a result, the dacha was still preserved and restored.
The Bogoslovka Manor Ethnographic Park (Nevsky Forest Park)
These are real St. Petersburg Kizhis. Here you can see samples of ancient Russian wooden architecture.
Bogoslovka Manor – “Petersburg Kizhi”. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The pearl of the ensemble is the Church of the Intercession, a copy of the temple built in 1708, formerly located in the Vologda region. According to legend, the church was founded personally by Peter I.
Baka's House (Kirochnaya Street, 24)
One of the most unusual houses in St. Petersburg is located right in the center of the city. In the northern capital, there are many ancient buildings that are interesting from an architectural point of view, but this one stands out not only for its beautiful baroque facade, but also for its internal structure. The highlight of the building, built at the beginning of the 20th century, are three courtyards connected to each other, and two air galleries between the main building and the outbuilding.
Buck's house. Photo: Vladimir Drozdin
“The house is incomparable. At least for the sake of it, it is worth coming to St. Petersburg. Even a simple view from the street and courtyard is worth it to reach this place. If you're lucky, you can even walk along the glazed passage between the buildings and admire the beauty of the front door,” tourists say about Buck's house.
Museum of Applied Arts at the Stieglitz Academy (15 Salt Lane)
Everyone who is interested in architecture and design should definitely get into this treasury. Everything is interesting here: from the building itself and its unique interiors to the collection of applied art objects from different historical eras and countries, which was conceived as a “textbook” for students of the Central School of Technical Drawing. Samples of decorative and applied arts of Europe and Russia were designed to familiarize students with the best traditions of world culture.
Museum of Applied Arts at the Stieglitz Academy. Photo: ATOR
Once the exposition occupied all 32 halls, each of which was decorated in its own style: antiquity, Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic art, the Renaissance, Viennese, Flemish, French and Italian baroque.
< p>Now the tour passes only through part of the halls, because the current students of the Stieglitz Academy study in other rooms. The most difficult thing during the tour is to have time to see everything in this incredible place. And yes, don't forget to look up – the ceiling paintings here are simply magnificent.
Mosaic courtyard (4 Fontanka embankment)
The playground, benches, house foundations and even the curbs are decorated with colorful mosaics. This is an unusual story about how an ordinary Petersburg courtyard became the creative laboratory of the famous artist and founder of the Small Academy of Arts Vladimir Lubenko.
< /p> Mosaic courtyard. Photo: Vladimir Drozdin
Take some time to take a leisurely look at all the details in this amazing and positive place. Pupils and followers of Lubenko regularly restore, supplement and create new mosaic objects. Therefore, if you have a chance, come here again – you can see something new.
Saint-Germain Garden (46 Liteiny Avenue)
If you If you find yourself on Liteiny Prospekt, then be sure to look into the courtyard of house No. 46. This small St. Petersburg courtyard with a graceful fountain, flowers and a lattice replicating the fence of the Summer Garden is called “little Paris”.
Garden “Saint-Germain”. Photo: Vladimir Drozdin
The first owner of the house was Count Munnich, an associate of Peter I. Then both the yard and the house were rebuilt and overgrown with legends. Stories are alive that Fyodor Chaliapin performed in this courtyard, Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky read their poems, Viktor Tsoi and Boris Grebenshchikov sang. Here you can always find a free bench, relax in silence, read a book and watch what is happening.
“This is just a stunning place!” – tourists admire, and we completely agree with them.
You can learn more about tourist traditions, routes and cultural events in St. Petersburg on the official city tourism portal Visit-Petersburg.ru, on its official page VKontakte and Telegram channel. And also – in the special project #OpenYourPetersburg.