Strelka of Vasilievsky Island
The arrow of Vasilievsky Island is one of the most beautiful architectural compositions of St. Petersburg. An example of a harmonious fusion of urban architecture with beautiful landscapes of the Neva.
After Peter I laid the Peter and Paul Fortress, he decided that the Northern Capital should be not only a sea fortress, but also an important shopping center of the entire Russian Empire. The Vasilievsky Island was chosen as the port, the water area of which allowed the reception of large vessels. And the place where the cape of the island divides the river into the Big and Small Neva was called the Arrow of Vasilyevsky Island. Peter I had plans to make a shopping center here. In accordance with this plan, the architect Domenico Trezini designed the area around which the exchanges, government agencies, and the living room were located.
In the 1720s, the Kunstkameri building began to be erected, as well as for the palace for Tsaritsa Praskovya Fedorovna, but the palace was soon given to the Academy of Sciences. The north side was given under the port and exchanges, port warehouses, and customs were located on it. But then there was a huge wasteland between the academy and shopping complexes, which began to be built only in 1783. According to the project of Giacomo, the Quarengi built the main building of the Academy of Sciences here, and already built a new exchange in 1805-1810, as the needs of the growing economy of Russia grew. The new building was built according to the style of Greek ancient temples, the entrance to which the columns of decorated sculptures of the sea deities were guarded. To harmoniously enter the Exchange building, artificially created a semicircular embankment that increased the island by 100 meters. This area is now called Birzheva. A granite embankment was made off the coast, and the slopes to the water were decorated with masks of lions and huge balls of granite. By the way, the Exchange building can be seen on a 50 ruble bill.
In the square near the Exchange there are two 32 meter columns that served as beacons. The columns were decorated with anchors, the bow of the ships, and at the base there are large sculptures representing the rivers – Volkhov, Volga, Neva and Dnieper. According to legend, in ancient Rome, after sea victorious battles, columns were placed and decorated with rosters ( a tip for a ram of enemy ships ). Just the columns of the lighthouse symbolize the power of Russia as a sea lords.