THE HISTORY OF STREET NAMES IN ST. PETERSBURG
Bolshaya and Malaya Morskaya Streets originate from the early 18th century. The name Morskaya (Marine) derives from the fact that both streets were located in the district where mainly sailors and dockyard workers from the Admiralty shipyard used to live.
Gorokhovaya Street – originally called Admiralteyskaya (Admiralty) Street – became first known under its present name in 1756, when merchant Gorokhov built a stone house here and opened a shop in it. Until mid 19th century, however, both names were used. Only on the city map of 1849 the name Admiralteyskaya was not mentioned any more.
Italyanskaya Street acquired its name in 1739. It derives from the name of the Italian Palace built in 1720s on the left bank of the Fontanka River to house assemblies – public meetings of St. Petersburg nobility.
Karavannaya Street was laid down in the first half of the 18th century as a road from the summer palace of Empress Elizabeth to Nevskiy Prospect. Since mid 18th century the street became known as Karavannaya after the Elephant Yard located nearby. The animal teamsters called their dwelling “karavan-saray” (caravansary).
Liteynyy Prospect takes its name from the Foundry (Liteynyy Dvor) which was located in this area in the 18th century.
Marsovo Pole (Field of Mars) was known in the 18th century as the Amusement Field (Poteshnoe Pole) because firework displays were held here, and also as the Tsarina’s Meadow (Tsaritsyn Lug), because it was used for popular celebrations and promenades. It acquired its present name in the early 19th century when it began to be used as a military parade and training ground.
In the course of two and a half centuries Millionnaya Street changed its name about 10 times. The final change to Millionnaya (adjective from “million”) occurred when the street was built up by richly decorated stone houses owned by wealthy people.
The name Nevskiy Prospect originates from the Alexander Nevskiy Monastery, which was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 on the spot where according to the legend Prince Alexander (later nicknamed Nevskiy) won a great victory over the Swedes in 1240.
Adjoining each other, Rastrelli and Proletariat Dictatorship Squares are better known to visitors as the Smolnyy ensemble. The name Smolnyy derives from the “Smolyanoy Dvor” (pitch yard) which was established here in the times of Peter the Great to boil and store pitch for the Russian navy. Later this name was given to Smolnyy Convent which is the main landmark of the area and the nearby Smolnyy Institute.
Sennaya (Hay) Square was laid down in the early 18th century. After the fire of 1736 on the Marine market near the Palace Square, a more distant unoccupied wooden plot to sell hay, straw and firewood was found in the direction of present Sadovaya Street.
Shpalernaya Street was laid down in the early 18th century and was originally called Pervaya (First) or Kamennaya (Stone) Line. In the mid 18th century the street was renamed into Voskresenskaya (Resurrection), because it was running towards the Smolnyy Resurrection Convent, which was then under construction. In 1859 Voskresenskaya Street was renamed into Shpalernaya (Tapestry) Street, to mark the fact that from 1730 till 1858 the famous tapestry manufactory was located here.
In the mid 19th century the present Tavricheskaya Street was called Sadovaya, after the Tavricheskiy Garden, running along it. Later, to eliminate duplicate names (Sadovaya Street already existed by then), the street was renamed into Tavricheskaya. The name originates from the Tavricheskiy (Tauride) Palace, which belonged to Prince Potyomkin, the conqueror of the Crimea (then known as Tauride).
Vladimirskiy Prospect was laid in 1740s as an extension of Liteynyy Prospect. Its present name originates from the Cathedral of the Vladimir Icon of the Holy Mother located at the end of the prospect.
Vosstaniya Square takes its name from the fact that it was the center of the February 1917 uprising against the tsarist government. Earlier the place was called Znamenskaya Square, after the early 19th century Church of Our Lady of the Sign (Znamenskaya Church) which was demolished in 1940.
Voznesenskiy Prospect received its present name in 1738, when a perspective road leading from the Admiralty fortress to Narva and Pskov was officially called Voznesenskiy (Ascension) Prospect, after the Ascension Church located nearby.
Zagorodnyy Prospect received its present name in 1740s, when according to the project planned by the Commission for the Building of St. Petersburg city dwellers were allowed to develop country houses along the bank of the Fontanka River (hence the name Zagorodnyy, which means “beyond the city”).
Zodchego Rossi Street designed by architect Carlo Rossi, acquired its present name in 1923. Of all the archictect’s creations, this street is the most perfectly proportioned – exactly as wide as the height of its buildings (22 meters) and ten times as long.