ROUTE No. 3
SOUTHWEST OF ADMIRALTY AND KOLOMNA AREA: ALEXANDER GARDEN – KONNOGVARDEYSKIY BOULEVARD – TRUDA SQUARE – NIKOLAEVSKIY PALACE – THEATER SQUARE – MARIINSKIY THEATER – ST. PETERSBURG CONSERVATORY – CHORAL SYNAGOGUE – ST. NICHOLAS MARINE CATHEDRAL – SADOVAYA STREET – YUSUPOV GARDEN – SENNAYA SQUARE
The Alexander Garden  was laid down in 1872-1874, to the south and west of the main Admiralty building. It was officially opened on July 8, 1874 in the presence of Emperor Alexander II, who agreed to having the garden named after him. In 1876-1879 a fountain was installed in the center of the garden, opposite the entrance from Gorokhovaya Street. At the end of the 19th century, statues of great Russian cultural figures – the poets Vasiliy Zhukovsky  and Mikhail Lermontov, the writer Nikolay Gogol , the composer Mikhail Glinka and the traveler Nikolay Przhevalsky  – were installed. During the Siege of Leningrad not a single tree in the garden was cut down, although the city’s inhabitants were in desperate need of firewood. The garden was severely damaged by air-raids and shelling, but was again restored and opened to the public immediately after the Siege. Today the Alexander Garden remains a favorite spot for St. Petersburgers and tourists alike to go for a walk or just relax in the quiet corner in the center of St. Petersburg.
If you walk further on along Konnogvardeyskiy Boulevard, you will soon reach the Truda Square, dominated by the large Nikolaevskiy Palace , built originally for Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolaevich. The palace was erected in 1853-1861, and is the last major project of the architect Andrey Stakenshneider. There are three storeys, each decorated by rows of pilasters. From 1894-1917 the palace housed the Kseniya Institute, a school for daughters of the nobility, but since the revolution it has been used by the Leningrad Trade Unions and called the Palace of Labour. From this came the name of Truda (Labour) Square. The square was formerly known as Blagoveshchenskaya Square after the Church of the Annunciation, which occupied what is now its southern part and was demolished in 1929.
Kryukov Canal Embankment continues south from Truda Square as far as the Theater Square. From the mid of the 18th century what is now the Theater Square was the venue for public entertainment, with fairground booths, shows, swings, and round-abouts; hence its original name – the Carousel Square. It acquired its present appearance at the end of the 19th century. The Mariinskiy Theater  which dominates the square was designed in 1859-1860 by architect Albert Kavos, being named originally after Maria Aleksandrovna, wife of Alexander II. In honor of the Soviet politician Sergey Kirov the theater was renamed shortly after his murder in 1934, but after the fall of the Soviet Union the original name has been returned to the theater. From the very beginning the Mariinskiy Theater developed the traditions of Russian national art. All the great Russian operas and ballets were premiered here, and today, as in the past, the Mariinskiy Theater is renowned the world over.
Ever since the 19th century the building opposite the Mariinskiy Theater has been the home of St. Petersburg Conservatory , now called the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. One of its first graduates in 1865 was Pyotr Tchaikovsky, later to become one of the world’s greatest composers. Regular concert evenings are still held in the well known music school founded by Anton Rubinshtein in 1862. Flanking the conservatory building are statues of famous Russian composers Mikhail Glinka  (right) and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov  (left).
Not far from the Theater Square stands the Choral Synagogue, its corkscrew-ribbed cupola poking above the rooftops on the corner of Lermontovskiy Prospect and Dekabristov Street.
Glinka Street leads from the Theater Square to St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral  – a fine example of the late Russian baroque. The first church was built here in 1743. It was dedicated to St. Nicholas “the miracle maker”, patron saint of seafarers, being located in a district where mainly sailors and dockyard workers from the Admiralty used to live. As the area grew along with the new capital, the Empress Elizabeth commissioned architect Savva Chevakinsky to build a stone church. Construction of the church began in 1753, and the main altar was consecrated in 1760 in the name of St. Nicholas. The St. Nicholas “the miracle maker” icon is located in the lower church. The icon was given to the church by Greek sailors. St. Nicholas helped the poor, healed the sick and completed many wonders. But he is foremost considered as the rescuer of the dead in the sea, and protector of sailors. St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of a very few temples in the city that were not closed in the Soviet period.
Walking further on along Sadovaya Street you will soon reach the Yusupov Garden , laid down in the mid 18th century in Yusupov estate, between Fontanka River and Sadovaya Street. The garden was planned as a regular landscape park with a large pond in the center. In 1790s the Yusupov Palace was built according to Giacomo Quarenghi project in place of the wooden house situated on the bank of Fontanka River. The palace belonged to senator Yusupov, but in 1810 was sold to the state treasury and given to communications engineers. In 1837 the cast ornamented railing was placed along Sadovaya Street in place of the old wooden fence. In 1863 by the order of Alexander II part of the Yusupov Garden facing Sadovaya Street was given to the maintenance of St. Petersburg Municipal Public Department, and was turned into public garden. In summers the garden was open for strolls, and in winters it was used primarily as a skating rink. Nowadays the Yusupov Garden is one of the most popular green spots among the locals. It is a perfect place for ice skating, jogging, children’s play, Sunday walks, etc.
Continuing your trip along Sadovaya Street you soon reach the Sennaya Square. The area was known as Sennaya (Hay) Square from the 1730s, when a market was opened for the sale of livestock, oats and hay. In the 19th century the place around Sennaya Square was the setting of many novels by Dostoevsky, including his famous “Crime and Punishment”. Poor student Raskolnikov, the hero of this novel, liked to wander aimlessly around the lanes here, mixing with the “many different sorts of tradespeople and rag-and-bone men” who “crowded around the eating-houses in the lower storeys, in the dirty evil-smelling courtyards…and especially in the pubs”.