It recently dawned on me that it’s been over 10 years that I’m in love with Pink Floyd (obviously triggered by my reading of Nick Mason’s Inside Out) and suddenly some very first pictures I copied to our first very slow computer came to my mind. I searched for them on my laptop and found some
silly curious stuff I totally forgot about. This is indeed a very strange thing when you can somehow make those particular sensations re-emerge ten years later with the help of music and reading! And sure enough I recalled the – now defunct – DevotedToDavidGilmour.co.uk website which at the time gave me so much joy and relief in that I was not the only one crazy in love with a certain David Gilmour! You might say – and what does this teenage fan love have to do with the post on St Petersburg? Well, absolutely nothing 🙂 Just wanted to pay tribute to that time and to those people I found through Pink Floyd, especially you, my overseas Mexican guitar-star Paloma!
I could have told you a lot about my teenage love but let’s face it, I still love Pink Floyd 🙂 So we’d better turn to the other favourite of mine – the architectural discoveries of St Petersburg. I actually treated myself to this new walk in the center of the city, as I decided not to attend to a free excursion organized by the public library. Instead I walked along the Furshtatskaya and Kirochnaya Streets peeping into the cortyards where possible and also taking to the habit of raising my head more often. Both streets are a perfect example of what can be epitomized as ‘dvuliky Peterburg‘ or a two-faced St Petersburg.
Kirochnaya Street runs from Dom Ofitserov on Liteyny Avenue which I talked about recently. Its name derives from a Lutheran Annenkirche built in late 18th century (and turned into a cinema hall you-know-when). However, almost anything starting with Kiro… has to my ear a certain – and in this case fake – Soviet connotation (like the city of Kirov, for example) – this pseudo-etymology plays tricks with my mind in immediately attributing something Soviet to this otherwise innocent street. In fact it used to be called Saltikov-Shchedrin Street over the Soviet period, commemorating a 19th century writer whose books are on the “obligatory reading” list for schools. The street is just laden with various architectural styles, most of which are not in the perfect shape – both in the inner courts and on the front line. Would you believe this is in the full center of St Petersburg?!
… and next to this:
This eclectic-style monumental dokhodny dom (revenue house) stands out of the crowd, occupying two house numbers along Kirochnaya Street (1899-1900 by Pavel Syuzor). It’s green for starters and it has an enormous arch.
And the frontal view:
It’s richly decorated in the best traditions of the eclectic style. It’s one of those buildings when you take a photo and only later discover more details: your head just won’t keep that long propped up!
Always wanted to get inside… But now even the entrance to the interior cortyard (cour d’honneur) is blocked. This very helpful and informative source on St Petersburg architecture gives you lots of photos of the interior. And oh-oh, looking at the inside photos of this modernist building make me want to get in there at once!
Built by Boris Gershovich in 1904-1905, this house is easily spotted (as long as you pay attention to the facade rather than to the bulky signs on it) and if you’re a fan of modernist architecture, its door ‘roof’ will transport you to Paris 🙂 Oh, the curvy and rounded details! The exterior door was open but the second was was not so I did not see all the treasures hidden in there (including stained-glass windows and galleries). Just found out there was an excursion in this house todaaaaay and I missed it…
I guess this has been trod upon for more than a century:
I pretty much like the rustic masonry too:
And the grate:
And here just next to it is the other side of the city – what’s left from the – then super-innovative – 1936-1937 constructivism building:
And again – side by side to the Soviet addition is this mid-19th century PINK mansion built for Caesar Kavos:
Somewhere after that I turned into the depth of the first open cortyard (this is the golden rule of St Petersburg – and probably of many more cities – just follow the folk and enter anything that is open 🙂 and by winding my way through less parade-like typical St Petersburg yards…
…I ended up rejoining Furshtatskaya Street (see the very first picture) which actually runs parallel to Kirochnaya! This is a narrow early 19th century building by an unidentified architect redesigned in 1901 to become a modernist house. Again green and white and again – standing out of the crowd, though this time the size doesn’t matter!
Furshtatskaya Street bears its name thanks to the Preobrazhensky regiment which was housed there (renamed after a revolutionary during the Soviet times). It has a pedestrian alley right in the middle of it and is best known for two things – consulates and one of the oldest and the most beautiful civil registry halls in St Petersburg. In this eclectic-style late 19th century mansion my sister got married:
Ah yes. And this is how it looked inside on that day in June 2013 – or just a sneak peak into what an civil marriage ceremony involves in Russia – a beautiful couple, lots of guests throwing rose petals in the streets (this is how you can easily tell a civil registry hall from a plain building) and a pompous speech delivered
for the umpteenth time by a registrar which no one ever remembers .)
There’s much more to both of the streets – but I would bore you to death with the photos if I followed them house-by-house! Although for me they are far from being boring. Adding this to my St Petersburg series.
“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you…”
In apprehension of more Kaliningrad adventures.