There are lots of places in St Petersburg where you feel somewhat… weird. I will share with you one of these “unreal places” in St Petersburg which can be found very close to the famous Letny Sad or Summer Garden.
The Summer Garden has been recently revamped – actually, reconstructed in its earlier, original, state with several new-old fountains and vases and the overall scheme very different from what we were used to.
But it seems its glamorized appearance doesn’t appeal that much to those of us who loved it in its previous state, however overgrown and dark it was in some places. Anyway, most of the freshly arriving tourists are ignorant of the changes and so have nothing else to do but to enjoy the walk in the park, thankfully free of charge (they wanted to make everybody pay to enter).
The railing of Summer Garden was especially … special to poet Anna Akhmatova who considered it the best in the world. Behind it is the Neva river, the Birthplace (housing St Peter and Paul’s Fortress), the Nurse (frozen Neva served as a Way of Life during the Siege) and at the same time the Death Menace of the city, with its horrible floods which haunted St Petersburg before the dam was built. And it still can ruin the city – it’s not just for fun that St Petersburg is nicknamed Northern Venice!
And right there, behind the railing on the Neva embankment is this place which makes you wonder whether you’re still in the 21st century or… rather in the 18th! You just have to get there, there’s no way this post can render the sensation one gets when stopping for a moment and suddenly feeling the authenticity and even the out-of-this-world-ness of the place:
This is Prachechny Bridge, the Laundry Bridge :), called so because there was a court’s laundry nearby. It’s one of the city’s first stone bridges, constructed in the 1760s, with the characteristic ‘hump’.
With the passing of the years, the bridge got somehow deformed and had to be reinforced from underneath. But all in all it remains as it was back in the 18th century. And if you’re lucky to drive across the bridge when it’s traffic-free, you can feel that ‘jump’ your car makes on its hump. Walking across the bridge is even better – with this original stone pavement and the curve it makes, this is the place to actually feel the city with your feet! 🙂
By the way, Peter the Great wouldn’t let people enter his newborn capital city (be it by road or by sea) without them bringing a certain amount of stones. And this is how the city got paved all over! 🙂
Adding this to my loooong St Petersburg series.