“There is nothing better than Nevsky Prospect, at least not in Petersburg; for there it is everything” – Nikolai Gogol Nevsky Prospect, 245
Nevsky Prospekt is the main street of St. Petersburg. The “European-style” boulevard stretches for 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from the Admiralty to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. It crosses the Moika River (Green Bridge), Griboyedov Canal (Kazan Bridge), Fontanka (Anichkov Bridge). At its widest, the street’s width is 60 meters at Gostiny Dvor, at its narrowest it is 25 meters as it crosses the Moika River.
Nevsky is famous for its Rococo and pastel building facades. In Russian literature and film, as in real life, Nevsky is a desirable place for a stroll alone or with a group of friends. The right side (odd numbers) is informally called the “shady side,” while the left side (even numbers) is referred to as the “sunny side ” and has remained a popular place for walking since Nevsky’s inception.
Nevsky is home for the majority of the city’s shopping and nightlife with six metro stations having exits on the street: Admiralteyskaya, Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor, Mayakovskaya, Ploshchad Vosstaniya and Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo.
Throughout the history of St. Petersburg (and its three names), Nevsky Prospect has remained a major point of interest, commerce and history in the city. In defining what parts of Petersburg are included in the definition of “city center,” distance from Nevsky has acted an anchor. It is a definer of “centerness.”
In designing St. Petersburg, Peter the Great had planned Nevsky to be the beginning of a road to Veliky Novogord and to Moscow. As Petersburg grew in size and opulence so did Nevsky.