Wandering Camera

Album 166
(Translated by
Nina Mamayeva)


Let's take a stroll along the Kryukov Channel that connects the Fontanka River, the Griboyedov Channel, the Moika River and the Admiralty Channel. We won't show everything, of course, only a few buildings.


Saint-Nicholas Marine Cathedral and its bell tower are located at the 
crossing of the Kryukov Channel (left) and the Griboedov Channel (right).

It was built in 1753-1762 according to designs of Chevakinsky. Makes me wonder what the view would be like without the corner building...
Let's walk ahead.

The Kryukov Channel was named after Semyon Kryukov, who directed its construction in 1719-1720. In 1780 the channel was extended to reach the Fontanka River.

At first, the channel also reached the Neva River, but when the Lieutenant  Schmidt Bridge (known as the Blagoveshensky (Annunciation) Bridge at the time) was built, a part of the channel was forced through a pipe and was  filled in later. That stretch used to run through what now is Truda (Labor) Square.

As a result the Kryukov Channel ends where it reaches the Admiralty Channel.

Behind us is the bell tower that we've already seen, and the domes of St. 
Ismail-Holy Trinity Cathedral are further in the background.
On this picture Saint-Nicholas Cathedral shines through the branches.
This remarkable building can be found at the intersection of Kryukov Channel and Rimsky-Korsakov Prospect.

It used to be the rental property of R. Vege (according to some sources it was owned by Shalyapin).

Architects Ovsyannikov and Stavizky led the construction in 1912-1914.

It's easy to think the building was established in Stalin years (1940s-1950s). The style is technically the same - neoclassical.

Now we are approaching the Mariinsky Theater and the Torgovy (Market) Bridge.

The Mariinsky Theater was designed in 1847-1849 as a circus theater. The  original design was created by A. Kavos, and in 1894-1895 V. Shreter  remodeled the building. The side-building was added in 1960.

The theater got its name after Alexander II's wife.

The Market Bridge across The Kryukov Channel was built in 1783-1785. It has been restored and rebuilt several times after that.

Since the latest reconstruction in 1960 the Market Bridge looks a lot like the original.

АThe author of the reconstruction is unknown, although they say it was 
planned by a group of architects to match the other bridges.

Not so long ago an interesting debate concerning a new expansion unfolded in the media. The rumor is that they want to flatten the Pervoi Pyatiletki (the First 5-year Plan's) Entertainment Center at the corner of the Kryukov Channel and Dekabrists Street, and to build a second theater as part of the Mariinsky Theater.

Perhaps, they also plan to reconstruct parts of the New Holland complex  nearby.

You can see the layout clearly in this photo: the Mariinsky Theater is to 
the left and the soon to be replaced Pervoy Pyatiletki Center is to the 
right. The vision is that there will be a tunnel-like overpass over the 

We won't be discussing the necessity of the second building...

The bigger problem is in the preliminary agreement on Erik Moss' project 
which offers an abstract and shapeless glass construction for the new 
theater. Such designs seem to find more appropriate setting in the newer 
cities rather than in the historical center of Saint Petersburg.

It is possible that the contemporary "masterminds" made this decision based on  the need to create tangible (though shocking) legacy of their time. 
Especially since it's clear that a time like this is not going to last for much longer. And besides, no publicity is bad publicity. The scandal around this project helps attract attention to the theater.

It sounds strange, but the only hope to get a normal building, if the demolition of the Entertainment Center is unavoidable, is in the common sense of the officials who will be making the final decision.

I haven't been keeping up with the updates lately. Maybe there has been a change in plans by now.

As far as the still existent Pervoy Pyatiletki Center goes, it was built in Stalin's times in the neoclassical style. In this sense, it looks fitting to  its surroundings.
 Originally, N. Miturich built the Center in constructivist style, and in 1955-1956 he rebuilt it together with architects V. Gorbachev and M. Fainberg.

As I am also told, behind the building there is a piece of the old Litovsky market, built by G. Quarengi, and that market truly is of great historical and architectural value.



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