Day 5 - St. Petersburg - Strelka Vasilyevsky - Subway Stations

When we arrived at St. Petersburg, the six of us met for breakfast and a brief planning session. We stayed together through Russian immigration & customs, which was remarkably easy. Our tour guide, Virineya, and driver, Alexi, met us as we exited customs and we began our two-day tour with them.


Virineya was exceptionally knowledgeable in history, art, architecture, and many other areas. She immediately pointed out the extensive canal system that had been built in St. Petersburg, many of which like this one had draw bridges for boat traffic. "They make good excuses if you happen to be late meeting someone," she said.


Along the way to our first stop we saw many historical buildings, palaces, and cathedrals from the time of the Tzars, built along the river and canals.


Later in the day we took a canal boat tour along some of these waters.


We stopped at Strelka Vasilyevsky, with its two Rostral Columns, notable symbols of St. Petersburg. For over two centuries, they have formed an integral part of the city's central panorama over the River Neva, and are particularly impressive on major public holidays, when torches are lit on top of them. In the background is the Old St. Petersburg Stock Exchange, now the Central Naval Museum, and the dome of Pushkin House, the Institute of Russian Literature.


The 32-meter-high Doric columns are decorated with sculptures of naiads, sea creatures and anchors. The large bowls at the top of the columns were originally designed to hold hemp oil for burning. Later, electric lamps were installed as beacons.


At the base of the columns sit statues of four allegorical figures supposed to represent four of Russia's major rivers - the Volga and Dnieper at the northern column, and the Neva and Volkhov at the southern column.




Behind us, across the River Neva, is the Peter & Paul Fortress. We would visit it the next day.


A closer look at Peter and Paul Fortress from across the River Neva.


Norm and Mary Lou taking in the view.


A more modern addition to the nearby landscape, a ship with a restaurant and a workout gym inside.


Jim and Bill, packing photographic heat.


Figures above the door of the Central Naval Museum.


Our next stop was the Narva Triumphal Gate, and the nearby Narvskaya subway station, where we got a tour of some incredibly ornate St. Petersburg stations.


Top of Narva Gate.


Virineya leads us down, explaining the history of the station. Three sets of escalators deliver passengers to the underground hall 172 feet below. The escalators are illuminated by highly-artistic cylinders topped with a bronze metal crown.


The artistic subjects of the station reflect "labor valor of the Soviet people," and many elements are of Soviet era symbols - hammer and sickles, red stars, and images of red banners.


Virineya explains the St. Petersburg subway system.


The stations are pretty ornate ... to say the least.


Unbelievable workmanship.


On the walls opposite the platforms are decorative lattices


The central hallway of this station is highly decorated.


Soviet hammer and cycle.


Elaborate decorations.


We went from Narvskaya to Avtovo ... I think.


Waiting for our connecting train. "V" is giving the camera a "service smile." She explained that term to us later.


Our destination.


Above ground again.


Not what I expected to see, coming out of the subway.


On the drive to Peterhof we passed this nice place,


We also passed the Peter & Paul Cathedral as we neared Peterhof itself.

See the Day 5 pics at Peterhof. Or return to the Main Menu to see something else.