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The residents of St Petersburg see their city on the Neva river as a huge stone book, whose pages were created by great Russian poets and writers. The period of the Great Russian Empire is reflected in the city’s streets, buildings and literature. The streets of St Petersburg recall the lines pronounced by the characters of many works by leading writers and poets of 17th to 20th centuries. The city has many monuments dedicated to writers and literary characters, and buildings marked with plaques dedicated to writers and poets. The Culture Trip takes you on a tour of St Petersburg’s literary past and present, including a collection of the best museums, workplaces and memorials to Russian writers.
The literary and artistic café Stray Dog was a central venue of St Petersburg’s cultural life of the Silver Age. The artistic café, or art basement, Stray Dog operated from December 31 1911 to March 3 1915 in house number 5 on Michael’s Square Street. The title of the café is a satire of the image of the artist as a beaten homeless dog. The café organized theatrical performances, lectures, poetry and music nights. The art cellar’s glory was brought by its famous visitors, such as Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Igor Severyanin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Konstantin Balmont, Alexei Tolstoy and others. The original café closed due to financial problems, but in was reopened in 2001 on a wave of interest in the pre-revolutionary history of Russia and Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
Opening hours: daily 11.30am-11.30pm
Italyanskaya ulitsa 4, St Petersburg, +7 812 315 6068
Mayor Kovalev’s Nose is probably the most unusual monument in St Petersourg. The sculpture is based on the character of the story Nose by Nikolay Gogol, and was immortalized in October 1995 on the façade of a house in Voznesensky Prospect. According to the story, the nose of Mayor Kovalev had a habit of leaving its owner and strolling around the city by itself. The monument is made from a gray limestone measuring 60 by 35 cm, at the bottom of which is an image of a nose made from pink Ukrainian marble imported directly from the home country of Gogol.