THE SPIT OF VASILYEVSKY ISLAND
The Spit is a cape in the eastern part of the island. In the late 17th century, there used to be a village. The idea of creating an architectural ensemble originated in the early 1710s. Foundation of the Kunstkammer (Chamber of Curiosities) marked the site out as the future city centre. Since 1725, the Academy of Science began working.
In 1803-4 the architect A.Zakharov developed a building project for the spit, that has basically been preserved in the layout. The emphasis was laid on an artistic effect produced by the contrast between the powerful horizontal embankment line and the domineering volume of the Stock Exchange, with its majestic colonnade.
The vertical Rostral Columns - Lighthouses, on which fires are lit in holidays, emphasize the central space of the whole ensemble, taken up by the Stock Exchange.
From east the square is framed with the embankment, revetted by granite, with the quay decorated with granite spheres.
The University embankment continues it. The main University of the city is located in a building, constructed in Peter's times for the twelve Collegia (Ministries). The building facade looks on to the Spit, and end face looks on to the embankment. Later the building was transferred to the possession of the Petersburg University.
Further, on the University embankment the first large stone house in St. Petersburg the Menshikov palace is located (1710-1727). Despite of numerous modifications the Palace has saved the initial shape. Now it is a museum, branch of the State Hermitage.
The last building on the University embankment is the grand Academy of Arts. Its grand and austere forms stretching along the embankment, as well as the granite landing-stage with figures of Sphinxes at the entrance, is opening from the opposite Neva bank.
In immediate proximity, there is a monument to an prominent Russian seafarer, admiral I.Krusenstern. Behind it - Marine Academy and Mining Institute.