Click here to read about our tour of the Dostoyevsky Museum in St Petersburg. It was excellent, and I recommend that you do as we did and have an interpreter so that you can enjoy the presentation by the professional local guide.
And, as promised in my review of Andrei Bely’s Petersburg, here I am as close as I could safely get to the equestrian statue of Nicholas I. This is the one which his daughter the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna wanted to face the Winter Palace because she didn’t like looking at the rear end of the horse, but the Church insisted that it remain the way it was, facing St Isaac’s Cathedral. The statue is remarkable for being the first equestrian statue to be supported by only the two rear hooves of the horse; it’s a shame you can’t get close enough to see the reliefs all around the pedestal.
The monument to Peter the Great, known as the Bronze Horseman, was round the corner from our hotel, and it’s in a large park where wedding couples go for photos, and where we also witnessed a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary with photos and champagne in front of the monument. This monument is the subject of Pushkin’s poem, in which the young man Evgenii curses Peter the Great for founding the city on a site subject to flooding. (Now that I’ve seen all the canals and heard about the four catastrophic flood here, I can see why!) The statue comes to life and chases Evgenii to his death. The monument was too big to move to a place of safety during the siege of Leningrad (as St Petersburg was known in Soviet Times) but it was sandbagged, and survived the bombardment unscathed.