Formed by the western part of Vasilyevsky Island and the entirety of Dekabristov Island, the site is not lacking in cultural value, too: it’s a must if you’re exploring the experimental urban planning of the Soviet era. Grab our map and a thermos of tea and venture out for an adventure to remember!
As you exit the Primorskaya metro station, don’t hurry off in an attempt to escape from the noise and the market stalls! Just a few meters away, there’s a place that will tell you all about the roots and prospects of the city’s metro. More than just a museum, the Interactive Center of the History of St. Petersburg Metro invites you to step into a train driver’s shoes, compare existing stations with their original designs, or peek inside those giant escalators we stand on every day.
If you’re in the mood to embrace some eco-friendly activity, stop by the More Place eco loft (which is a bit off-track, but still nearby). Besides serving as a venue for recycling enthusiasts, it also features various creative studios – from pottery workshops to dance clubs.
Back on the route, let's head to the Smolenka River. As you stroll down the granite Novosmolenskaya Embankment, look around. On the left, there are houses on chicken legs, standing firmly in a row. A formidable piece of Brutalist architecture, these four 22-story houses were meant to protect residents from possible floods. Look right to see the “Great Wall of China”… Right, it's not exactly a wall but a 795-meter-long apartment building, the longest one in St. Petersburg. During the ‘80s, it housed a department store. Now closed, it left behind a massive arcade on the ground floor that reminds me of the ones in Bologna – although more of a late Soviet interpretation.
The end of the embankment brings us close to the seaside, preceded by a peculiar harbor. In the summertime, warmed by the sun, the stairs here are perfect for chilling with your friends and getting tanned (self-approved). But the best is yet to come: in a minute, you will reach the Gulf of Finland itself. The shore is lively in any weather: some are here on a date, and others are walking their dogs. There’s a great view of Lakhta Center and Gazprom Arena, but if you want to pretend they don’t exist, turn your head to the other side and gaze at the endless horizon, which engulfs huge ships. To be honest, I’d be happy to finish the route right now and stay here listening to the lulling waves till the end of the day. But to our luck, we’re only halfway through.
Bypassing the giant H-shaped Pribaltiyskaya Hotel (feel free to say hi to a statue of Peter the Great by controversial sculptor Zurab Tsereteli), we move to another, less crowded patch of water, called Galernaya Harbor. In the 18th century, it was used for repairing ships navigating through the gulf, in the 19th – as a fleet test site, in the early 20th – as a warehouse for explosive substances, and now it hosts sleeping yachts of the city’s oldest yacht club. Compared to the surrounding high-rise buildings, the harbor looks almost archaic – old ragged houses by its sides, a water tower that could fit into a horror movie, and some forlorn garages. Despite all that, there’s some romance in such contrast!
Having finished with yachts and garages, turn to Nalichnaya Street to meet one of the two submarines living on Vasilyevsky Island. Now a green fish washed ashore, D-2 Narodovolets served the Soviet fleet for 60 years, including during WWII. Now, it stands as a memorial museum, looking at the waters it can never explore again. As you go further, the street becomes similar to Moskovsky Prospect, but the end of it is crowned with the imposing Marine Terminal – gray, with a massive spire on top and concrete plates blown like sails on the wind, just to remind you: you’re still on Primorskaya.
Contrasting with the strictness of the previous ensembles, here comes the hero of our many weekend guides, Sevkabel Port. The former premises of the eponymous cable factory have been redecorated to form a bright public space with murals, art installations, and one more stunning view of the Gulf of Finland. Overall, it's a perfect place for eating out, unusual shopping, and all-night-long clubbing.
Hope you had fun! Become a pro at discovering the city’s coolest locations with our unexplored St. Petersburg series.