House of Romanov
The House of Romanov was the reigning royal house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Romanovs achieved prominence as boyars of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Tsardom of Russia under the reigning Rurik dynasty, which became extinct upon the death of Tsar Feodor I in 1598; the Time of Troubles was caused by the resulting succession crisis, where several pretenders and imposters fought for the crown during the Polish–Muscovite War. On 21 February 1613, Michael Romanov was elected Tsar of Russia by the Zemsky Sobor, establishing the Romanovs as Russia's second reigning dynasty. Michael's grandson Peter I established the Russian Empire in 1721, transforming the country into a great power through a series of wars and reforms; the direct male line of the Romanovs ended when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762 leading the House of Holstein-Gottorp, a cadet branch of the German House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark, to ascend to the crown under Peter III. Known as the House of Romanov, descendants after Elizabeth are sometimes referred to as "Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov".
The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on 15 March 1917 as a result of the February Revolution ended 304-years of Romanov rule, establishing the Russian Republic under the Russian Provisional Government in the lead up to the Russian Civil War. In 1918, the Tsar and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks and the 47 survivors of the House of Romanov's 65 members went into exile abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the senior surviving male-line descendant of Alexander II of Russia by primogeniture, claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. Since 1991, the succession to the former Russian throne has been in dispute due to disagreements over the validity of dynasts' marriages between the lines of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia and Prince Nicholas Romanovich Romanov, succeeded by Prince Andrew Romanov, it remains unclear whether any ukase abolished the surname of Michael Romanov after his accession to the Russian throne in 1613, although by tradition members of reigning dynasties use surnames, being known instead by dynastic titles.
From January 1762, the monarchs of the Russian Empire claimed the throne as relatives of Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, who had married Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. Thus they were no longer Romanovs by patrilineage, belonging instead to the Holstein-Gottorp cadet branch of the German House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark; the 1944 edition of the Almanach de Gotha records the name of Russia's ruling dynasty from the time of Peter III as "Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov". However, the terms "Romanov" and "House of Romanov" occurred in official references to the Russian imperial family; the coat-of-arms of the Romanov boyars was included in legislation on the imperial dynasty, in a 1913 jubilee, Russia celebrated the "300th Anniversary of the Romanovs' rule". After the February Revolution of March 1917, a special decree of the Provisional Government of Russia granted all members of the imperial family the surname "Romanov"; the only exceptions, the morganatic descendants of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, took the surname Il'insky.
The Romanovs share their origin with two dozen other Russian noble families. Their earliest common ancestor is one Andrei Kobyla, attested around 1347 as a boyar in the service of Semyon I of Moscow. Generations assigned to Kobyla an illustrious pedigree. An 18th-century genealogy claimed that he was the son of the Old Prussians prince Glanda Kambila, who came to Russia in the second half of the 13th century, fleeing the invading Germans. Indeed, one of the leaders of the Old Prussians rebellion of 1260–1274 against the Teutonic order was named Glande; this legendary version of the Romanov's origin is contested by a more plausible version of their descent from a boyar family from Novgorod. His actual origin may have been less spectacular. Not only is Kobyla Russian for "mare", some of his relatives had as nicknames the terms for horses and other domestic animals, thus suggesting descent from one of the royal equerries. One of Kobyla's sons, a member of the boyar Duma of Dmitri Donskoi, was nicknamed Koshka.
His descendants took the surname Koshkin changed it to Zakharin, which family split into two branches: Zakharin-Yakovlev and Zakharin-Yuriev. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the former family became known as Yakovlev, whereas grandchildren of Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev changed their name to "Romanov". Feodor Nikitich Romanov was descended from the Rurik dynasty through the female line, his mother, Evdokiya Gorbataya-Shuyskaya, was a Rurikid princess from the Shuysky branch, daughter of Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky. The family fortunes soared when Roman's daughter, Anastasia Zakharyina, married Ivan IV, the Rurikid Grand Prince of Moscow, on 3 February 1547. Since her husband had assumed the title of tsar, which means "Caesar", on 16 January 1547, she was crowned the first tsaritsa of Russia, her mysterious death in 1560 changed Ivan's character for the worse. Suspecting the boyars of having poisoned his beloved, Tsar Ivan started a reign of terror against them. Among his children by Anastasia, the elder was murdered by the tsar in a quarrel.
Throughout Feodor's reign, the Tsar's brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, his Romanov cousins con
The Winter Palace was the official residence of the Russian Emperors from 1732 to 1917. Today, its precincts form the Hermitage Museum. Situated between Palace Embankment and Palace Square, in Saint Petersburg, adjacent to the site of Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth Winter Palace was built and altered continuously between the late 1730s and 1837, when it was damaged by fire and rebuilt; the storming of the palace in 1917, as depicted in Soviet paintings and Sergei Eisenstein's 1927 film October, became an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution. The palace was constructed on a monumental scale, intended to reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia. From the palace, the Tsar ruled over 22,400,000 square kilometers and over 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century, it was designed by many architects, most notably Bartolomeo Rastrelli, in what came to be known as the Elizabethan Baroque style. The green-and-white palace has the shape of an elongated rectangle, its principal façade is 215 metres long and 30 m high.
The Winter Palace has been calculated to contain 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Following a serious fire, the palace's rebuilding of 1837 left the exterior unchanged, but large parts of the interior were redesigned in a variety of tastes and styles, leading the palace to be described as a "19th-century palace inspired by a model in Rococo style". In 1905, the Bloody Sunday massacre occurred when demonstrators marched toward the Winter Palace, but by this time the Imperial Family had chosen to live in the more secure and secluded Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, returned to the Winter Palace only for formal and state occasions. Following the February Revolution of 1917, the palace was for a short time the seat of the Russian Provisional Government, led by Alexander Kerensky; that same year, the palace was stormed by a detachment of Red Army soldiers and sailors—a defining moment in the birth of the Soviet state. Upon returning from his Grand Embassy in 1698, Peter I of Russia embarked on a policy of Westernization and expansion, to transform the Tsardom of Russia into the Russian Empire and a major European power.
This policy was manifested in bricks and mortar by the creation of a new city, Saint Petersburg, in 1703. The culture and design of the new city was intended as a conscious rejection of traditional Byzantine-influenced Russian architecture, such as the then-fashionable Naryshkin Baroque, in favour of the classically inspired architecture prevailing in the great cities of Europe; the Tsar intended that his new city would be designed in a Flemish renaissance style known as Petrine Baroque, this was the style he selected for his new palace in the city. The first Royal residence on the site had been a humble log cabin known as the Domik Petra I, built in 1704, which faced the River Neva. In 1711 it was transported to the Petrovskaya Naberezhnaya. With the site cleared, the Tsar embarked on the building of a larger house between 1711 and 1712; this house, today referred to as the first Winter Palace, was designed by Domenico Trezzini. The 18th century was a period of great development in European royal architecture, as the need for a fortified residence lessened.
This process, which had begun in the late 16th century and great classical palaces replaced fortified castles throughout the more powerful European countries. One of the earliest and most notable examples was Louis XIV's Versailles. Completed by 1710, Versailles—with its size and splendour—heightened rivalry amongst the sovereigns of Europe. Peter the Great of Russia, keen to promote all western concepts, wished to have a modern palace like his fellow sovereigns. However, unlike some of his successors, Peter I never aspired to rival Versailles; the first Winter Palace was a modest building of two main floors under a slate roof. It seems that Peter soon tired of the first palace, for in 1721, the second version of the Winter Palace was built under the direction of architect Georg Mattarnovy. Mattarnovy's palace, though still modest compared to royal palaces in other European capitals, was on two floors above a rusticated ground floor, with a central projection underneath a pediment supported by columns.
It was here that Peter the Great died in 1725. The Winter Palace was not the only palace in the unfinished city, or the most splendid, as Peter had ordered his nobles to construct residences and to spend half the year there; this was an unpopular command. It was forbidden to fell trees for fuel, so hot water was permitted just once a week. Only Peter's second wife, Empress Catherine, pretended to enjoy life in the new city; as a result of pressed slave labour from all over the Empire, work on the city progressed quickly. It has been estimated. A diplomat of the time, who described the city as "a heap of villages linked together, like some plantation in the West Indies", just a few years called it "a wonder of the world, considering its magnificent palaces"; some of these new palaces in Peter's beloved Flemish Baroque style, such as the Kikin Hall and the Menshikov Palace, still stand. On Peter the Great's death in 1725, the city of Saint Petersburg was still far from being the centre of western culture and civilization that he had envisioned.
Many of the aristocrats, compelled by the Tsar to inhabit Saint Petersburg left. Wolves roame
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia, it is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Hare Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico Trezzini; the cathedral's bell tower is the world's tallest Orthodox bell tower. Since the belfry is not standalone, but an integral part of the main building, the cathedral is sometimes considered the highest Orthodox Church in the world. There is another Cathedral of Paul Church in St. Petersburg, located in Petergof; the current building, the first stone church in St. Petersburg, was designed by Trezzini and built between 1712 and 1733, its gold-painted spire reaches a height of 123 metres and features at its top an angel holding a cross. This angel is one of the most important symbols of St. Petersburg; the cathedral's architecture features a unique iconostasis.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church the iconostasis is a flat wall or screen with three doors through it, the central Holy Doors used only for solemn entrances, the two side doors, by which the clergy and others enter and leave the sanctuary. However, at St. Peter and Paul, the iconostasis rises to form a sort of tower over the sanctuary; the cathedral has a gift of the Flemish city of Mechelen, Flanders. The cathedral is dedicated to the patron saints of the fortress; the current cathedral is the second one on the site. The first, built soon after Peter's founding of the city, was consecrated by Archbishop Iov of Novgorod the Great in April 1704; the cathedral was the cathedral church of the city until 1859 The current cathedral church of St. Petersburg is the Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospect; the cathedral was closed in 1919 and turned into a museum in 1924. It is still a museum; the cathedral houses the remains of all the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family, who were laid to rest in July 1998.
Among the emperors and empresses buried here was Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for 34 years. Of the post-Petrine rulers, only Peter II and Ivan VI are not buried here. Peter II is buried in the Cathedral of Michael the Archangel in the Moscow Kremlin. On September 28, 2006, 78 years after her death, Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, was reinterred in the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul. Wife of Tsar Alexander III, mother of Nicholas II, Maria Feodorovna died on 13 October 1928 in exile in her native Denmark and was buried in Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark. In 2005, the governments of Denmark and Russia agreed that the empress's remains should be returned to Saint Petersburg in accordance with her wish to be interred next to her husband; the bell tower is the dominant feature of the fortress. It serves several functions as part of the structure: It is an architectural symbol, an important part of its shape and of the Peter and Paul Fortress, it is a part of the imperial tomb - the tombs are on the ground floor.
It is a lightning rod protecting the cathedral. It is a viewing platform upon which excursions meet each hour from 12:00 till 18:00, it houses a carillon upon. When renovators were cleaning the angel on the spire in 1997, they found a note in a bottle left in one of the folds of the angel's gown. In the note, renovators from 1953 apologized for, it is said that the renovators in 1997 left another message for future generations, but the contents of that message have not been revealed. When Tsar Peter the Great visited the Netherlands in 1698, he heard the perfect tuned Hemony carillons in Amsterdam and Leiden singing all 24 hours of the day, every quarter of an hour automatically. In 1717 he visited Flanders incognito and climbed the tower of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, where he must have heard one of the two Hemony carillons in one of the towers of this cathedral, he was impressed by the sound of a carillon and wanted one like these for his new cathedral in St. Petersburg. So he ordered it in 1720 from the Netherlands.
In Amsterdam the only bellfounder in that time was Jan Albert de Grave. He was married to the widow of Claude Fremy; this Claude Fremy was a pupil of Hemony. So Jan Albert de Grave was the bellfounder who made these bells; some years he made a carillon for Potsdam. The people in St. Petersburg could only listen to this well tuned instrument for a short time. In 1756 the tower burned down after a thunderstorm. All bells were lost. In 1757, only one year after this disaster a new carillon was ordered from Holland; this time by a bell-founder in Hoorn named Johan Nicolaas Derck. He cast the bells and clockmaker Barend Oortkras from the Hague brought them to St. Petersburg to install them; when he arrived, the tower was not rebuilt yet. Oortkras stayed in St. Petersburg, but in 1764 he died in poverty b
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million. An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject. Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, about 625 km to the south-east. Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital; the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg. An admirer of everything German, Peter the Great named the city, Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd, meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German name Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad, meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter; the city's traditional nicknames among Russians are the Window to Europe. Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in what was called Ingermanland, inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians; the small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport in order to trade with the rest of Europe, he needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter.
On 12 May 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans and soon replaced the fortress. On 27 May 1703, closer to the estuary 5 km inland from the gulf), on Zayachy Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city; the city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city; the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war. During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals; the project is evident in the layout of the streets.
In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg. The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two, his endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow, but four years in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tsars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich commissioned a new plan in 1737; the city was divided into five boroughs, the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka. It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospekt, Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. Baroque architecture became dominant in the city during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture. Established in 1762, the Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg ruled that no structure in the
Petrogradsky Island is the third largest island in the Neva River delta in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Along with Zayachy Island, Aptekarsky Island, Petrovsky Island, it constitutes the Petrogradskaya Side, it is the administrative center of the Petrogradsky District and hosts a number of universities and research centers, as well as cultural and recreational facilities. Petrogradsky Island lies between its Bolshaya Nevka branch, it is separated from Aptekarsky Island on the north by the Karpovka River, from Krestovsky Island on the west by the Malaya Nevka, from Petrovsky Island on the south by the Zhdanovka River, from Zayachy Island on the southeast by the Kronverksky Strait. It is linked to the central district by the Troitsky Bridge, to Vasilievsky Island by the Birzhevoy Bridge and Tuchkov Bridge), to Petrovsky Island by the Maly Petrovsky Bridge, to Krestovsky Island by the Lazarevsky Bolshoy Krestovsky Bridges, to the Vyborgskaya Side via the Sampsonievsky and Grenadersky Bridges. Finnish and Swedish farms added to a large Russian settlement, continuing to develop the island in the 17th century.
In 1703 Tsar Peter the Great of Russia laid the foundation of the Peter and Paul Fortress on nearby Zayachy Island. During this time, he resided near the present-day site of Troitsky Square near the southeastern tip of island, known at that time as Gorodskoy Island, it was renamed Peterburgsky Island or Sankt-Peterburgsky Island after Peter's death in 1725. The administrative center of Saint Petersburg moved to Vasilievsky Island in the 1720s, in the 1730s, stone buildings north of the Kronverk were banned; as a result, the island became suburban. One of the earliest main avenues, dating from the 1730s, is the Bolshoy Prospekt, crossing the island from the northeast to the Tuchkov Bridge in the southwest; the Yamburgsky, Koporsky, St. Petersburg, Belozersky regiments had their quarters on the island at that time, the new road served to connect them all. Horsecars first ran in the 1860s, followed by trams in 1908 and trolleybuses in 1948; the other main avenue, the Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, intersects the Bolshoy Prospekt in the north at Leo Tolstoy Square and runs southeast to the present-day Troitsky Bridge.
The avenue was constructed in the 18th century, leading from the Kronverk esplanade to Kamenny Island. In the 1820s there was a high road with special paving. In the 1870s, horsecars started operating along the avenue, in 1909, an electric tramway was introduced. In 1903 the avenue extended as far as Troitskaya Square; when Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd in 1914, the island received its present name, Petrogradsky Island. Petrogradsky Island is the home of several noted universities and research institutes; the Saint Petersburg Pavlov State Medical University, located at 6/8 Leo Tolstoy Street, was founded in 1897 as the first Russian medical institute for women. The Saint Petersburg State University of Information Technologies and Optics is one of Russia's leading technical universities; the A. F. Mozhaisky Military Space Engineering Academy is a polytechnical military educational institution and space research center. Of historical interest is the Cruiser Aurora, the oldest commissioned ship in the Russian Navy and a symbol of the October Revolution of 1917.
A museum since 1956, it is anchored near the Sampsonievsky bridge. Just north of the Kronwerk, in the former Aquarium Gardens, the first motion picture was shown in Russia in 1896, at what is now Lenfilm Studios The island houses the Baltic House Festival Theatre, the Yubileyny Sports Palace, the Saint Petersburg Planetarium and the Leningrad Zoo
Vasilyevsky Island is an island in St. Petersburg, bordered by the Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva Rivers in the south and northeast, by the Gulf of Finland in the west. Vasilyevsky Island is separated from Dekabristov Island by the Smolenka River. Together they form the territory of Vasileostrovsky District, an administrative division of Saint Petersburg. Situated just across the river from the Winter Palace, it constitutes a large portion of the city's historic center. Two of the most famous St. Petersburg bridges, Palace Bridge and Blagoveshchensky Bridge, connect it with the mainland to the south; the Exchange Bridge and Tuchkov Bridge across the Malaya Neva connect it with Petrogradsky Island. Vasilyevsky Island is served by Vasileostrovskaya and Primorskaya stations of Saint Petersburg Metro. There are plans to build new Metro stations on Vasilyevsky Island by extending Line 4 to the Island. In addition, the island is serviced by bus routes and tramway lines. Planners wanted Vasilyevsky Island to have canals in lieu of streets.
However, this plan never came to fruition and today the island has streets. Speakers of Russian understand the name of the island as a possessive adjective made of the Russian masculine personal name Vasily, or of the family name Vasilyev. There are various versions of who the original Vasily was, though these may be a product of false etymology, as the Russian name of the island may in fact be a corruption of its previous Swedish or Finnish name, because the island had been shown under them on Swedish maps before its present Russian history began after the Great Northern War. First Russian record of the island, under its modern name, is found in a registry book of 1500 land survey of Votes' Pyatina of Novgorod Republic, it makes less probable another, a one, Vassily-related etymology dating back to the 18th century. It is connected, like many other city legends, with the person of the founder of the present-day city, Peter the Great. One of his foremost gunner officers and military engineers, some Vassily Korchmin, had his artillery battery to ward off the Swedish navy at the spit of the island and got the tsar's letters addressed "To Vassily in the Island", thus making it another possible cause of the island's name.
The man was commemorated by a lively statue in a pedestrian street in the island. Finnish etymology may lead to a corrupted compound word Calf Island. Another known Finnish name of the island was Hirvisaari - Elk Island. Geographically, the island consists of two main parts; the south and east of the island are old, with buildings from the 19th century. The southern embankment has some of the oldest buildings in the city dated from 18th century; that part of the island is notable for its rectangular grid of streets, with three lengthwise thoroughfares called prospekts – Bolshoi and Maly – going from east to west, with about 30 crosswise Linii forming about 15 peculiarly numbered streets going perpendicularly from south to north. The island boasts the city's narrowest street named after the artist Ilya Repin; the easternmost tip of the island, called Strelka, features a number of museums, including the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange as well as two Rostral columns, is a popular tourist attraction.
The edifices lining the Universitetskaya Embankment along the Bolshaya Neva include the Kunstkamera, Twelve Collegia, Menshikov Palace, Imperial Academy of Sciences, St. Andrew's Cathedral – all dating from the 18th century. In the island center there is a considerable Museum of electrical transport organised by transport history enthusiasts, it is based at the oldest Vasileostrovsky tram depot. Another recent notable attraction was an animated floating anchored illuminated musical fountain located just off the Spit. In contrast with the Neva embankments in the historical center, the western part of the island was developed much in the late Soviet times, has typical Soviet apartment blocks. A monument to Vasily, the legendary Peter I's local gunners' battery commander after whom the island may have been named, was opened in 2003; the principal buildings of Saint Petersburg State University are located on the island and include the Twelve Collegia by Domenico Tresini and the former palace of Peter II of Russia.
In recent centuries Vasilyevsky Island has provided a home both to academic life and to various industries. The island's learning facilities have included the Imperial Academy of Sciences with its copious library, Saint Petersburg State University, the 1st Army Cadet Corps and the Naval Cadet Corps, the Civil Service Academy. Many of these entities occupy significant buildings; the Russian Academy of Sciences with its branches has always had many of its research institutions in its cradle - on the island. They include the institutes of: soils study, optics, aerial photography and general geology, world ethnography and anthropology, chemistry of silicate and fireproof compounds. Best-known of the institutes, the Institute of Russian L