Rostral Columns

Landmark in Vasilyevsky Island

Image by Ksenia Elzes Lonely Planet

The two Rostral Columns, archetypal St Petersburg landmarks, are studded with ships’ prows and four seated sculptures representing four of Russia’s great rivers: the Neva, the Volga, the Dnieper and the Volkhov. These were oil-fired navigation beacons in the 1800s and their gas torches are still lit on some holidays, which makes for a breathtaking sight.