Nevsky Prospekt is Russia’s most famous street, running 4km from the Admiralty to Alexander Nevsky Monastery, from which it takes its name. The inner 2.5km to Moskovsky vokzal is the city’s shopping centre and focus of its entertainment and street life. Walking Nevsky is an essential St Petersburg experience. If you’re here on a holiday evening (such as 27 May – City Day), the sight of thousands of people pouring like a stream down its middle is one you’ll not forget.
Nevsky Prospekt was laid out in the early years of St Petersburg, as the start of the main road to Novgorod, and soon became dotted with fine buildings, squares and bridges. At the beginning of the 1900s, it was one of Europe’s grandest boulevards, with cobblestone footpaths and a track down the middle for horse-drawn trams. On either side of the tracks were wooden paving blocks to muffle the sound of horse-drawn carriages – an innovation that was a world-first and for which the avenue was dubbed the quietest main street in Europe.
Today, things are quite a bit noisier. The traffic and crowds can become oppressive and, after a while, you’ll find yourself going out of your way to avoid the street.