Completed in 1744 and marked by a statue of scientist-poet Mikhail Lomonosov (1711–65), the 400m-long Twelve Colleges is one of St Petersburg’s oldest buildings. It was originally meant for Peter’s government ministries, but is now part of the university, which stretches out behind it. Within these walls populist philosopher Nikolai Chernyshevsky studied, Alexander Popov created some of the world’s first radio waves and a young Vladimir Putin earned a degree in law.
This is also where Dmitry Mendeleev invented the periodic table of elements, and the building now contains the small Mendeleev Museum. Also of interest here is the University Sculpture Garden, which can be accessed from the main entrance.