Hopscotch: a day on Vasilyevsky Island (Ostrov)

Saint Petersburg, Russia

5 places


Vasilyevsky Island is a city within the city. Its lanes break it into squares with lots of courtyards and college buildings. It has this mystical reputation with the mythology and places of power of its own.

Smolenskoye Cemetry

This place of power is adored by Vasilyevsky Island goths and other fans of mysticism and magic. Locals say the cemetery is not spooky at all, on the contrary, rather pacifying and perfect for long walks. However, it's better to be avoided at nights, especially when the moon is full - lots of pranksters love to play jokes on late passersby.
By the way this one of the oldest St.Pete cemeteries, which emerged almost at one time with the city.

Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art

Right after its opening Erarta became one of a few Vasilyevsky Island attractions (apart from Kunstkamera). Five floors of the former think-tank are taken by a museum, a cute shop and a cafe. Don't rush to compare it to the Paris Pompidou – Erarta is privately funded, being the largest private museum in Russia with some 20,000 works by contemporary artists and sculptors. Public is attracted by regular exhibition of major artists as well as master classes, concerts, presentations and movie nights.

Vasilyevsky Island pedestrian lane

The local promenade never sleeps: in summer it is seized by numerous cafes and beer places with verandas and picnic lovers who chill out by small fountains and shoppers. It's the favorite place for students skipping classes as it is easily accessible by transport – they hang out in chain venues like newly opened Jeanne Jacques or the good old Kofe Haus.

St. Michael's Lutheran Church

Built in the 19th century, this stone church with its pseudo-gothic facade in Sredny Avenue has been dominating the local landscape ever since. However, it's been rather invisible during the long eight years because of the scaffolding during its reconstruction. Now the church appeals to the eye of passers-by. Every Wednesday 7 to 9 pm, it hosts services where you can listen to the pipe organ. From time to time, you can even go to an organ concerts there. So if you feel like listening to classical music, you can well dive into reflections over Bach.

Brugge Gastropub

Located on the embankment, this Belgian pub is a nice place to relax after a long day of walking. Welcoming and in a good way chatty bartenders offer you beer in a shot glass to try, so watch out not to get drunk too early. The pub boasts over 80 types of beer, mussels and other interesting options, so it's easy to have a rich dinner. The place is usually crowded which is typical of Vasilyevsky Ostrov neighborhood, however it's mainly popular among the locals as hardly anyone would get there without some special purpose. That was the owner's original intention.


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