Gostiini Dvor originated in the 18th Century as one of the city's central trading areas. The network of wooden stalls was destroyed by fire in the 1740s and Gostinii Dvor arose in something like its present form in 1785, according to a design by Italian architect Rastrelli. The columned facades of this elegant but imposing yellow quadrangle stretch for a total of around 3,300 feet. Gostiini Dvor is the commercial heart of Nevskii Prospekt and St. Petersburg. The four sides are lined inside by two corridor floors packed with everything from kitchenware and stationery to designer labels in the 'Gallery of High Fashion.' Clothes take up most of the space and a good range of prices are on offer, with small stalls sitting next to Western stores. Making your way around Gostinii Dvor can become exhausting as getting to the opposite side might involve a trek of more than 1500 feet!
An arcade originally opened in 1848 as the premier shopping emporium for St Petersburg's upper classes, Passazh still plays on imperial associations. However, today's reality is slightly different. The interior form retains a 19th century elegance, but the content is slightly less than prestigious: foreign brands are here in abundance, but we're talking kettles and stationery rather than designer clothes labels. The central passageway measures 180m and is lined on either side with a two-floored gallery of shops. Check out the supermarket downstairs for a cornucopia of imported foods.
St Petersburg has a thriving musical life, which probably explains why this quaint little music shop in the heart of town is so often over-run. They sell CDs and tapes (with a bias towards classical and jazz), guitars and a few other instruments including some pianos and an assortment of balalaikas, the traditional Russian folk instrument. Their real speciality is sheet music however, with different sections (behind the counter) devoted to different instruments. Ask the staff for 19th century music for the cello and they'll furrow around and produce a sizable bundle for your inspection.
This street contains much that is paradoxical and intriguing. The poet Anna Akhmatova lived here during periods of great difficulty during World War II. Further down the avenue towards the river stands Bolshoi Dom, a monstrous building notorious for having been the very place where those suspected of crimes against the state were interrogated or tortured. Nowadays this chilling and imposing place with armed police patrolling nearby is the headquarters of the St. Petersburg FSB (the new title for the security services after the fall of communism). Liteyny Prospekt starts at Liteyny Bridge and ends at Nevsky Prospekt. It is also a great shopping street, so you can window shop while you admire the history.
Garden Street, also known as Sadovaya Street, is one of the main shopping streets in St Petersburg. The best stores are around Sennaya Square and when the street intersects with Nevskii Prospekt. You can find a lots of shops here as well as several markets.
Heading toward Palace Square you won't miss this store, standing on the corner of Nevskii Prospekt and Bolshaia Morskaia Ulitsa. This store offers the best selection of art reproduction books in town. Also there is a standard choice of classic and contemporary literature, some fiction in English, and dictionaries. The souvenir department sells articles made by local artists and craftsmen. Here you can also buy a video film about St Petersburg and its museums and architecture. Some videos in English are available.
DLT is a historic department store dating back to 1908. It was started as a luxury fashion store for the Russian militia who then lived a lavish life. Built to resemble a grand Parisian boutique, a competition was held to select the best architect to construct the building. Wayss & Freytag, a German company, and Otto Koloman Wagner, a famous Austrian architect, won the designing rights. Today, this store houses merchandise of brands like Dorothee Schumacher, Emporio Armani, Alexander Wang, Zimmerli of Switzerland, Kissy Kissy and Chloe Junior. You will find products by more than 150 fashion houses under one roof. No wonder, DLT is the delight of stylish women and men in St Petersburg.
Pamper yourself with some retail therapy at Zara. This popular boutique is known for showcasing a variety of stylish garments and helps you be a style icon yourself. Be it chic denims or a pretty dress for your dream date, this store has solutions for all your fashion dilemmas. Not only ladies, but also men and little ones get their share of joy here as the store houses vogue clothing for them. Besides clothing, the store houses accessories, footwear and much more to give you a complete makeover. So, go ahead and enjoy some much needed self-indulgence at Zara.
This supermarket, conveniently located at the intersection of Bolshaia Morskaia and Gorohovaia Ulitsa, offers a wide selection of food and beverages. Being one of the few big food stores downtown, Prima has everything if one needs to throw a little party. Next door you will find a kitchenware department selling many kinds of glasses, cups, tea-pots, and frying pens. Here you can buy a souvenir tea set, or a nice set of wine glasses. The kitchenware department is open from 10a to 8p daily.
Pirosmani Studio is the main branch and studio of the Pirosmani clothing boutique chain which was started by renowned fashion designer, Evgeniya Malygina in the year 1999. Edgy, trendy collections for both men and women can be found at these stores with a bias towards Eastern European cuts and free flowing or asymmetrical draperies. Fashion shows and photo shoots also take place within the premises of the studio since this is where the designs are conceptualizes and brought to life.
Fruktovaya Lavka is part of a popular chain of grocery stores in St. Petersburg. This Fruktovaya Lavka outlet occupies a busy spot in the city's northern region. A thoughtfully designed store welcomes shoppers to look for fresh fruits and vegetables sold at attractive prices. The grocery store is surrounded by a number of restaurants and commercial establishments, which keeps it busy throughout the day. Bright berries, herbs, combo-baskets and some seasonal as well as exotic varieties of fruits can be found at the Fruktovaya Lavka. Once done with shopping, guests can stop by at its on-site cafe for a quick sip of refreshing fruit juices.