Boslhoy Gostiny Dvor
Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor (Great Guest Court) is one of the first store galleries in Saint Petersburg. It initiated from a decree of Elisabeth I promulgated in 1748.
However its construction only began in 1761. French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe was put in charge of the project. He found his inspiration in the works of Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The building was completed in 1785 and became the famous double arcade neoclassical structure of Saint Petersburg. One century later its facade on Nevsky Avenue underwent modifications. Its stretches on 230 meters, about one fourth of the store gallery. 78 stores share the 53,000 sq-m of the building.
Shut down in 1917, Boslhoy Gostiny Dvor was badly damaged during World War II. It was restored in 1967 and became the largest store in Leningrad. Privatized after the collapse of the USSR, its walls remained property of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Today, it is compared to the GUM in Moscow. Although it is now two hundred and fifty years old, it offers the same level of services than any other modern shopping centers. Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor receives everyday over ten thousands international visitors.