Dostoevsky - LIFE in ST. PETERSBURG

St. Petersburg became a mainstay of Dostoevsky's stories when he was a writer. During the time of his youth, while Dostoevsky was living in Moscow, St. Petersburg was impacted by the worst flood in the city's history. This image depicts a painting of that event by Fyodor Yakovlevich Alekseyev (1753-1824). It is called “The Flood of 1824 in the Square at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre.” Online via Wikimedia Commons.


Despite its tendency to flood, St. Petersburg thrived. What did this place - the setting for so many scenes in Dostoevsky’s novels - look like as the writer penned his stories?

Nevsky Prospect (Nevski Prospekt) was then - as it is now - the city’s main avenue. Describing it, in 1835, the famous author Nikolai Gogol said:

There is nothing finer than Nevsky Prospect, not in St. Petersburg at any rate; for in St. Petersburg it is everything. And indeed, is there anything more gay, more brilliant, more resplendent than this beautiful street of our capital?

With the help of vintage postcards - thanks to Nevsky-Prospekt.com and the Library of Congress - let’s step back in time to view the city as Dostoevsky knew it:

  • The first residence ever built in St. Petersburg - Peter the Great’s cabin - as it appeared in the 1890s;
  • The St. Petersburg Stock Exchange - as it appeared in the 1890s - is now a museum;
  • Raskolnikov - who climbed a set of steep stairs to murder the old pawn broker in Crime and Punishment - is one of Dostoevsky’s most important creations. This is the real address of the fictional character, while a flat in this building is the scene of the crime.

The royal family had a different kind of home - a summer palace called Peterhof - which remains one of the city’s main attractions. The stunning grounds have dozens of beautiful gold fountains and a canal to the sea. For anyone traveling to St. Petersburg, especially in the summer months, it is a "must-see."

Life in St. Petersburg, especially for the privileged class, could be luxurious. But it was also in St. Petersburg, that city of palaces and cathedrals, where Dostoevsky found himself in prison. Not long thereafter, he experienced an event so traumatic that it haunted him forever.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Jun 19, 2019

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"LIFE in ST. PETERSBURG" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2006. Jan 20, 2020.
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