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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Admiralty District Polishes Its Treasures

MTSt. Petersburg's Admiralty District administration hopes to turn the abandoned Warsaw Station into a multi-use cultural center.
ST. PETERSBURG — The Admiralty District lies in the heart of St. Petersburg, home to such pearls as the Admiralty, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Bronze Horseman and the Mariinsky Theater.

But alongside these shining jewels are some rough stones waiting to be polished and brought to the public's attention. With the tricentennial jubilee coming up in 2003, local authorities have been motivated to turn their attention to New Holland, Sennaya Ploshchad, the Warsaw Station and the General Post Office building, or Pochtamt.

"In fact, the Admiralty District intends to complete 20 projects by 2003," said Yunis Lukmanov, head of the Admiralty District administration. "That's quite a lot considering that the entire city is planning to complete 134."

The reconstruction of Sennaya Ploshchad is one of the most important and expensive projects in the entire city, Lukmanov said.

This central square, which has been a key gathering point since the days of Pushkin, has been a noisy and dirty construction site for nearly a decade now. Badly disfigured in 1961 when the Holy Virgin Assumption Church was destroyed, the square has been an open junk market for years, attracting masses of homeless people, street children and pickpockets. It is also home to a nasty concentration of rats.

Now, however, the city is pouring millions of dollars into the total reconstruction of the square and has committed itself to completing the work by 2003. This is a massive project that will include a $35 million business center next to the Sennaya Ploshchad metro station. There will also be a number of retail developments in the neighborhood.

St. Petersburg's head architect, Oleg Kharchenko, told the Sankt-Peterburgskiye Vedomosti newspaper recently that the square will also include handsomely paved pedestrian areas, street cafes, benches and a fountain. He even holds out hope that the cathedral itself will be rebuilt sometime around 2010.

Other projects for which funding has already been secured include the restoration of the facades of St. Isaac's Cathedral, the General Post Office, the Mariinsky Theater, the Conservatory and the Admiralty. Work on these projects has already begun.

The administration is also devoting attention to the green spaces in the district. Repairs to the Alexandrovsky Garden began last month. The Yusupov Garden is next on the agenda.

Somewhat less certain is the fate of the Warsaw Station, which is currently closed and in a bad state of disrepair. The administration hopes to develop the property into a multi-use cultural center and has already received several applications from organizations wishing to give the building a new lease of life.

Lukmanov also proudly notes that the administration is devoting considerable attention and resources to the reconstruction of residential courtyards.

"We will receive 110 million rubles [$3.7 million] for improvements to 200 yards [in the district] in 2002," he said.

However, he also emphasized that local residents have been taking the initiative and collecting money among themselves to improve their own yards.

"The yard at 3 Makarenko Pereulok is our pride," he said. "Its residents collected money and installed the gates in the street entrance, built a playground and even put a billiard table inside," Lukmanov said.

Lukmanov is proud of his district and dreams of a time in the not-so-distant future when proper attention can be paid to even the smallest details.

"Our district is romantic, " he said. "And so I also hope that such charming spots as Potseluyev [or "Kisses"] Bridge or Kalinkin Bridge will have their turn to be restored properly," he said.