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38
ST PETERSBURG

enter the army from this government are able to read. The zemstvo (provincial council) has organized village libraries and lectures on a wide scale. Many improvements have been made, especially since 1897, in sanitary organization. Generally speaking, agriculture is at a low ebb. The principal crops are cereals (rye, oats and barley), potatoes and green crops, the total area under cultivation being only 13%. These crops, which are often ruined by heavy rains in the late summer, are insufficient for the population. Flax is cultivated to some extent. Nearly 21% of the area consists of meadows and pasture. Dairy-farming is developing. Timber, shipping, stone-quarrying and fishing are important industries; the chief factories are cotton, tobacco, machinery, sugar, rubber and paper mills, chemical works, distilleries, breweries and printing works.


ST PETERSBURG, the capital of the Russian empire, situated at the head of the Gulf of Finland, at the mouth of the Neva, in 59° 56′ N., and 30° 20′ E., 400 m from Moscow, 696 m. from Warsaw, 1400 m. from Odessa (via Moscow), and 1390 m. from Astrakhan (also via Moscow). The Neva, before entering the Gulf of Finland, forms a peninsula, on which the main part of St Petersburg stands, and itself subdivides into several branches. The islands so formed are only 10 or 11 ft. above the average level of the water. Their areas are rapidly increasing, while the banks which continue them seaward are gradually disappearing. The mainland is not much higher than the islands. As the river level rises several feet during westerly gales, extensive portions of the islands and of the mainland are flooded every winter. In 1777, when the Neva rose 10.7 ft., and in 1824, when it rose 13.8 ft., nearly the whole of the city was inundated, and the lower parts were again under water in 1890, 1897 and 1898, when the floods rose 8 ft. A ship canal, completed in 1875–1888 at a cost of £1,057,000, has made the capital a seaport. Beginning at Kronstadt, it terminates at Gutuyev Island in a harbour capable of accommodating fifty sea-going ships. It is 23 ft. deep and 17½ m. long. The Neva is crossed by three permanent bridges—the Nicholas, the Troitsky or Trinity (1897–1903), and the Alexander or Liteinyi; all three fine specimens of architecture. One other bridge—the Palace—across the Great Neva. connects the left bank of the mainland with Vasiiyevskiy or Basil Island; but, being built on boats, it is removed during the autumn and spring. Several wooden or floating bridges connect the islands, while a number of stone bridges span the smaller channels. In winter, when the Neva is covered with ice 2 to 3 ft. thick, temporary roadways for carriages and pedestrians are made across the ice and artificially lighted. In winter, too, thousands of peasants come in from the villages with their small Finnish horses and sledges to ply for hire.

The Neva continues frozen for an average of 147 days in the year (25th November to 21st April). It is unnavigable, however, for some time longer on account of the ice from Lake Ladoga, which is sometimes driven by easterly winds into the river at the end of April and beginning of May. The climate of St Petersburg is changeable and unhealthy. Frosts are made much more trying by the wind which accompanies them; and westerly gales in Winter bring oceanic moisture and warmth, and melt the snow before and after hard frosts. The summer is hot, but short, lasting barely more than five or six weeks; a hot day, however, is often followed by cold weather: changes of temperature amounting to 35° Fahr. within twenty-four hours are not uncommon. In autumn a chilly dampness lasts for several weeks, and in spring cold and wet weather alternates with a few warm days.

January. July. The Year.
Mean temperature, Fahr. 15°.0 64°.0 38°.6
Rainfall, inches 0.9 2.6 18.8
Prevailing winds S.W. W. W.
Average daily range of temperature, Fahr. 2°.2 10°.2 7°.7

Topography.—The greater part of St Petersburg is situated on the mainland, on the left bank of the Neva, including the best streets, the largest shops, the bazaars and markets, the palaces, cathedrals and theatres, as well as all the railway stations, except that of the Finland railway. From the Liteinyi bridge to that of Nicholas a granite embankment, bordered by palaces and large private houses, lines the left bank of the Neva. About midway, behind a range of fine houses, stands the Admiralty, the very centre of the capital. Formerly a wharf, on which Peter the Great caused his first Baltic ship to be built in 1706, it is now the seat of the ministry of the navy and of the hydrographical department, the new Admiralty building standing farther down the Neva on the same bank. A broad square, partly laid out as a garden (Alexander Garden), surrounds the Admiralty on the west, south and east. To the west, opposite the senate, stands the fine memorial to Peter the Great, erected in 1782, and now backed by the cathedral of St Isaac. A bronze statue, a masterpiece by the French sculptor Falconet, represents the founder of the city on horseback, at full gallop, ascending a rock and pointing to the Neva. South of the Admiralty is the ministry of war and to the east the imperial winter palace, the work of Rastrelli (1764), a fine building of mixed style; but its admirable proportions mask its huge dimensions. It communicates by a gallery with the Hermitage Fine Arts Gallery. A broad semicircular square, adorned by the Alexander I. column (1834), separates the palace from the buildings of the general staff and the foreign ministry. The range of palaces and private houses facing the embankment above the Admiralty is interrupted by the macadamized “Field of Mars,” formerly a marsh, but transformed at incredible expense into a parade-ground, and the Lyetniy Sad (summer-garden) of Peter the Great. The Neva embankment is continued to a little below the Nicholas bridge under the name of “English embankment,” and farther down by the new Admiralty buildings.

The topography of St Petersburg is very simple. Three long streets, the main arteries of the capital, radiate from the Admiralty —the Prospekt Nevskiy (Neva Prospect), the Gorokhovaya, and the Prospekt Voznesenskiy (Ascension Prospect). Three girdles of canals, roughly speaking concentric, intersect these three streets—the Moika, the Catherine and the Fontanka; to these a number of streets run parallel. The Prospekt Nevskiy is a very broad street, running straight east-south-east for 3200 yds. from the Admiralty to the Moscow railway station, and thence 1650 yds. farther, bending a little to the south, until it again reaches the Neva at Kalashnikov Harbour, near the vast complex of the Alexander Nevski monastery (1713), the seat of the metropolitan of St Petersburg. The part of the street first mentioned owes its picturesque aspect to its width, its attractive shops, and still more its animation. But the buildings which border it are architecturally poor. Neither the cathedral of the Virgin of Kazan (an ugly imitation on a small scale of St Peter's in Rome), nor the still uglier Gostiniy Dvor (a two-storied quadrilateral building divided into second-rate shops), nor the Anichkov Palace (which resembles immense barracks), nor even the Roman Catholic and Dutch churches do anything to embellish it. About midway between the public library and the Anichkov Palace an elegant square hides the old-fashioned Alexandra theatre; nor does a profusely adorned memorial (1873) to Catherine II. beautify it much. The Gorokhovaya is narrow and badly paved, and is shut in between gloomy houses occupied mostly by artizans. The Voznesenskiy Prospekt, on the contrary, though as narrow as the last, has better houses. On the north, it passes into a series of large squares connected with that in which the monument of Peter the Great stands. One of them is occupied by the cathedral of St Isaac (of Dalmatia), and another by the memorial (1859) to Nicholas I., the gorgeousness and bad taste of which contrast strangely with the simplicity and significance of that of Peter the Great. The general aspect of the cathedral is imposing both without and within; but on the whole this architectural monument, built between 1819 and 1858 according to a plan of Montferrant, under the personal direction of Nicholas I., does not correspond either with its costliness (£2,431,300) or with the efforts put forth for its decoration by the best Russian artists.