Address: Bol'shaya Morskaya Ulitsa, 39
Metro: Admiralteyskaya, Sadovaya, Spasskaya
Phone: 8 (812) 494-57-57
Hotel Astoria in St Petersburg
The project of the hotel from the very beginning was international. In 1911–1912, Astoria was built together with the russian swede Fedor Lidval, his assistant, a student at the Polytechnic Institute, the first Russian technical college, where women were admitted. The Germans from Weiss & Freitag, who financed the project, ambitiously conceived to create the best hotel in Europe at the site of Bristol’s furnished rooms, in which a bomb assembled by the revolutionary Schweitzer had accidentally exploded shortly before. Investors did not stint on reinforced concrete structures with an impressive foundation, on a fire-resistant interior, on reddish granite facades from the quarries of the East Finnish granite society near Vyborg. The designers seemed to foresee the future extreme events in these walls and sought to make the building stronger.
Despite the fact that the hotel was equipped with the latest design and technology, the famous art historian Georgy Lukomsky, Grigory Revzin of his time, spoke out harshly: “Unfortunately, the general silhouette of the hotel, which is not quite impressive in its architecture, causes fair complaints. I would like more harmony of the silhouette of the house with the surrounding architectural landscape; mansard floors spoil the view of the square ". But Lukomsky remained alone, most critics remarked in a European way “elegant and neat” Astoria facades, and Lidvall’s colleagues in the shop in every way praised the architect, who by that time had become the recognized leader of the northern modernist style. Fyodor Ivanovich (aka Johann Frederick) was the author of projects for many profitable houses, starting with his own mother’s house on Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, 1-3, and ending with the Tolstovsky house of the Fontanka Embankment, the buildings of the Azov-Don bank on the Bolshaya Morskaya and the Nobel Brothers Association at the corner of Yekaterininsky Canal and Italianskaya street. The Nobel family generally ordered him everything that was built in the city: mansions, factory buildings, foundry shops and all the same profitable houses. And shortly before the construction of the "Astoria" Lidval was engaged in the internal restructuring and decoration of the interiors of its main rival - the hotel "European".
At the opening of the hotel on December 23, 1912, “eminent merchants, representatives of the legal profession, local and foreign press” were invited. “After the prayers, all the guests surveyed a grand hotel that delighted those present,” the press wrote. In fact, it was with the opening of the hotel that the grand celebration of the cicentenary of the Romanov dynasty began, stretching for the whole pre-war 1913th year.
Over four years of serviceable work, Astoria received millions of profits. True, this did not prevent the World War I from redeploying it into a military hotel - the top officers of the empire arrived from the front. Diplomat Alexander Savinsky, who lived here in the days of the February Revolution, recalled the results of the hotel execution: the shattered skull of Prince Abashidze on one of the floors, women's cries flying through smoke and soot, and the drunken cries of soldiers who first of all raided the hotel cellars with shatolafitom. Foreign journalists John Reed and Bessie Beatty were very scared, who in their white-blue rooms enjoyed ringing the bells of St. Isaac’s Cathedral until shots were fired.
After the October Revolution, the leaders of the new regime settled at Astoria, arranging the “1st House of Petrograd Soviet” in the most comfortable building of the city with the watch of the GPU. The first persons of the nascent apparatus lived here with their families, Vladimir Lenin stayed, coming from Moscow on business trips, the participants of the 2nd congress of the Communist International were accommodated. During the times of NEP, the Bolsheviks did think that it would be nice to earn money for Astoria, and in 1926 the hotel came under the management of Intourist society, accepting the British science fiction author Herbert Wells and who collaborated with her American businessman Armand Hammer, engaged in exporting and selling abroad paintings from the Hermitage collection and Faberge eggs.
After the war, the Astoria lived in a Soviet way exactly. Hastily carried out restoration work, the Intourist re-established its activities, but the numbers were tapped in case of arrival of enemy spies or local “enemies of the people”. That, in general, did not prevent the hotel from playing the role of a semi-official club of international friendship, closed to ordinary Soviet citizens and accessible to folk artists, secretaries of the Writers' Union, fartsovshchikov and confused. In those years, "Astoria" regularly shone in the movie with the participation of Western actors. Andrei Mironov descended from her window, clinging to the edge of the carpet, in the Soviet-Italian comedy “The Incredible Adventures of Italians in Russia,” directed by Eldar Ryazanov and Franco Prosperi. Yury Solomin and the Japanese movie star Komaki Kurihara looked at each other with their eyes, acting in Sergei Solovyov's melodrama “White Night Melodies”. Marcello Mastroianni rested at the hotel after filming “Black Eyes” by Nikita Mikhalkov
In August 1991, immediately after the reconstruction of the Finns, it was possible to observe from the windows of the hotel the erection of a barricade of boxes, wheels, wire and iron barrels on Gertsena (Bolshaya Morskaya) Street. Now for the sake of democratic transformations in Russia. In the early 1990s, the hotel was privatized, and later it found new owners in the face of tidy Englishmen and healed in a measured European way, eventually becoming a member of the Leading Hotels of the World association.
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