St.Petersburg: Gostinyy Dvor

Dating from the earliest days of St.Petersburg, Gostinyy Dvor, or the Great Bazaar forms the commercial heart of the city.With modern shopping centers standing next to Tsarist-era churches, this vast square is also a major social and cultural hub of St.Petersburg.Until the mid-19th century, shops in this area catered almost exclusively for the luxury end of the market, fulfilling the immense demand created by the Royal and Aristocratic households for gold and jewelry and haute couture.Increasing commercial and financial activity created a new middle class of business entrepreneurs. By the time of the Revolution, banks proliferated around Nevsky prospect, their imposing new offices introducing diverse architectural stylest a largely Neo-Classical setting. Today, the wheels of capitalism are turning again, and Nevskiy Prospekt continues to attract a wealthy clientele.In contrast to the bustling commercial atmosphere of much of the area in the peace and quiet of secluded Arts Square, with the Russian Museum and other institutions acting as a reminder of St.Petersburg’s rich cultural heritage