In Russian literature, St Petersburg is a vibrant locale.
Literary giant Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow, but it is thought he lived at more than 20 different addresses in St Petersburg, the city where most of his fiction is based. Surrounding the central Sennaya Square is an area informally known as the Dostoevsky zone due to its connections with the celebrated writer’s works.
The area includes Grazhdanskaya Ulitsa 19, where many tourist guides locate the fictional digs of Rodion Raskolnikov, the Crime and Punishment anti-hero. The address attracts Dostoevsky pilgrims to this day and is even marked by a memorial plaque to Raskolnikov.
Lovers of 20th-century Russian literature will head south of the Moyka River to visit the childhood home of Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov spent most of his life in exile, and his Russian-language novels describe the lives of émigré communities displaced from St Petersburg by the 1917 revolution. Today his birthplace, in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in St Petersburg, hosts a museum collection comprising a large library that includes first editions of Nabokov’s work as well as marginalia. The museum conducts annual Nabokov readings in April, summer schools for students, and regularly hosts conferences.
The memorial apartment of Alexander Pushkin, Nabokov’s favourite Russian poet, is just a 20-minute walk away on the Moyka embankment.
The Stray Dog Café
This café frequented by the great Silver Age poets during the 1920s is located in a basement near the summer gardens.
The pre-world war one equivalent of the beatniks, poets such as Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam and Nikolai Gumilev, performed here. They called themselves “stray dogs” shunted aside by polite society. It still serves 1920s Soviet-style dishes.
Moyki naberezhnaya 5
This fourth-floor apartment on the Moyka River in the exclusive “golden triangle” district overlooks some the greatest architectural monuments of the city, including the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
It is a 15-minute drive from the Anna Akhmatova Museum.
Available through Knight Frank, $1.3m
Situated in Tolstoy House — alas no connection to Leo — this open-plan apartment has four bedrooms.
Overlooking the Fontanka River, the apartment was built in 1912 in the “northern modern” style. The apartment is a riverside walk away from Blagoveshchensky Bridge, which features as Nikolaevsky Bridge in Crime and Punishment, and the nearby Nabokov Museum. It is a 15-minute drive from the Lev Gumilev Museum and Memorial Apartment.
Available through Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty, $772,000
Photographs: Lionela Rob/Alamy; Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters/Alamy; Dreamstime; Larry Lilac/Alamy; Alamy
Additional reporting by Charles Clover
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