Nevsky Prospekt– Не́вский проспе́кт– is the Champs-Elysées of St. Petersburg (though, as this New York Times article points out, the Champs-Elysées is not what it used to be…now it’s all Abercrombie and Chipotle instead of genuine Parisian luxury). Though it doesn’t have its own theme song. (And, because it’s St. Petersburg, it would go, “sous la pluie…sous la pluie…sous la pluie…et sous la pluie”).
Studded with monuments, Nevsky Prospekt the center of the Petersburg universe, the place where tourists (and hustlers) gravitate, as well as regular Russians who are out and about. I think it’s even more special in the evening, when the canals and buildings are lit up and it’s not so bustling.
Some brief and casual research tells me that Peter the Great was responsible for this thoroughfare, intending it to go all the way to Moscow. It actually goes to the “Moskovskii” train station…close enough. It went through the usual Soviet and post-Soviet name changes, and is immortalized in the works of Gogol and Dostoevsky, and on this blog. Many famous and beautiful Petersburg buildings line or are just off this avenue, as well as countless (generally rather expensive) shops, cafés, and bars. Apparently the Literaturnaya Cafe is where Pushkin had his last meal before dying in a duel… This bit of literary kitsch might be worth a $7 espresso.
You can also see a virtual panorama of Nevsky here.