Eliseyev Emporium

At the very end of the 19th century, Grigoriy Grigorievich Eliseyev, the scion of an immensely wealthy family of merchants who dominated the market for fine wines in Russia, decided to build a new shop on Nevsky Prospekt as the flagship of his family business, which already had five stores in the most prestigious neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. In 1898, he bought the plot of land at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa and commissioned architect Gavriil Baranovskiy to create a building fitting to the illustrious reputation of his company.

  • Evening view of the Eliseyev Emporium in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Eliseyev Emporium at sunset
  • Sculptures on the facade of the Eliseyev Emporium in St Petersburg, Russia
    Sculptures adorning the facade of historic Eliseyev Emporium
  • Stained glass and stucco work decorationating the Eliseyev Emporium in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Stained glass and stucco work on the Eliseyev Emporium
  • New window displays at the Eliseyev Emporium in St Petersburg
    New window displays at the historic Eliseyev Emporium
  • Cafe at the renovated Eliseyev Emporium in St Petersburg
    Cafe at the newly-renovated Eliseyev Emporium

Completed in 1903, it shared many characteristic with the Singer Company Building that had opened the year before. It also had a metal frame, allowing most of the facades to be taken up with windows, and was also decorated with weathered bronze statuary by Estonian sculpture Amandus Heinrich Adamson. Both buildings were strongly criticized in many quarters for their vulgarity and the lack of deference to their historical surroundings.

The ground floor of the building was divided into three retail halls, all featuring sumptuous glass and bronze decoration, while the first floor housed a restaurant and a theatre. While critics may have been ambivalent about the building, Petersburgers soon grew to love it, and continued to call it the Eliseyev Emporium long after the Bolshevik government had nationalized it and renamed it Gastronom No. 1. The theatre was opened as the Theatre of Satire in 1929. Working there from 1935, the director Niklolay Akimov turned the theatre into one of the most popular and respected in the city. Particularly famous were his productions of fairytales by Evegeniy Shvarts. The theatre is now the N. P. Akimov Comedy Theatre.

Address:56, Nevsky Prospekt / 8, Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa
Metro:Gostiny Dvor
Getting there:Leave Gostiny Dvor Metro Station via the pedestrian underpass beneath Nevsky Prospekt. Turn right out of the underpass and walk along Nevsky Prospekt around 100m to Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa.
What's nearby? Sadovaya Ulitsa, Ploshchad Ostrovskogo, Aleksandrinskiy Theatre, Anchikov Palace, Russian National Library Building