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Location & Directions

Shelfort Hotel

Nearest metro: Vasileostrovskaya

The Shelfort Hotel is situated on an attractive pedestrianized avenue on Vasilevskiy Island, the area that Peter the Great planned as the center of St. Petersburg. There are numerous sights and visitor attractions within a short walk of the Shelfort Hotel, and good public transport links that can get guests to the heart of the downtown in minutes.

Vasileostrovskaya Metro is under ten minutes' walk from the Shelfort Hotel, and from there it is only one stop to Gostiny Dvor, for the Hermitage, the State Russian Museum, Kazan and St. Isaac's Cathedrals, and Nevsky Prospekt. One more stop brings you to Mayakovskaya, which serves Moskovsky Railway Station.

To get to/from Moskovsky Station by taxi will take around 20 minutes, and Vitebsky Station is a similar distance from the hotel. Ladozhsky Station is in the far east of the city, and the drive can take 40-60 minutes depending on traffic.

Pulkovo-2 International Airport is around 21km from the Shelfort Hotel, and guests should allow at least 50 minutes for the journey. Pulkovo-1, the domestic terminal, is a further 2km out of the city.

Local Sightseeing

Vasilevsky Island, where the Shelfort Hotel is situated, is the oldest district of St. Petersburg, envisaged by Peter the Great as the centre of his new city. Although this later proved impractical, partly due to the Tsar's insistence that all his subjects use sailboats to travel to and from the mainland, a number of major institutions were founded on the island in the first half of the 18th century.

Among them are the Kunstkammer, Peter's notorious collection of "scientific" curiosities and freaks. Opened in 1727 in a beautiful turquoise-and-white Petrine Baroque building on the banks of the Neva, it is now home to the Museum of Ethnography and Anthropology, which displays parts of Peter's collection, as well as intermittently interesting ethnographic exhibitions chronicling the lifestyles of indigenous peoples across the world.

Slightly further west along the embankment is the Twelve Colleges, which has been since 1835 the main building of St. Petersburg State University. Second only to Moscow State in terms of prestige and scholarship. Among its alumni are eight Nobel Prize-winners, and various prominent Russians including Ivan Turgenev, Alexander Blok, and Vladimir Lenin. Before it became part of the university, the Twelve Colleges, completed in 1742, was built to house the twelve ministries of Peter's new bureaucratic government.

Further west still, and under 10 minutes' walk from the Shelfort Hotel, is the Menshikov Palace. Built for Peter's controversial favourite, Grand Duke Alexander Menshikov, this exquisite Baroque palace was opened in 1710, and acted as the de facto court while Peter delayed building his own official residence. Menshikov, who was St. Petersburg's first Governor, was eventually disgraced and exiled in 1727, and the building became a military college until, in the 1950s, it was handed to the Hermitage, who spent nearly 30 years restoring the historic interiors.

Closer to the Shelfort, on the corner of 6-aya Linia and Bolshoi Prospekt, the pretty pink-and-white Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called is one of St. Petersburg's oldest churches, the current stone building dating from 1781. Also within a couple of minutes' walk of the hotel are two Lutheran churches, the modest Church of St. Catherine and the more impressive neo-gothic Church of St. Michael (right next to the Shelfort), which are a testament to the large German community that lived in the area for much of the 19th century.

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