Gorokhovaya Ulitsa (Pea Street)

Gorokhovaya Ulitsa was one of the first major thoroughfares of St. Petersburg. It is one of three streets radiating symmetrically from the central spire of the Admiralty: the two others being Nevsky Prospekt and Voznesensky Prospekt. The street originally called the Srednaya (middle) Pershpektiv and then Admiralteisky (Admiral) Prospekt. In the 19th century it was one of the most prestigious residential streets in St. Petersburg.

Gorokhovaya Ulitsa in St Petersburg, Russia early in the morning
Gorokhovaya Ulitsa early in the morning

Construction of Gorokhovaya Ulitsa began in the 1740s after severe fires in St. Petersburg. In 1756, the German merchant shop Garrakh appeared there. Having assimilated, the merchant took the Russian surname Gorokhov, and the street received its name from him. By the 18th - early 19th centuries, the houses on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa included the houses of Maderni (No. 38), Strauch (No. 25), Evmenteva (No. 57), Domontovich (No. 66), and Ustinovs (No. 59). All of these two-story buildings were built in strict neoclassical style. The construction of Gorokhovaya continued through the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, but now prosperous mansions or apartment buildings were built. Some of the remarkable monuments of this period are the Dernovaya House (No. 61); the Golytsina Mansion (No. 10), called the "House of the Queen of Spades" as Princess Natalya Golytsina was supposed to be the model for the aged countess in Pushkin's famous tale; the Guillerme Apartment House (No. 8), which was home to the popular restaurant "Vienna" from the 1830s until the October Revolution; two apartment houses of the Salamander Insurance Company (No. 4 and No. 6); and the elegant Art Nouveau Esders and Scheefaals Trade House (No. 15), famous for its ornate metal spire which was torn down in the middle of the 20th century but has recently been restored along with the rest of the building to open as a luxury shopping mall.

Esders and Scheefhals department store and Red Bridge on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Esders and Scheefhals department store and Red Bridge on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa

The Fitingof Mansion (No. 2) was built by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi in the years 1788-1790 and has a special history. At the beginning of the 19th century, it housed the Provincial Offices where future Decembrists Ivan Puschtin and Kondraty Ryleev worked. Then, the building was transformed into the Office for the Guarding of Public Safety and Order, the Tsarist secret police. After the Revolution, the building became home to the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (Cheka), which was led by "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinsky. Currently, the building houses the Museum of Russian Political Police, "Gorokhovaya 2", which is a branch of the State Museum of Political History of Russia.

Rasputin House on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa in St Petersburg, Russia
Rasputin House on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa

Many celebrities lived on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa: writers Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Herzen, and Ivan Turgenev; the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz; composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Mikhail Glinka; navigator Yuri Lisyanskii; and the favorite of the Imperial family, Grigory Rasputin. A constellation of artistic names are associated with the Salamander Insurance Company Apartment Buildings. In the 20th century composer Isaac Dunaevskii, ballerina Galina Ulanova, and others all lived there. From 1927 to 1991, Gorokhovaya Ulitsa was named after Dzerzhinsky. Today it is an important transport artery of the city and home to several good restaurants and cafes, as well as a place to explore St. Petersburg's history.

Typical narrow 'well' courtyard at the Rasputin House on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa in St Petersburg, Russia
Typical narrow "well" courtyard at the Rasputin House
Metro stations:Admiralteyeskaya, Sennaya Ploschad / Sadovaya / Spasskaya, Pushkinskaya / Zvenigorodskaya
Directions:From Admiralteyskaya, turn left then left again onto Malaya Morskaya Ulitsa and walk one block to reach Gorokhovaya Ulitsa.
From Sennaya Ploshchad, turn right along Sadovaya Ulitsa and walk north one block.
From Pushkinskaya, cross Zagorodny Prospekt and turn right. Gorokhovaya is the second street on the left.
Best walking route:The whole street (about 2 hours)
What's here? Fitingof House / Museum of Russian Political Police, Yakovlev House, Domontovich Mansion, Ustinov House, Golytsina Mansione ("House of the Queen of Spades"), Guillerme Apartment Building, "The House of Rasputin", Esders and Scheefaals Building, Krasny Bridge (Red Bridge), Kamenny Bridge (Stone Bridge), Semyonovsky Bridge
What's nearby? Alexandrovsky Garden, Admiralty, Monument to Griboedov, Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa, Fontanka River, Moyka River, Griboedov Canal, Sadovaya Ulitsa (Garden Street), Sennaya Ploschad (Hay Market Square), Zagorodny Prospekt