Piter March 9, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
A lovely snap from Leningrad in 1930, purloined from this nice Moscow photographic site, which I can’t remember how I came across. (I can now, I was looking for a photograph of Nizhinskij further to talk of him on Radio 4.) It’s an especially nice and peaceful bit of St. Petersburg up there by the Hermitage and I don’t have to bemoan how the city has changed since that 1930 snap as, bar the clothes, that view would be identical to this day, Millionnaja Ulitsa remaining mysteriously empty and quiet. Parallel to this street, on the other side of the Hermitage, in other words, is the embankment, which is utterly unexploited as regards tourism potential. A kilometres-long street, dotted with landmarks and wonderful views across to all sorts of other landmarks and yet it is nothing more than a high-speed thoroughfare, choked with Ladas and black with fumes. (Trying to cross it – to get right down to the river – is to dice with death.) And, equally mysteriously, it doesn’t yet seem to be a desirable address (at least it wasn’t four years ago). The houses house the regular choice of non-fronted shops, such as chemists, giving a hint to their identity only as you peer right into the grated windows and, I suppose, erm, houses. Noisy but nice. Which is all splendid, in a way, of course, that a (potentially) main drag of the city isn’t just a string of tourist traps but then it would actually be RATHER nice to sit and soak up the endless rays by the river on a perfect Piter summer day.