St. Petersburg: Places to Explore

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Vasilievsky Island

Across the Neva river is Vasilievsky Ostrov (Vasilievsky Island), the largest island in the Neva Delta and one of the city's oldest developed sections. Peter the Great wanted his city center there, and his original plans for the island called for a network of canals for the transport of goods from the main sea terminal to the city's commercial center at the opposite end of the island. These plans to re-create Venice never materialized, although some of the smaller canals were actually dug (and later filled in). These would-be canals are now streets, and are called "lines" (liniya). Instead of names they bear numbers, and they run parallel to the island's three main thoroughfares: the Great (Bolshoi), Middle (Sredny), and Small (Maly) prospekts. Now the island is a popular residential area, with most of its historic sites concentrated on its eastern edge. The island's western tip, facing the Gulf of Finland, houses the city's main sea terminals.

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