The mysteries and legends, myths and riddles of St. Petersburg

What threat is the “Bronze Horseman”, why you can’t touch the sphinxes and other 7 legends of St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg has been famous since its founding as a city of myths, riddles, mysticism and legends. In the cultural capital of Russia, there are places that give you goosebumps. They are shrouded in mystery and terrifying tales. The city has its own atmosphere, which is further emphasized by the white nights, ancient architectural structures, sculptures of ancient gods and much more. And the rich historical past further engages residents and tourists in the magical, mysterious power of this beautiful city. This article compiles the most famous mystical places in St. Petersburg.

The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman is a monument to Peter the Great on Senate Square in St. Petersburg by the sculptor Falcone.

One of the most famous Russian monuments is the Bronze Horseman, which is located opposite St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The monument to Peter the Great is a symbol of Russian statehood and the first equestrian monument to the Russian Emperor. At its unveiling in 1782, the Old Believers dubbed him the “Horseman of the Apocalypse.” The origins of the most popular legend associated with this monument go back to the war between the Russian and French empires in 1812. Then came the order to evacuate the valuable pedestal, so it would not be damaged in the battle.

But one of the soldiers had a dream where the revived Bronze Horseman said: “As long as I am in place, my city has nothing to fear.” Emperor Alexander I was unusually impressed by this dream and decided to cancel the evacuation of the monument. By the way, during the Great Patriotic War, Leningrad residents also believed that as long as the monuments to Peter I, as well as Kutuzov, Suvorov and other great generals are in place, the enemy can not enter their city. Incredibly, during the nine hundred days of the siege of Leningrad, Hitler’s troops were never able to take it.

Another legend appeared thanks to Alexander Pushkin. At the center of his poem was the “Bronze Horseman”, which was a phenomenon of the apocalypse. By the way, the horseman “came to life” also in the works of Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky and others. What is surprising is that the Bronze Horseman “came to life” in the most difficult periods of Russia. In the lines of Pushkin’s poem, the horseman comes to life and rushes through the city after the victim, soon catching up with her. By the way, all this is not entirely in the poet’s imagination; he described the events of the terrible floods in St. Petersburg in 1824, which took the lives of thousands of townspeople.

After this tragedy Peter I was cursed, where residents were outraged that he had decided to build the city on the marshes, and even in such a low place. After these insults Peter’s spirit began to take revenge. Some of the natives of St. Petersburg say that sometimes at night they see the figure of the revived horseman. And near the monument there are often accidents that do not stop even today.

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Griffin Tower

The Griffin Tower, one of St. Petersburg's unique landmarks

In 1858, a pharmacy appeared on Vasilievsky Island, with an ancient brick tower in the courtyard. There are legends, which say that the pharmacist Wilhelm Pel was engaged in alchemy, and even Mendeleev often dropped in to see him. The brick tower is full of numbers which are said to contain the code of the Universe. It is believed that one can even discover the secret of immortality by counting them all.

It is rumored that by day the pharmacist Pel was making and selling medicine, and by night he was practicing black magic. Rumor has it that the alchemist bred griffins – mythological winged creatures – right in this tower. To this day, many believe that if you come to this tower at night, you can see the shadows of griffins flying home.

Bypass Canal

Bypass Canal - the largest canal in St. Petersburg, starts at the Neva River near Alexander Nevsky Lavra and goes all the way to the Ekateringhofka River

The Bypass Canal is the largest canal in St. Petersburg, originating from the Neva River near the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and extending to the Ekaterinhofka River

The strange stories of the Obvodny Canal began in 1923, when workers were digging a trench here. At great depths, they accidentally stumbled on a rather strange structure, consisting of laid out in a circle of plates, which had ancient writings and signs. Workers found human remains on one of the raised slabs. Archaeologists were able to determine that this burial has Scandinavian origin and refers to the XI-XII centuries. Scientists believe that this structure was a place of sacrifice.

Despite the requirements of scientists to finish works at this place, the construction has been continued. Now there is a heating main. The found human remains were thrown away, and the mysterious slabs became the side stones of Ligovsky Prospekt. Soon accidents began to happen here. Mystic or not, in just one year more than eighty people committed suicide here. Ten years later – the same story, but with an even greater number of suicides. According to reports, now every third year of the decade there is an increase in suicides in the area.

Rotunda on Gorokhovaya Street

The Rotunda on Gorokhovaya is considered one of the most mystical places in St. Petersburg because of urban legends of Masonic rituals performed there

Rotunda on Gorokhovaya is considered one of the most mystical places in St. Petersburg because of urban legends about Masonic rituals performed there

Rotunda is a mystical place in a house on Gorokhovaya Street, which was built in 1827 by merchant Ustinov. The house itself is already strange: there are no apartments on the first floor at all, the second floor does not exist in principle, and there are three apartments on the third floor. The left spiral staircase of this house leads to nowhere, simply ending. The legend adds to the horror that in the 19th century secret meetings of the Freemasons took place here, which were banned in Russia in 1822.

This explains the huge number of mysterious and inexplicable wall symbols. By the way, at the foot of the stairs is a door, leading into the basement, where the rite of initiation into the Freemasons took place. Rumor has it that anyone who tried to enter the basement instantly grew old or became insane. What is interesting, they say there are six such Rotundas in St. Petersburg, and on the map they form a single pentagram.

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Mysterious sphinxes

The mysterious ancient Egyptian sphinxes on University Quay in St. Petersburg appeared at the height of Egyptomania in Europe

The mysterious ancient Egyptian sphinxes on Universitetskaya Embankment in St. Petersburg appeared at the height of Egyptomania in Europe.

In 1832, sphinxes were delivered to St. Petersburg from the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. Two years later they were installed on the embankment in front of the Academy of Arts. According to Egyptian legend, the sphinxes have magic, which can protect the tomb of the pharaoh. The main thing is not to disturb the sphinxes themselves, and especially not to take them away from their homeland.

There are legends that being near the ancient sphinxes for a long time, let alone touching them, threatens a person with mental disorder. Surprisingly, the sphinxes’ facial expressions change during the day: calm and serene in the morning, ominous and even threatening in the evening. Some believe that the sphinxes, which are about 35 centuries old, still do not lose hope of returning home to guard the tomb of the resting pharaoh forever.

Grigory Rasputin’s apartment

Grigory Rasputin, a Siberian peasant who had a reputation in certain circles of St. Petersburg society as a royal friend, elder, and healer.

Grigory Rasputin was a Siberian peasant who had a reputation in certain circles of St. Petersburg society as a royal friend, elder, and healer

The former apartment of Grigory Rasputin, located on Gorokhovaya Street, 64, is shrouded in mysticism. Here the Siberian peasant lived with his two daughters in a five-room apartment. In front of his house always lined up from ordinary people to the nobility. Rasputin was happy to help absolutely everyone. Someone asked for healing from a serious illness, someone to help look into the future. In December 1916 Gregory went to the Yusupov Palace, where he was killed Felix Yusupov and his accomplices.

They say that the spirit of Rasputin still lives in the house on Gorokhovaya. His portrait even now adorns the wall of the common kitchen. Residents of the house claims that they still sometimes at night they hear quiet footsteps and a man’s voice. And the most interesting thing is that to this day at the address of the apartment Rasputin letters addressed to the former owner. People even now believe in the power of this man and ask him for help.

The riddle of “The Queen of Spades

And again Pushkin, more precisely his work “The Queen of Spades”. His story with the three cards is not made up, but taken from real life. The prototype of the old countess, the protagonist of the work, was Natalia Golitsina, a former lady-in-waiting of Russian Empress Catherine II. A couple of months before the writing of this novel, the poet lived not far from the mansion of Natalia Petrovna, who lived at 10 Malaya Morskaya Street, where there is now a polyclinic.

It is said that Golitsina’s nephew personally told Pushkin that after his next big loss the old woman told him the secret of the “three cards” (three, seven and ace), which the magician Count Saint-Germain had entrusted to her. This story inspired the poet, as did the story of Natalya Petrovna’s death. Rumor has it that before her death the old princess saw the ghost of a black officer, who took her to the other world.

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After that the spirit of Golitsina himself inhabited the house on Malaya Morskaya. The most interesting thing is that the composer Tchaikovsky, who wrote his famous opera after Pushkin’s story of the same title, died of cholera spending the last days of his life in the house on the street, where Golitsina lived. And in the apartment of his brother Modest, which was directly opposite the mansion of Natalia Petrovna.

Most horrifying is that Pushkin and Tchaikovsky die three years after the publication of their works. Alexander Sergeyevich’s novel was printed in 1834, and he died in 1837, and Pyotr Ilyich’s opera was first staged in 1890, and he dies in 1893. What is this, the magic power of the number “three” or just a coincidence?

Either way, St. Petersburg is shrouded in riddles and mysteries. Perhaps all these stories are stirred up by the locals to attract tourists. Whether it’s true or fiction, everyone can decide for himself. But still there is something magical about this atmospheric city and its attractions. We suggest you learn the secrets of the Hermitage parquet, which captivates visitors no less than works of art.

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As soon as the sun disappears below the horizon, the most mystical time of day arrives, and the unclean powers take a walk. We tell you about the most mystical places in St. Petersburg, where you can meet the twilight and get your dose of creepy impressions.

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Ghost of Mikhailovsky Castle

Ghost of St. Michael’s Castle Part of the Russian Museum

The saddest and most harmless ghost of St. Petersburg is waiting for visitors on the second floor of his castle.

Castle “on water”, Mikhailovsky Castle, is one of the most unusual places in St. Petersburg. The famous “safe” palace is the last resting place of Paul I: the tsar was so afraid for his life that in four years he built not even a palace, but a citadel, which is almost impossible to enter unnoticed. Here Paul was destined to spend only 40 days. The tsar was murdered in his bedroom. There is a legend that Paul’s spirit still lives in the castle today. Confirmation was given more than once by the local caretakers, the ghost even spoke to the particularly impressionable. Ordinary passers-by sometimes see Paul at night – the wandering figure of the poor Tsar with a candle in his hand, allegedly, can be seen in the window of the second floor of the castle.

Rotunda on Gorokhovaya

Rotunda on Gorokhovaya

How to enter the fourth dimension in the heart of St. Petersburg and stay alive?

An ordinary house on the corner of Gorokhovaya and the Fontanka River holds a legendary place – the Rotunda, a gallery of six turquoise columns, an elegant cast-iron staircase and a dome on top. Some lovers of occult myths still believe that the Rotunda is none other than a gateway to the fourth dimension. At nightfall, the Prince of Darkness can be found here, for whom the Rotunda is a portal through which the Devil descends to Earth. According to legend, a century ago the house belonged to Count Zubov, who organized in the Rotunda meetings of members of the secret Masonic lodge. In the basement, for example, a rite of initiation could take place. Curious look in it at night, allegedly, waiting for instant old age, insanity, and even death. And the modern inhabitants of the house, who are used to live in a mystical environment, probably have something interesting in store for those who want to sneak here at night. Another legend associated with Rotunda says that directly under it there is an underground passage leading to Vitebsk station, and if you sit in a certain position on the stairs, you can see suddenly appeared seventh column. In addition, the Rotunda has extraordinary acoustics (which is probably why in Soviet times it was a gathering place for underground youth, mostly musicians, among whom are very famous names – Viktor Tsoi, Konstantin Kinchev and others). If you stand facing any wall and whisper quietly to yourself, the words will echo around the square and then return to the place where they were spoken.

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The ghost of Sofia Perovskaya

The Ghost of Sophia Perovskaya

Where does St. Petersburg’s creepiest ghost reside?

An urban legend says that once a year, in March, on a foggy and damp night, when the snow and rain blind the eyes of passersby, on one of the bridges over the Griboyedov Canal you can meet the ghost of Sophia Perovskaya. The girl’s face is blue with suffocation, and in her hands is a handkerchief, with which in March 1881 she gave the sign to those who threw a bomb first into the carriage of Alexander II, and then in himself. The murderers of the tsar were caught and hanged immediately, but some people claimed that on the very next day after the execution Sofia Perovskaya stood on the Catherine canal and waved her white handkerchief. Today the meeting with a ghost does not bode well, and the wave of the white handkerchief informs the casual passerby of the imminent death.

The Mystery of The Queen of Spades

The spirit of the old countess on Malaya Morskaya Street takes the souls of everyone who ever appears here.

It is known that the story with the three cards – “three, seven, ace” – was not an invention of Alexander Pushkin, as well as the figure of the old countess from the story “Queen of Spades”. At 10, Malaya Morskaya Street, lived the maid of honor of Empress Catherine II, Princess Natalia Petrovna Golitsina. Pushkin met the woman when only rumors of her former glory remained. Her hair turned gray and the ranks of her admirers thinned. The young nephew of the countess, a merchant and a gambler, told the poet how one day after another big loss the old woman told him the secret of “three cards”. Pushkin was inspired by the story. Influenced him and the story of death Golitsina. His nephew said that his aunt told him about the ghost of a black officer, rejected his chevalier, who at the end of his life began to come to Golitsina and call her to the other world. After her death the spirit of Natalia Petrovna settled in the Malaya Morskaya Street, and according to legend it took with it more than one soul of those who had lived in the mansion after her. Among them was the soul of the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who died suddenly in the house on Malaya Morskaya Street 13 after returning from Florence, where he had completed his opera The Queen of Spades not long before.

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Malookhtinsky cemetery

Malookhtinsky Cemetery

It’s not just ghosts that can be found at St. Petersburg’s scariest cemetery.

Malookhtinsky cemetery is considered a haven for witches, suicides and fans of occult rituals. Old Believers were buried here, as well as “dashing people” – alchemists and suicides, those whom the Orthodox Church prohibited to bury at all. They say that at night the glow comes from the graves here, and the restless souls wander from one fence to another in search of clean souls of passers-by. Needless to say, that the meeting with them does not bode well.

The Tower of Immortality

Tower of Immortality 6+

The Tower of Immortality will only reveal the secret to those who can read the code of the universe, encrypted by the apothecary Pel.

In the courtyard of the famous pharmacy of Wilhelm Pel at Vasilevsky Island, 16, there is a round brick tower with the height of 11 meters. Its surface is painted with numbers. The symbols encrypt the code of the universe, the secret of immortality, which will be revealed only to the one who comes here at midnight on a certain day. It is not enough to find the key, one must also fight the griffins, the birds that guard the secret of life of the apothecary Pel. It is said that during the day the apothecary made and sold medicine, and in the evenings he practiced black magic.

The Bronze Horseman alive

The revived Bronze Horseman

If you encounter the revived Bronze Horseman in the street, do not run along the sidewalk, but bow respectfully to the founder of the city.

It is no secret that during his lifetime detractors called Peter the Great the Antichrist. So the ability of the monument dedicated to him, and standing on a pedestal made of thunder-stone – part of an ancient pagan sanctuary – to come to life at night does not seem surprising. On rainy autumn nights Peter the Great jumps off his horse, walks around his city and comes back, taking his previous position. The revived Bronze Horseman is a quite harmless phenomenon, but the place on which it stands is anomalous. Many accidents have happened and are still happening here.

Watch KudaGo video about the seven most terrible legends of St. Petersburg.

Watch video KudaGo about the seven most terrible legends of St. Petersburg

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