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Squares and Avenues of St.Petersburg - Ostrovskogo Square

In the 18th century this site belonged to the Anichkov Palace and was the border of the city. On the place of square there was laid out the palace garden with ponds and hothouses. On the spot of Alexandrinsky Theater was built an Italian pavilion for temporary painting exhibitions. After Catherine II presented Anichkov palace to her favorite count Potemkin, the pavilion was used for storing the library of brothers Zalusskie, that became the base for the future Emperor Public Library.

In the very beginning of 19th century the pavilion was rebuilt for theater performances and was named Maliy (Small) Theater (or sometimes French theater). The building of Public library was finished several years later and that formed the area of future square.

When the theater became too small for increasing number of visitors, it was decided to rebuild the building and re-planned all the area of the square. The blueprints of K.Rossi were chosen as the project and the reconstruction stated.  In 1828 - 1832 the new building of Public Library was added to existed one. During those times the new building of the Theater was finished and behind the theater was laid out a fantastic symmetrical ensemble of Zodchego-Rossi Street. It’s famous for its accurate dimensions (length of 220 meters and width and height of the building are 22 meters), impressing with its fantastic perspective and magnificence of colonnades on the both sides of the streets. Nowadays on the odd side of the street in the building of former Ministry of public education are located several committees of city administration. On the even side of the street in the building of Emperor Theaters’ direction is located the State Museum of theater and musical arts and Theater library.

In front of the theater was laid out a garden, where for the 100th anniversary of Catherine the Great’s accession to the throne was mounted a monument to Catherine II and the garden got the name – Cathedine’s garden.

In the end of 19th century the architect Schreter created the building of Credit Company of St.Petersburg, that nowadays is occupied by the Bank Saint Petersburg. The Public library got the 3rd newly built branch for its purposes.

During the Soviet Times the square was renamed in honour of Writer Ostrovsky and then it was shortened to Ostrovskogo Square.  The theater got the name of Pushkin and the public library was named after writer Saltikov–Shedrin (nowadays renamed to Russian national Library).

In 20th century its became popular for artists to exhibit their works next to the railings of garden on Ostrovskogo Square (still called Catherine’s garden) and offer to paint the portraits of tourists and citizens.  The banks of the garden are sometimes occupied by the chess-players and the square itself is a popular place for city’s festivals and fairs, such as annual Milk Festival or festival of Ice-cream or Christmas fairy. 

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