St Nicholas Market

St Nicholas’s Market was built by an unknown architect near the St Nicholas Naval Cathedral, on a rectangular plot of land bordered by Sadovaya Street, Nikolskaya Street, Kryukov Canal and the Catherine Canal (1788–89). Called a “private market” as the crown did not contribute to its construction, it was originally called the Ochakov Market after the capture of the Ottoman fort of Ochakov in the Russo-Turkish War (1788). Based on the traditional layout of eighteenth-century markets, St Nicholas’s Market was particularly famed for its eateries and cheap labour exchanges. By the early twentieth century, it was no longer the thriving place it had once been: “It was an unpopular and somewhat boring market, with grocery shops along Sadovaya Street and various warehouses along Nikolskaya. Dishevelled goods were traded in the basement premises ... Opposite the rows of shops, along the Catherine Canal (there was no boulevard back then), was a dusty, trampled square, where various seasonal workers – decorators, carpenters, slaters and the like – jostled one another from spring to late autumn, from morning to night” (D. A. Zasosov & V. I. Pysin, From the Life of St Petersburg (1890s–1900s). Notes of Eye-Witnesses, St Petersburg, 1991, p. 94).

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