• Ira Bliznets

Rich history of Astoria hotel in the heart of Saint Petersburg

Saint Isaac's Cathedral is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Saint Petersburg offering amazing view from its top all over the city. But even from the bottom of Cathedral at the Isaac's Square there are so many beautiful and interesting sights to see. Among them - Mariinsky Palace (where city government is located), Blue bridge - the widest one bridge in Saint Petersburg, amazing House of prince Lobanov-Rostovsky and, of course the two historic hotels - Angleterre and Astoria. This article is about the second, one of the most famous and well-recognized by Saint Petersburg tourists from all over the world.

This beautifully decorated chocolate-cake-looking building located on one of the most beautiful squares of the city hosts Astoria hotel from the very beginning of 20th century. It was named after the famous New York hotel "Waldorf-Astoria" to assure the potential guests about high standards of services and comfort not worse than at the luxurious foreign sister-hotel. The building of Saint Petersburg hotel was created by Russian-Swedish architect Fyodor Lidval. The neoclassical 6-floors building with elements of modern style was put up delicately cornering the square to let Saint Isaac's Cathedral stay open for sights.

The construction was finished only four years (instead of initial one year planned) and hotel was opened on December 23 of 1912. At those times it was the high-tech ultra-modern hotel with all the possible and even impossible commodities described in one of the architectural magazines: "Building of the hotel is meant to be fireproof, equipped with the latest heating systems, ventilation, plumbing, elevators and refrigerators etc. It will include 250 rooms, several big halls including one with stage and winter garden etc. The cellars are waterproof and are meant for stuff needs".

But Astoria did not have a chance to serve in its initial glory for long. After year and a half after its opening the First World War took place, and the hotel was turned into the house for senior officers. In revolutionary year of 1917 it's been taken by storm by the rude and dissolute guard sailors.

After the Great October Reolution the Bolshevik leaders headed by Lenin moved into the building, and Astoria became the "First house of Petrosovet". Then the building was nationalized and several years past given to the monopolist "Intourist". It had been running the hotel till the Second World War serving numerous guest, among them - Herbert Wells and Michail Bulgakov.

Astoria did not suffer from bombing in World War II so there was the military hospital hosted there, as well as stationary for honored citizens of Leningrad - writers, artists and musicians. After war the hotel served as a living house for artistic intelligence for some time, later returned to Intourist company.

The following years Astoria functioned as a hotel, starred in some movies by Russian famous directors -Eldar Ryazanov and Sergey Solovyov.

In the end on 20th century Astoria went through global reconstruction conducted by Russian and Finnish architects so that many people claimed it to change dramatically making the building contemporary to 1970s.

Nevertheless, this amazing hotel still exists and keeps on hosting guests from all around caring about its top-level service and comfort that it can still be proud off. If you want a five-star hotel in the center of Saint Petersburg with highest rates of hotel services try accomodation at this beautiful architectural creation of Lidval. But make sure to take care of it long in advance - it is constantly overbooked. You can easily book the hotel with our help, just let us know!

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