Eliseyev Emporium in St Petersburg

Short description

Eliseyev Emporium is one of the most remarkable buildings in the centre of St Petersburg. It was built in 1903 on a cross of Nevsky Prospect with Malaya Sadovaya Street near the Singer House. It is a large retail and entertainment complex, including a famous food hall.

History

At the end of the 18th century, a three-story house was located in this place. The building has repeatedly changed its owners, the editorial office worked there for short periods. Another 2 floors were built in the second half of the 19th century. A pawn shop, restaurant and shop were located in it.

The merchant Grigory Eliseyev bought the building in 1898. Gabriel Baranovsky became the architect of his new project. First, he changed the building location on Malaya Sadovaya Street, and then he built a well-known Emporium with a theatre and a food hall.

The store worked during the Soviet era but was renamed Gastronom No. 1. In the 30s of the 20th century, the Comedy and Satire Theater was located on the second floor, where performances went on even during the Siege of Leningrad.

Family history

At the beginning of the 19th century, Peter Eliseyev moved from Yaroslavl to St Petersburg and opened a grocery store there. The emphasis was on the quality of foreign goods: dates, fresh fruits, cheese from England and the Netherlands. After Peter’s death, the business was handed over to his wife Maria Gavrilovna, but in fact, everything was ruled by his sons.

In addition to imported products, the brothers decided to sell wine. They had their own fleet, and to control the quality of production, they did not buy ready-made alcohol but brought grapes from France, Spain and Portugal. The initial processing of the berries took place abroad, and in this form were delivered to the wine cellars in St. Petersburg.

The Eliseyevs brothers completely controlled the process of winemaking. They began to supply this drink to the royal family in the 1840s.

At the end of the 19th century, Grigory Eliseyev, the grandson of Peter Eliseyev, became the owner of the business. He transformed the trading house into a partnership, which meant a more flexible board structure. Next, Gregory began to built new food halls in different cities:

  • St Petersburg
  • Moscow
  • Kiev

The food hall on Nevsky Prospekt was like a modern entertainment centre: in addition to the grocery store, there was a theatre and a restaurant.

Architecture

The Eliseyev Emporium designed by Gabriel Baranovsky. The owner spared no expense to the finishing of the food hall which is quite different from most buildings on Nevsky Prospect. Emporium was built in Art Nouveau style with elements of eclecticism and classicism.

There are no walls. The panels are held on columns lined with red granite. Each of them has its own figure:

  • Science
  • Trade
  • Industry
  • Art

The main facade is made in the form of a huge arch with a height of 5 floors. It is divided by metal vertical panels into 9 compartments, which visually extends it. There are small narrow windows on the upper tier. The separating lattice is so elegant that it resembles thin strings, and makes the facade look like a lyre.

Bright stained-glass windows, metal floral ornaments, chestnut leaves carved from granite – all these decorations can be seen on building facades. Baranovsky placed a balcony over the main showcase at the foyer of the theatre. This technique is typical for apartment buildings in France.

The roof deserves special attention. All roofs of buildings in St Petersburg were of neutral classical forms in those days. It is decorated with 4 steles with masks of lions and flowerpots, similar to the royal globus cruciger.

Interiors

Inside the Eliseyev Emporium on the ground floor there was a store, a concert hall – above, and then a restaurant. The interior of the food hall has the following decorative elements:

  • stucco moulding
  • stainedglass
  • forged gratings
  • metal candelabra
  • floral decor

The main element of the foyer decor is the colonnade. The ceilings on the third floor seem higher due to some architectural techniques

A staircase runs through all floors. Each span is decorated with stained-glass windows corresponding to the theme: on the bottom are the store shelves, and above are the characters of the theatre. Distinctive features of the entire building were the original colours: rich brown-pink, calm green, reflections of mirrors and glass.

Modern food hall

The Eliseyev Emporium has been open to visitors since 2012. High-quality goods mainly of foreign production are on its shelves. You can find:

  • confectionery
  • fish and caviar
  • meat and sausages
  • cheese
  • wine
  • grocery
  • souvenir products

There are a palm tree and cosy tables right in the middle of the hall where you can drink a cup of coffee with a delicious dessert. The Eliseyev Emporium has a wonderful bakery.

There are also two restaurants where a luxurious atmosphere takes you to the beginning of the 20th century:

  • Mezzanine
  • Sclad № 5

The Eliseyev Emporium in St Petersburg offers custom-made cakes, concierge services and gift baskets

You can also book a Private Sightseeing Tour. It includes a themed trip by car with a personal guide, lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants in Eliseyev Emporium.

Private tours that show you Eliseyev Emporium

tour1

 

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Alexandra
Hi! I'm an editor of PetersburgExpert blog. We look for the most interesting places in St. Petersburg and tell you about them.
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