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Entries / Toponymy of St. Petersburg

Toponymy of St. Petersburg

Categories / City Topography/Toponymy

TOPONYMY OF ST. PETERSBURG, a corpus of names of geographical points situated on the territory of St. Petersburg. Names of rivers, islands, and villages located on the city's future territory appeared long before its foundation, and are of both Finno-Ugrian and Slavic origin. The following are the most widespread names: rivers Neva, Okhta, Korpiyoki (Karpovka) and Mya (later Moika); islands Vasilievsky, Berezovy (later Gorodskoy, Peterburgsky); villages Kalyula (Kalinkina) and Kupchino. The Swedish Fortress Nyenschantz and the town of Nyen (Russian Kantsy) occupied the right bank of the Neva River, where it was met by the Okhta River. On 16 May 1703, a fortress was laid down on Zayachy (Hare's) Island, which on 29 June 1703 received the name of Sankt-Piter-Burkh (the town of St. Peter). The colloquial denomination Piter appeared in the early 18th century. Beginning in the early 1700s, settlements such as Morskaya, Pushkarskaya, Nemetskaya and Grecheskaya, Posadskaya and others started to spring up in various areas of St. Petersburg, as well as its first streets, including Dvoryanskaya Street, Oruzheynaya Street, Belozerskaya Street, and Troitskaya Square. The numbered lines of Vasilievsky Island, named in 1718, became the first official street names. In 1738-41, over the course of the development of the general city plan, the St. Petersburg Construction Commission came up with 288 variants, not all of which were approved, but about twenty of which have survived, including Nevsky Prospect, Zagorodny Avenue, Sadovaya Street, Italyanskaya Street, Razyazzhaya Street, Bolshaya Konyushennaya Street, Konyushennaya Square, Kuznechny Lane, Povarskoy Lane, and Svechnoy Lane. In the second half of the 18th century and all the way into the mid-19th century, names were assigned to single streets or small clusters of streets. It was not uncommon for names that emerged spontaneously to be officially confirmed. Basic street naming principles were decided upon during this period, determined mostly by nearby public and industrial objects, by the professional and social distribution of the community, by house owners' names, by the geographical peculiarities of the locality, and a few other criteria, resulting in names such as the Palace and Admiralty Embankments, Angliisky (English) Avenue, St. Isaac's and Sennaya Squares, Dumskaya Street, Bankovsky Lane, Barmaleeva Street and Plutalova Street, Anichkov Bridge and Kokushkin Bridge, Borovaya Street and Bolotnaya (Swamp) Street, and Pesochnaya (Sand) Embankment. Since the second half of the 1850s, streets in St. Petersburg were given names of Russian cities and provinces; those located on the Peterburgskaya Part were named after the cities of the St. Petersburg province (Gatchinskaya Street, Kolpinskaya Street, Oranienbaumskaya Street), those on the Moskovskaya Part after cities of the Moscow province (Podolskaya Street, Vereyskaya Street, Bronnitskaya Street), those on the Vyborgskaya Part after cities in Finland (Gelsingofskaya Street, Neyschlotsky Lane, Vazassky Lane), and those on the Narvskaya Part after Baltic cities and provinces (Kurlyandskaya Street, Liflyandskaya Street, Derptsky Lane). In the 1880-1910s, some of the streets were named after emperors, cultural figures and scholars (Botkinskaya Street, Pirogovskaya Embankment, Glinki Street, Zhukovskogo Street, Dostoevskogo Street, Lermontovsky Avenue). Street names containing adjectives, as was traditional for the 18th century, were augmented by their denomination in the genitive case. On 18 August 1914, St. Petersburg was renamed Petrograd. After October of 1917, many streets were renamed in memory of revolutionary events and fallen revolutionaries (Avenue of October 25, Street of July 3, Uritskogo Square and Vorovskogo Square, Roshalya Embankment, Svobody (Freedom) Bridge and Ravenstva (Equality) Bridge). On 26 January 1924, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. From the 1920s, renaming of streets in memory of scholars and cultural figures continued (Tchaikovsky Street, Griboedova Canal, Zodchego Rossi Street). On 13 January 1944, over the course of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, 20 streets in the city centre were changed back to their historical names (including Nevsky Prospect, Liteiny Prospect, Vladimirsky Avenue, Sadovaya Street, St. Isaac's Square and Palace Square). From the 1960s, residential development plans assigned a specific street naming theme to each district. Nevsky District commemorates the revolutionary events and figures of the revolutionary movement (Obukhovskoy Oborony Avenue, Bolshevikov Avenue, Iskrovsky Avenue, Krupskoy Street, Babushkina Street); the Rzhevka-Porokhorovy area explores the theme of labour heroism (Peredovikov Avenue, Nastavnikov Avenue, Udarnikov Avenue); the Moskovsky, Kirovsky and Krasnoselsky Districts commemorate the defense of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 (Narodnogo Opolcheniya Avenue and Veteranov Avenue, Pobedy Street and Square). The Kalininsky and Vyborgsky Districts encompass Nauki (Science) Avenue, Kultury (Culture)Avenue, Prosveshchenya (Education) Avenue, with cross streets named after prominent scholars (Sofia Kovalevskaya Street, Karpinskogo Street) and cultural figures (Kustodieva Street, Cherkasova Street). Navy related street names dominate Vasilievsky Island (Morskaya Embankment, Korablestroiteley Street). The area of the Commandant's Aerodrome describes the development of national aviation (Ispytateley (Test-pilot) Avenue, Parashchyutnaya (Parachute) Street, Polikarpova Alley). Most of the streets in the Frunzensky District are named after former socialist cities (Prazhskaya Street, Budapeshtsaya Street, Sofiyskaya Street). In the late 1980s - early 1990s, a number of streets were changed back to their historical names (Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Avenue, Pochtamtskaya Street, Millionnaya Street and Bolshaya Monetnaya Street, Preobrazhenskaya Square and Sennaya Square), while new names were assigned according to historical heritage.

References: Сомина Р. А. Ленинград в названиях улиц. Л., 1960; Кукушкина В. В. Топонимика Петербурга - Петрограда второй половины XIX в. по планам города. СПб., 1996; Ее же. Топонимика Санкт-Петербурга первой половины XIX - начала XX вв. (до 1917 г.) по планам города. СПб., 2000; Ее же. Топонимика Санкт-Петербурга XVIII в. по планам города. СПб., 2002; Никитенко Г. Ю. Официальные названия в топонимии Петербурга первой половины XVIII в. // Феномен Петербурга: Тр. ... конф. СПб., 2001. С. 471-490; Горбачевич К. С., Хабло Е. П. Почему так названы?: О происхождении названий улиц, площадей, островов, рек и мостов С.-Петербурга. 5-е изд. СПб., 2002; Топонимическая энциклопедия Санкт-Петербурга. 2-е изд., испр. и доп. СПб., 2003.

G. Y. Nikitenko.

Admiralteyskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Angliiskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Angliisky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Babushkina St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bankovsky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Barmaleeva St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshaya Konyushennaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshaya Monetnaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshevikov Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Borovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Botkinskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bronnitskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Budapeshtskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Cherkasova St./Saint Petersburg, city
Derptsky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Dostoevskogo Street/Saint Petersburg, city
Dumskaya Street/Saint Petersburg, city
Dvadtsat Pyatogo Oktyabrya Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Dvortsovaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Dvortsovaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Gelsingforsskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Glinka St./Saint Petersburg, city
Iskrovsky Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city
Ispytateley Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city
Italyanskaya Street/Saint Petersburg, city
Karpinsky St./Saint Petersburg, city
Konyushennaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Korablestroiteley St./Saint Petersburg, city
Krupskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Kultury Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Kurlyandskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Kustodieva St./Saint Petersburg, city
Kuznechny Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Lermontovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Liflyandskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Liteiny Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Millionnaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Morskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Narodnogo Opolcheniya Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Nastavnikov Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Nauki Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Neishlotsky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city
Obukhovskoy Oborony Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Parashyutnaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Peredovikov St./Saint Petersburg, city
Pesochnaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Pirogovskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Plutalova St./Saint Petersburg, city
Pobedy Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Pobedy St./Saint Petersburg, city
Pochtamtskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Podolskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Polikarpova Alley/Saint Petersburg, city
Povarskaya Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Prazhskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Preobrazhenskaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Prosveshcheniya Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Razyezzhaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Sadovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Sennaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Sofia Kovalevskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Sofiiskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Svechnoy Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Tchaikovskogo St./Saint Petersburg, city
Troitskaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Udarnikov Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Vazasky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city
Vereiskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Veteranov Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Vladimirsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Zagorodny Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city
Zhukovskogo Street/Saint Petersburg, city
Zodchego Rossi Street/Saint Petersburg, city
Saint Petersburg, city

Горбачевич К. С., Хабло Е. П. Почему так названы?: О происхождении назв. улиц, площадей, островов, рек и мостов С.-Петербурга. 5-е изд. СПб., 2002
Сомина Р. А. Ленинград в названиях улиц. Л., 1960
Топонимическая энциклопедия Санкт-Петербурга. СПб., 2002
Кукушкина В. В. Топонимика Санкт-Петербурга XVIII в. по планам города. СПб., 2002
Никитенко Г. Ю. Официальные названия в топонимии Петербурга первой половины XVIII в. // Феномен Петербурга: Тр. ... конф. СПб., 2001

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Commission for St. Petersburg Construction
Siege of 1941-44