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Rubricator / / Population / Urban Living
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Amusement Establishments (entry)

AMUSEMENT ESTABLISHMENTS. At the beginning of the 18th century the prototype of amusement establishments were "garden entertainments" with music and dances, were held in the Summer Garden

Anniversaries of Petersburg (centenary, bicentenary, two hundred fiftieth anniversary, tercentenary)

ANNIVERSARIES OF ST. PETERSBURG. St. Petersburg's first anniversary celebration (the city's centenary) took place in 1803. Celebrations started on the morning of 16 May 1803


ASSEMBLIES (from French assemblee, gathering), introduced by Peter the Great as a form of higher society, following the European model. The Decree of 26.11.1718, announced by St. Petersburg general chief of police A.M


BALLS, evening parties with dances, one of the entertainments of high society in St. Petersburg from the 18th - the early 20th centuries. Balls originated from assemblies, where, according to Tsar Peter the Great's order, minuet, allemande, courante

Bare-knuckle Boxing

BARE-KNUCKLE BOXING, an old Russian popular amusement, grew out of combat technique practised by Old Russian unmounted warriors. Bare-knuckle boxing took place on holidays only, and usually several people took part in it

Brothel (entry)

BROTHEL (maison of tolerance), establishments where prostitutes provided sexual services for men. Secret houses of prostitution existed in St. Petersburg since the 18th century the first official public houses (brothels) appeared in 1843

Carrousels (merry-go-rounds)

CARROUSELS (MERRY-GO-ROUNDS), 1) popular amusement, device for riding at open-air festivites (also known as a “wheeling machine”). In St. Petersburg they were organised from the early 18th century on

Casinos (entry)

CASINOS (from Italian casino - house), a kind of gambling-house. In the Russian Empire and USSR gambling-houses and casinos were officially banned. The first legal casinos appeared in St

Cinizelli's Circus

CINIZELLI'S CIRCUS, the first stationary circus in St. Petersburg. It was founded by the Italian circus actor and entrepreneur G. Cinizelli (1815-1881). In 1869 the circus family of Cinizelli, touring Russia, joined K

Circus (entry)

CIRCUS. The establishment of circuses in St. Petersburg was preceded by traditional Russian amusements and games where trained animals took part in the fun. In the first years of the city's live bear-baiting (bear comedies) appeared in St

City Holidays (entry)

CITY HOLIDAYS. In the early 18th century tsar Peter the Great established a new type of holidays which were divided into official (or state holidays) - victory celebrations, jubilees etc. and popular carnivals (see Popular carnivals)

Clubs (entry)

CLUBS (in the 18th - beginning of the 20th century, also called Meetings), until the beginning of the 20th century they were voluntary corporate or class public institutions for leisure and socializing

Dance Classes (entry)

DANCE CLASSES, in the 18th century - classes and schools for dance training. Soon after Peter's introduction of the ballroom dances (in the early 18th century) into court ceremony dances became one of the most important cultural skills

Drinking Establishments

DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS. Special places where alcoholic beverages are sold to be drunk on the premises appeared in St. Petersburg in the first years of its existence

English Club

ENGLISH CLUB, English assembly, one of the first club-type establishments in Russia. It was founded on March 12, 1770 at Her Majesty Catherine II's pleasure by English entrepreneurs F. Gardner and C. Gardiner


FIREWORKS (in the 18th century - poteshnye ogni, toy-lights). The tradition of lighting firecrackers on holidays in St. Petersburg was introduced by Peter I. Fireworks were usually combined with illumination - luminous scenery (allegories)

Funfair Booths

FUNFAIR BOOTHS (Russian balagan, der. from Persian bala?ane - balcony, upper room), makeshift buildings for giving performances during popular carnivals. The first mentions of comedy sheds in St


GRAMOPHONE, the first phonographs appeared in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 1880s, shortly after they had been invented by T. Edison. At the beginning of the 1890s they were replaced by gramophone records and gramophones

Ice House

ICE HOUSE, or ICE PALACE, was constructed in December 1739 - January 1740 (architect P.M. Eropkin, engineer G.V. Kraft) by the order of Empress Anna Ioannovna at the bank of the Neva, near the Winter Palace, to celebrate the mock wedding of prince M

Jubilee of St. Petersburg

JUBILEE of St. Petersburg (City Day) is an annual celebration in honour of the foundation of St. Petersburg. Since 1983, it has taken place on the final weekend of May. It includes a broad variety of festivities (concerts, processions, etc

Manufactured Mineral Water House

MANUFACTURED MINERAL WATER HOUSE, founded in 1834 in Novaya Derevnya (Primorsky Avenue, former Novoderevenskaya Embankment) as a medical institution containing mineral waters from 30 springs (house physician Y.F. Arnzte)


MASQUERADES, masquerade balls. A sort of a carnival where people wear masks. In Russia masquerades were put into practice by Tsar Peter the Great in the early 18th century (the larks of Drunkumenical Council

Menageries (entry)

MENAGERIES. 1) In the beginning of the 18th century - hunting areas in the appendages of tsar's property. In 1718 a menagerie like that was established in Sarskaya farmstead (see Tsarskoe Selo)

Noble Assembly

NOBLE ASSEMBLY, public club establishment, originating from the so-called Merchants Assembly that was founded in 1782 by a group consisting mainly of German merchants who had resigned from the Burger Club (Petty Bourgeois Assembly, or Schuster Club)

Opening of the Neva River for Navigation

OPENING OF THE NEVA RIVER FOR NAVIGATION, an official holiday from the beginning of the 18th - beginning of the 20th century, celebrating the Neva's clearing from ice and the beginning of the Neva Shipping

Palace for Young Creativity

PALACE FOR YOUNG CREATIVITY (until 1990 - Leningrad City Pioneer Palace, to 1991 - Leningrad City Palace of Youth Creativity) (39 Nevsky Prospect), opened on 12.2

Panoramas (entry)

PANORAMAS, 1) A genre of fine art. The first panoramic view of St. Petersburg was created by artist A. F. Zubov in 1716. The most famous panoramas include: The Splendid Avenues by artist M. I. Makhaev (1753), Panorama of St. Petersburg by J. A

Popular Carnivals

POPULAR CARNIVALS, one of the forms of mass popular entertainment. In the 18th- 19th centuries up to 30 carnivals were arranged in St. Petersburg annually. Representatives of all the estates and even members of the royal family took part in them

Public Halls (entry)

PUBLIC HALLS, a special premise for informal mass events. The first public hall was arranged in banker A.A. Ral's house (On the Moika River Embankment, beside Red Bridge; not preserved)

Ryumochnye (entry)

RYUMOCHNYE, drinking establishments, appeared in St. Petersburg at the end of the 19th century, meant for guests not looking for a long meal. A glass of vodka was offered with snacks such as sandwich with caviar, fillets

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