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Entries / Islands (entry)

Islands (entry)

Categories / City Topography/Geographical Objects/Islands

ISLANDS. A characteristic trait of St. Petersburg is its many islands, as it is located on the Neva River delta. There were 33 islands with official names in St. Petersburg in the late 2002 (not counting Kronstadt Fortress and small islands on ponds and lakes). The total area is approximately 80 square kilometers and accounts for 6 % of the whole area of St. Petersburg within its administrative borders and 14 % of the area within the city limits. About one sixth of the city’s population are islanders. Among the largest islands are Bezymyanny Island 1,630 hectares in area, Kotlin Island 1,600 hectares in area, Vasilievsky Island 1,110 hectares in area, Petrogradsky Island 635 hectares in area, Dekabristov Island 400 hectares in area, Krestovsky Island 340 hectares in area, and Gutuevsky Island 320 hectares in area. In terms of their formation, all the islands are divided into natural islands formed by the branches of the Neva such as Vasilievsky Island, Petrogradsky Island, and Krestovsky Island, artificial islands formed after building canals and changing riverbeds such as Bezymyanny Island, Kolomensky Island, Kazansky Island, Spassky Island, and Admiralteysky Island, and the islands of the Kronstadt Archipelago including the glacial island of Kotlin and 17 forts and piers of the Kronstadt Fortress. The number and geometry of the island changed constantly as St. Petersburg developed. There were about 25 islands in the delta of the Neva in the early 18th century; among the largest were Hirvisaari (Vasilievsky), Koivusaari or Fomin (Petrogradsky), Ristisaari (Krestovsky), Pervushin between the Moika River and the Fontanka River, and Usadishche now comprising First Admiralteysky Island, Second Admiralteysky Island, Novo-Admiralteysky Island, and Summer Garden. The number approached 70 islands after multiple artificial streams and canals were built in the first third of the19th century. The redevelopment of the city that started in the mid-19th century involved backfilling some ponds and streams, thus decreasing the number of the islands. The construction of the Commercial Sea Port of St. Petersburg in 1874-85 brought to major changes in the number and geometry of the islands in the south of the delta near the Ekaterinhofka River. Thus, Bolshoy Rezvy Island, Volny Island, and Gladky Island were annexed to Gutuevsky Island and new islands appeared that were called dams including Grebenka Damba and Krivaya Damba. Dekabristov Island (former Goloday) was largely extended in the 20th century after the deposition of soil and annexation of Zhadimirovsky Island, Kashevarov Island, and Gonoropulo Island at the beginning of the century and Volny Island in 1960s. In terms of their destination, modern islands are divided into three groups. The first group includes islands with a developed network of streets built up with residential, public, and industrial buildings such as Vasilievsky Island, Petrogradsky Island, and Bezymyanny Island. The second group includes limited access islands occupied by industrial enterprises only such as Novo-Admiralteysky Island, Bely Island, Gryazny Island, Serny Island, and forts of Kronstadt Fortress. The other islands are mostly occupied by parks and architectural ensembles including the Summer Garden, Elagin Island, Zayachy Island, Ekaterinhofsky Island, and New Holland. See pictures on page 600.

Reference: Нежиховский Р. А. Река Нева и Невская губа. Л., 1981.

Е. А. Bondarchuk, P. Y. Yudin.

Нежиховский Р. А. Река Нева и Невская губа. Л., 1981

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Kronstadt Fortress
Kronstadt Fortress
Kronstadt Fortress