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Entries / Traktirs (entry)

Traktirs (entry)

Categories / City Services/Housing and Communal Services
Categories / City Services/Restaurants, Cafes, Cafeterias

TRAKTIRS. Taverns, inns, and hotels with restaurants (eating-houses); from the second half of the 19th century, they were much like restaurants, but of a lower rank. In St. Petersburg, traktirs were arranged along main roads (Krasny Kabachok on Petergofsky Road). By a decree issued by Emperor Peter I, 15 traktirs or herberges (from the German, 'die Herberge", meaning "inn") were opened in St. Petersburg in 1724. In the suburbs and on the outskirts, traktirs usually occupied a whole block, with a traktir (restaurant) set on the lower floor, guestrooms on upper floors, and stables, coach-houses, a well, and a forage shed in the yard. In the first quarter of the 18th century, there was a traktir at the corner of Sredny Avenue of Vasilievsky Island and Kadetskaya Line, visited mostly by workers engaged in construction of houses along the Malaya Neva River (in the late 18th century, the London Traktir was constructed on that spot, and existed there up to 1898). In 1770, traktirs were divided into several categories (they were assigned numbers according to the excise paid), determining the definition of "traktir establishments", including hotels, traktirs proper and furnished apartments. Traktir Establishment Regulations (1861) defined a traktir as "an establishment open to the public, where either one can rent room and board, or buy food and drink"; restaurants, eating-houses, dukhans, French shops and Rhine cellars (see Drinking-houses), canteens, cook-shops, theatre and hotel buffets were also officially considered traktirs. With the development of the railway network and the reduction of horse-drawn carting, traktirs turned into public food establishments without guest-rooms. By the late 19th century, there were 320 traktir-keepers running 644 traktirs throughout St. Petersburg, located mainly near factories, workshops, markets, and offices; these traktirs employed some 11,000 people. By the end of the 19th century there were 3 types of traktirs: (1) "proper" traktirs and second-rate restaurants; (2) traktirs consisting of "front" and "back" sections (with plain furniture); (3) common-folk traktirs (usually in a basement, rarely on the first floor). Traktirs servers were called polovye, "floor servants" (mainly peasants from Yaroslavl). The cuisine was exclusively Russian; tea was served in teapots with lump sugar on plates. Lighted tobacco-pipes with removable tips made of goose-quill were offered. Traktirs featured a "checkroom", a "skating-rink" (a buffet table with a variety of snacks), a large hall, "parlours", and "bottoms" for wine trade; an "orchestrion" (a mechanical musical instrument) was played there (later, in the early 20th century, a phonograph was used). In contrast to restaurants, which were usually named after their owners, traktirs either bore the names of cities (Paris, San Francisco), or had no names at all. After October 1917, traktirs ceased to exist, and the word became a derogatory term for a restaurant (along with the word "kabak").

References: Бахмутов К. М. Алфавитный указатель к приказам по С.-Петербургской полиции. СПб., 1870. С. 584-585; Дунин А. А. К истории трактира на Руси // Наша старина. 1915. № 5. С. 448-459; Беловинский Л. Слово о трактире // Былое. 1995. № 5. С. 7.

I. A. Bogdanov.

Peter I, Emperor

Siezdovskaya Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city
Sredny Ave of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city

Дунин А. А. К истории трактира на Руси // Наша старина, 1915
Бахмутов К.М. Алфавитный указатель к приказам по С.-Петербургской полиции. СПб., 1870
Беловинский Л. Слово о трактире // Былое, 1995

The subject Index
Krasny Kabachok, tavern
Drinking Establishments

Restaurants (entry)

RESTAURANTS, appeared in St. Petersburg in the early 19th century. The first "auberge," also called a tavern (see Traktirs), was located at the Hotel du Nord on Ofitserskaya Street, and was considered a "restaurant" in 1805