Vasilievsky ostrov

A short walk over Palace Bridge from the top of Nevsky prospekt will bring you to Vasilievsky ostrov ("Basil's Island", regularly abbreviated to "VO"), and one of the earliest parts of the original city. Designed by Peter the Great to be criss-crossed by canals, like Amsterdam, what remains of this plan are the wide avenues, a regular grid system, and street names which reflect the original plan. Today the city's main port is located at the west of the island, and welcomes cruise ships from around the world.

Apart from the fresh air from the Gulf of Finland and great views back across the Neva embankment to the Historic Center, there is plenty to keep you busy here with the Menshikov Palace, Peter's Kunstkamera and the Pushkin Literary Museum all within a short walk of the Strelka and the original Russian stock exchange building. The island is also home to the city's main university which ensures a large number of cheap and friendly restaurants and bars, and the neo-classical campus buildings are definitely worth a walk around. Finally if contemporary art is your passion, then you should also seek out Erarta and the Novy Museum, which are both located on the island.

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