A CONTEMPORARY VIEW
BY David Savage/ Russ 599 2002/ summer 1, 2.
#1 southwest, entrance/exit to Sadovaya metro
When entering the square from the Sadovaya (Garden) metro station, you enter from an underpass, and the view is not what you would see upon leaving the Sennaya Station. The Sennaya Station, entrance and exits are raised above ground level and have a commanding view of the square. Nevertheless, upon climbing the stairs from the underpass to the square on your right, are the
ubiquitous golden arches of McDonalds.
#2 south, McDonalds
As you are passing McDonalds you traverse an ever-present mud puddle, if you look on your left you will see a wire mesh construction
fence and on your right a brand new row of large metal kiosks. Approximately fifty yards ahead is located the Sennaya station.
#4 south Sennaya metro station
From the raised vantage point of the Sennaya station one may see the entire square. At first you notice the line of hot meal carts standing about fifteen yards in front of you. If you look to your immediate right you see a kiosk village and behind them is a
# 5 east
four story dingy old building dark yellow with even darker stains. As you look back to the left towards the square Sadovaya Ulitsa enters from the right. Automobile traffic is not allowed through from
# 6 north
the east end of Sadovaya only the trams and construction vehicles have access. Directly opposite the square from the Sennaya Station
is a nineteenth century neo classical building, smaller in comparison to those throughout the square but striking nonetheless because it is located within the square, and not on the periphery.
#8 north, Sennaya Ploshchad Nine & Seven. #9 north, Sennaya Ploshchad Thirteen & Eleven
The buildings enclosing the square are from four to six-stories in height and are of varied architectural styles. A construction fence encloses a large portion of the center of the square. Inside the enclosed area are trucks, construction equipment, and piles of dirt.
On a Saturday morning at the usual workday pedestrian traffic is greatly reduced. The vendor stalls are just beginning to open inside the metro station passageways. At this early hour there are only five newspaper kiosks open out of a total of seventy kiosks selling various merchandise. Other vendors are beginning to open as you make your way through the pedestrian underpass from the Sennaya to the Sadovaya station and street exit, because the up escalators from the Sennaya station are closed on weekends.
#11 interior Sadovaya platform
In this underpass there are approximately seventy kiosks either
attached to the walls or freestanding on the platform; they sell all manner of things: cigarettes, newspapers, hosiery, eyeglasses, batteries, baked goods, cell phone accessories and more. Many kiosks sell computer games and software that, judging by the prices are obviously pirated. For example the latest edition of Windows or Adobe software will cost between one hundred to one hundred fifty rubles at thirty-one rubles to the dollar they cost approximately three to five dollars, a far cry from the usual price in the U.S. of three hundred to five hundred dollars. Compact disks and videos are also sold at low prices even though they are ostensibly legal copies
Today entering the square from the underground you immediately notice that the center is barricaded with fences. A year ago there were concrete walls here, evidently for security purposes. The tram tracks, which today are level and straight, once two years ago ran they were dilapidated, twisted, bent.
AROUND THE SQUARE
New tracks have now been laid straight through the square reconnecting Sadovaya Ulitsa east and west. Moskovsky Prospekt has been opened to traffic through to Grivtsova Pereulok, Sadovaya Ulitsa west was for many years open to traffic from Moskovsky Prospekt; now this through street is temporarily closed and traffic through the square still produces a bottleneck. The tent villages, which were everywhere two years ago, are no more, as is the older kiosk village; a new kiosk village has replaced the old, and a newer metal kiosk row is being completed. These kiosk villages stand to the left and to the right of the Sennaya metro station entrance. Two years ago the kiosk village stood in front of the station and spread across the unenclosed east end of the square with only a narrow pathway for the tram.
The new kiosk village stands to your right (east) as you exit the
Sennaya metro station. This new setting consists of seven kiosks divided into four stalls each, there are individual kiosks scattered here and there throughout the square most in the general vicinity of the large group of kiosks. There are twenty-eight vendors in the new setting, five selling cigarettes and warm beer, four selling tea and coffee, and another seven selling canned goods. There is also, one lone vendor selling prepared goods such as instant soup and dry cereal, two selling cosmetics, while there are five vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables, and four selling meat.
Behind the kiosk
village tucked away in the (east) corner bordered by a concrete construction
fence, are approximately ten vendors working from makeshift tables and under
umbrellas they sell cereal, eggs, vegetables, boxed fruit juice and canned
fish. When approached these outdoor vendors were concerned about being
photographed as though some state inspector or taxman were about to descend
upon them; many of these vendors appear to be either from the
A multitude of private sellers (peddlers) stand in long lines holding up clothing on hangers, usually this clothing is either a name brand copy, or payment in kind from factories, that could not pay their workers with currency. Some older people are selling a few household possessions, which they have spread out on a cloth, lying on the ground, or over a cardboard box. There are as many others selling homegrown produce or food products from stands and vegetable crates. All of the private sellers who last year stood on the periphery of the square are gone.
#15 north, June 2001 #16 west, June 2000
The large tent villages that stood on both sides of the square north and south are also gone although individual tents are sparsely scattered throughout the square. The individual private peddlers have moved out of the square to Sadovaya Ulitsa they start out in the morning ten or
fifteen strong within ten meters of the square.
#17 NE, cor of Sadovaya and square #18 SW, cor. of Sadovaya one block from square
By the time the stores open the peddlers have moved nearly eighty to one hundred meters down the street as each individual buildings security guard ushers them farther along the street, Toward mid day there are up to one hundred peddlers selling produce clothing and assorted odds and ends along Sadovaya Ulitsa.
#19 SW, Sadovaya towards the square #20 NE on Sadovaya away from the square
There are still several babushkas in the square, approximately three;
selling newspapers, strawberries, or salad. The myriad of sellers who
#21north, entrance to Sadovaya station
virtually blocked the pathways with their commerce last year have moved farther down to Sadovaya Ulitsa.
June 2001 #22 north June 2002 #23 north
Exiting the Sennaya metro station you encounter several men buying anything gold, silver, mobile phones, icons, cameras; they even offer to buy the camera you are using! To your left the first thing you see is the yet uncompleted metal kiosk strip mall; it has but one tenant a slot machine establishment preparing to move in. The slot machine establishments usually have eight to ten slot machines; the only illumination in the establishment comes from these slot machines. There is usually a young man who watches the establishment and a cashier from whom you buy tokens.
#24 southeast #25 south
This yet to be opened
kiosk village stands south of the Sennaya metro entrance in front of a
construction site for a new business office complex. Next to the new kiosk
village is Ulitsa Efimova, which runs from the square to the
The next building is Sennaya Ploshchad Four on the corner of Ulitsa Efimova is a McDonalds. It has the only new façade in the entire square, but hooligans seemingly smashed its front plate glass window. Next-door in the same building is a drugstore, and a mobile communications center that sells phones, and phone subscriptions, and a one-hour photo center. Next door at Sennaya Ploshchad Six is a snack bar open from until on each side of the snack bar door is a window from which tobacco is sold on the left, and on the right shaverma: a mid eastern greasy meat and vegetable sandwich, which resembles a burrito. Also located at Sennaya Ploshchad Six on the corner of Moskovsky Prospekt and the square is the Vulcan club, which advertises daily slot machine prizes.
#27 east, cor of Moskovsky and the square
Also on that corner stands a lone kiosk selling milk products. Across the Moskovsky Prospekt, which is one of the main arteries entering the city from the south and ends at the square is a store which once was an almost western style corner market. Although very small, it is now a fashion boutique.
#28 south, Moskovsky Prospekt #29 south, cor of Moskovsky and Brinko
Across a short lane called Brinko Pereulok at the west end of the square is a mauve five-story building it has one major tenant a high fashion beauty center selling cosmetics and clothing, a hard currency exchange and a sidewalk level entrance leads to a slot machine
establishment. From there you cross the west end of Sadovaya Ulitsa, which had long been connected to Moskovsky Prospect at one time it was the only passage through the square.
#31 west, Sadovaya Ulitsa
The next building also at the west end of the square, was once a fish market; it is now a home electronics store. A narrow breezeway is limited to foot traffic passing to the footbridge crossing Griboedova Canal and the embankment roadway.
#32 west, towards Griboedova canal
Sennaya Ploshchad Thirteen there is a Sampson prepared meat outlet selling an assortment of salami and kolbasa, a post office an airline ticket cashier located in the courtyard of number thirteen, a liquor store, and a grocery store.
#33 west, Sennaya Ploshchad Thirteen #34 west, Sennaya Ploshchad Eleven
In front of Sennaya Ploshchad Eleven is an underground entrance to the Sadovaya metro station, and a newly built metal and glass cover for the entrance. Sennaya Ploshchad Eleven is adjacent to number thirteen, and houses yet another slot machine establishment, a tobacco stand and a shoe store. From here you cross Grivtsova Pereulok, which is now the only street open to traffic from Moskovsky Prospekt, the older thoroughfare that connected Sadovaya Ulitsa south to Moskovsky Prospekt is closed temporarily.
#35 west, Gritsova Pereulok
#36 west, Sennaya Ploshchad Nine
On the corner is Sennaya Ploshchad Nine there is located a clothing outlet named Tkani [cloth], a café, and a business called Koshkin Dom, a wine store, a twenty-four hour grocery store and a bakery. At Sennaya Ploshchad Seven there is a fur and leather clothing store, a very modern western style store selling watches and radios as well as blank CDs and tapes. On the north side of the square all that remains of the itinerant street commerce a tent near the guardhouse sells cleaning products. A small kiosk village of six stalls selling cigarettes and beer, shaverma, cosmetics and canned goods, and another row of very small kiosks next to the guardhouse that sells flowers.
#37 north, Sennaya Ploshchad Three
Sennaya Ploshchad Three has a jewelry store and a fur store and another slot machine establishment. Computer World is at Sennaya Ploshchad One, across from it stands one of the many perennial summer cafés nestled in behind the small neoclassical building from the early nineteenth century the façade consists of a four column Doric style portico it began as a guardhouse, then became a bus station during much of the twentieth century and now stands apparently vacant.1 Behind the guardhouse is a street called Peter Alekseeva, which begins at the Griboyedova canal a very short distance away and ends at the square. This brings the traveler full circle back to the eastern end of Sadovaya Ulitsa. On the corner of Sadovaya Ulitsa and the square is a shoe store.
#38 northeast, Sadovaya street #39 east, corner of Sadovaya and square
Summation of Commerce
In comparison Sennaya Ploshchad is not much different than other metro stations although some squares depending on their location may be more upscale, even they have the same types of commerce.
The various merchants and peddlers can be categorized into groups; as follows entertainment, spirits/ tobacco, foodstuff, prepared food, clothing, electronics, and street peddlers the statistics of each category are difficult to ascertain as many establishments are divided and rent out space to other vendors some which do not advertise their presence. Many of the vendors will not be selling the same wares from day to day or month to month; some may go out of business, or change locations making these statistics as fleeting as the vendors themselves. Some of the established tenants also go out of business, only not as frequently.
Entertainment 6 /5 Spirits/ tobacco 6 / 3
Groceries/ foodstuff 3 /20/100 Prepared food 1/ 1/ 10
Sit down eating-places 3 / 1 Clothing 6 /?
Electronics 3 Cosmetics and drugs sundries 3 /1
Newsprint/ flowers 9
Street peddlers 130
Kiosks and tents 50
Established/ advertising tenants 32
Traffic through this square, at the turnstiles of the two stations in 1999 an average of 96,500 passengers entered the Sennaya station every day and 88,200 daily passengers used the Sadovaya station. 2,3 There are two tramlines, and six different marshrutniy taxi lines leaving for all points of the city every five to fifteen minutes. The upper levels of buildings in this region of town are habitually apartments, or dormitories. For this reason there is significant foot traffic from the neighborhood people entering and leaving the square on errands. It may be said conservatively that 184,000 thousand people traverse Sennaya Ploshchad daily.
THE PAST AND FUTURE
Sennaya Ploshchad (Haymarket Square) was a thriving trading center that was prominently mentioned in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The square has changed little over the years although one dramatic change is the church of the Assumption built in 1763, closed in 1938, and subsequently demolished in 1961 in order to build the Sennaya metro station. The church was located within the square at the North end like the guardhouse. As a result the architectural symmetry of the square has been lost. The square is currently being restored along with most of the city for next years three hundredth anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg. Eventually the square will have trees benches and a fountain; there is talk that a chapel will be built to mark the site of the former church of the Assumption. The practice of establishing small chapels on the sites of former churches destroyed by the Communists is a new trend. In the late nineteenth century there were three large glass and metal structures where the sellers could set up their wares.4 During World War II machine gun emplacements were set up to protect the square from parachute incursion by the German army that had blockaded the city for nine hundred days.5
Historically the square was central to lives of the mass of laborer peasants who migrated to St Petersburg for work on its massive projects and in its industrial factories, it is a place which has long been associated with crime and poverty. Most lived in nearby wooden shelters or public housing where a worker could buy a bed and a meal for the night. A trading center since the days of Catherine
the Great the poverty stricken rioted during the cholera epidemic of 1831 when as many as six hundred people a day were dying.6 The square still has many of the same elements of those days on a hot summers day the smell of food cooking and of warm raw meat can still be found. Instead of the stray cats of Dostoyevsky’s day there are now stray dogs that are periodically fed hotdogs by kindly old women. The brothels of years gone by have moved closer to the center and the public houses are now dormitories but the poverty that prevailed is still there. Old people still sell their belongings in order to feed themselves. Scoundrels still prey upon the unfortunate buying up personal or stolen treasure for kopecks on the ruble (pennies on the dollar) no questions asked. People from the villages still come to sell their produce. Recently the homeless and the drunks who slept alongside the beer kiosks have been moved out but they like the persistent rat they will find their way to the Haymarket square of old.
June 2001 #41 west, people selling personal items June 2002
#40 NW, rat running in square.
June 2001#42 south June 2001 #43 south Old people selling whatever they have to sell
View and Changes 2003 after report
Chapel on site of the Destroyed Church
Covered seller stalls similar to 18th Century stalls
1. Памятники архитектуры Ленинграда
4. Bruce Lincoln pp 136
5. Bruce Lincoln pp 278
6. Bruce Lincoln pp 120
Bruce Lincoln, Sunlight at Midnight. New York; Basic Book, 2000.
Melanie Rice, Exploring Moscow and St. Petersburg
Памятники архитектуры Ленинграда Ленинград; Стройиздат Ленинградское отделение, 1975
Sennaya station statistics http://kommet.spb.ru/station/st209/html
Sadovaya station statistics http://kommet.spb.ru/station/st408/html
Sadovaya adjective; garden
Sennaya adjective; hay, market is implied
Babushka; grandmother/old woman
Marshrutniy; small fourteen-passenger taxi van