Ploschad Ostrovskogo and Statue of Catherine II

Ploschad Ostrovskogo opens out to the right of Nevsky avenue. In the small garden in the middle of the square is the Statue of the empress Catherine II, surrounded by bronze figures portraying - in vivid likeness - some of the principal personalities who lived in Russia in the second half of the 18th century. Rumours say that everyone on the pedestal was a lover of Catherine at some point: we need not trust these. Behind the monument stands the Alexandrinsky (Pushkin) Drama Theatre.

The small garden surrounding the statue has the fame of Bois de Boulogne in Paris, being the traditional meeting place for gay couples; whatever the weather conditions, the benches are always used by chess, backgammon and even mahjong players.

The west side of the Square is taken by the grey building of the Russian National Library. Today it is the second largest library in the country, with over 20 million books, among these over 6.000 incunabula (books printed before 1501).

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