Krestovsky Island
Krestovsky Island is a 3.4 km² island in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, situated between several tributaries of the Neva: the Srednyaya Nevka, the Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka is the southern distributary of the Bolshaya Nevka. The Bolshaya Nevka splits into Malaya Nevka and Srednaya Nevka near the Kamenny Island's easternmost tip....

 and the Krestovka. The island is served by the Krestovsky Ostrov "Крестовский остров" station of Saint Petersburg Metro
Saint Petersburg Metro
The Saint Petersburg Metro is the underground railway system in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It has been open since November 15, 1955.Formerly known as the V.I...

. Until recently, the Western part of the island was occupied by the Maritime Victory Park
Maritime Victory Park
Maritime Victory Park is a municipal park on Krestovsky Island in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was opened in 1945 to commemorate the Allied victory over Nazi Germany...

, where the international Goodwill Games
Goodwill Games
The Goodwill Games was an international sports competition, created by Ted Turner in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s...

 of sports and athletics competition took place in 1994, which was the first large scale post-Soviet Union international event in Russia. . A new stadium Zenit Stadium is currently under construction, where Kirov Stadium
Kirov Stadium
Kirov Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was one of the largest stadiums anywhere in the world. The stadium was named after Sergey Kirov....

 was previously located. The Zenit
-People:* Zenit Đozić, a Bosnian actor, humorist and television producer.* Zenit , a Spanish MC.* Jose Roberto Zenit Camacho, a prominent researcher at the materials research institute , rheologist, Baltasar Mena Iniesta student....

 stadium will serve the same name club, which is the leading St Petersburg football club. Zenit has frequently led the Russian football top league and recently has had good international success, in the Champions/UEFA leagues.

Meanwhile, the eastern part of this beautiful St Petersburg island, has seen slow but steady urbanization since the early 1900s, which has slowly changed its parkland nature. Recently there has been even more pressure from today's "nomenclature" to locate top-end housing projects and high-prestige homes here - a long-time tendency that also continues today, since historically the island was always owned by families who were close to and favourites of the Tzars/"powers-to-be" and who served them well.


In the 19th through early 20th century the island belonged to the Belosselsky-Belozersky family
Belosselsky-Belozersky family
The Belosselsky-Belozersky family is an aristocratic Russian family.- Origins :The family of Belosselsky-Belozersky claims the descendance directly from the first Russian Princes, from the "Kiev Rus" period and Rurik , which created its seat in Kiev around the years 870–890...

. Aided by the infusion of wealth from the fortune of his second wife Anna Grigorievna (ne'e Kozitskaya) Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Belosselsky-Belozersky acquired the island in 1803. Previously it had belonged to the courtier Count Cyril Razumovsky and his family. During the mid-1800s the Belosselskys reconstructed the original Razumovsky stone manor house, which was located at the southern shore of the island using the well-known architecht A.I. Stackenschneider for the works. This house served the family as their summer retreat for years to come.
In the 1880s after having sold their famous Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace
Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace
Belosselsky-Belozersky Palace is a Neo-Baroque palace at the intersection of the Fontanka River and Nevsky Prospekt in Saint Petersburg, Russia...

 (the pink palace at No. 41 Nevsky Prospect at the Anichkov Bridge
Anichkov Bridge
The Anichkov Bridge is the first and most famous bridge across the Fontanka River in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The current bridge, built in 1841-42 and reconstructed in 1906-08, combines a simple form with some spectacular decorations...

) to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Romanov (Tzar Nikolai II nd's uncle) the Belosselsky-Belozersky family
Belosselsky-Belozersky family
The Belosselsky-Belozersky family is an aristocratic Russian family.- Origins :The family of Belosselsky-Belozersky claims the descendance directly from the first Russian Princes, from the "Kiev Rus" period and Rurik , which created its seat in Kiev around the years 870–890...

 moved to live on their Krestovsky island and the estate at the southern side of the island, now year-round. They reconstructed the original Stackenschneider designed manorial building into a small palace (using the contemporary court architect Rastrelli for its design). Popularly, this building was known as the "Datcha of the Belosselskys".

Many street names on Krestovsky island today still reflect the Belosselsky-Belozersky family having owned and occupied the Krestovsky island: e.g.Olgina, Eleninskaya, Esperova, Konstantinova streets have survived the change of times and herald the names of some of the Belosselsky-Belozersky immediate family members who lived on the island at the end of the Tzarist period until the 1917 Russian Revolution (Olga's street, Elena's street, Esper's street, Constantin's street). Prior to the Revolution the main north to south street leading to the Belosselsky-Belozersky manor house was named Belosselsky Prospect (the Belosselsky avenue/view). After the Revolution of 1917, the street name was changed to Riukhina street (which runs South towards the edge of Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka is the southern distributary of the Bolshaya Nevka. The Bolshaya Nevka splits into Malaya Nevka and Srednaya Nevka near the Kamenny Island's easternmost tip....

 from the new Metro station on the island). The St Petersburg citycouncil has apparently just recently (end of June, 2011) renamed this part of the street "Belosselsky Pereulok" (the Belosselsky Lane!) ! However, the Alexandrovskii avenue (avenue named for the first Belosselsky owner of the island, Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Belosselsky-Belozersky), Nadezhdinskaya (wife of Constantin Esperovich), Sergeievskaya, Andreievskaya (sons of Sergei Constantinovich), Mariinskaya streets (daughter of Constantin Esperovich) as well as the Nikolaievsky and Vladimirsky streets (named for the Tzar and the Romanov Grand Duke for whom Belosselskys served as aide de camp during the last years of the Tzarist era), these all have been victims of urbanization and disappeared under apartment blocks built in the 1950s and since.
Two interesting streets and their names Yuriyuzanskaya and Vyazovaya still remain, reflecting two of the three main areas of metals and mining and the ironworks in the Urals, which were properties in Bashkiria/Bashkortostan (between Ufa and Cheliabinsk) owned by the Belosselsky family and from where they drew some of their enormous wealth still during the end of 19th century. The third such street, Katavskaya street, does not exist any longer. Katavskaya street was named for the ironworks of Ust-Katav and Katav-Ivanovsk, which were major producers of metals and metalproducts for the Belosselskys' enterprises. This street used to run parallel to the Belosselsky Prospect, immediately east of it and on the southern side of Morskoy prospect and has since the 1950s building of apartment "massifs" (blocks) been overtaken by these and "Dinamo" club's sporting venues and fields. The current Dinamo Prospect has replaced the former Alexandrovskii Prospect as the avenue leading from the Krestovsky Most (Bridge) in the eastern entry to the island toward the Belosselsky-Belozersky summer palace/manor house, but now blocked by these Dinamo sports fields.

Finally, the Novorossiskaya street, which also was overtaken by these same buildings and sportfields, ran parallel to the Katavskaya street to its east. This street was named in honor of Sergei Constantinovich being the commander of His Majesty's Third Dragoons of Novorossiisk Dragoons' Regiment! The same fate has fallen to the southwestern embankment of the island, which was named Amerikanskaya ulitsa (American street) in honor of the nationality of Sergei Constantinovich' wife Suzy Belosselsky-Belozersky ne'e Susan Tucker-Whittier  (daughter of General, US Army, Charles Whittier).

Sports venues

On Krestovsky island, many "first" Russian sports venues and activities were launched with Belosselsky-Belozersky active support. The Krestovsky tennis club "Lawn Tennis Club", (with the main efforts undertaken by the resident Scotsman Arthur MacPherson, whose sons were some of the first Russian tennis champions) Belosselsky horse polo grounds, as well as a yacht club and a rowing club were launched here in late 19th century along with a clay pidgeon shooting range; all prior to the 1917 Revolution.
The island was always a center for sports and recreation for the St. Petersburg residents. Prior to the revolution, it was also a unique gathering place and venue for the "high-society" active in sports, the military officers and foreign diplomats, who participated in the horse polo events organized by the Belosselsky-Belozerskys. As this sport was known to be a preferred sport of Englishmen at the time, the elder prince Belosselsky-Belozersky, Constantin Esperovich, became known as the "Angloman" for his keen interest in promoting this sport. His older son, prince Sergei Constantinovich was one of the first Russian international players of polo and took part regularly in the annual events in England and France at Rugby, Paris Bagatelle, Deauville, Biarritz, Pau, etc. He organized many horse polo competitions on their Krestovsky island estate polo grounds, including international team events. Well known visiting and resident international players of the time included British Ambassador Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst (later Viceroy of India) , British embassy secretaries Beaumont, Sperling, American Ambassador George von L. Meyer and Charge d'Affaires Spencer Eddy were among the company of the first local Russian players, who in addition to the Belosselskys, were Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia
Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia
Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia was a son of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, a grandson of Czar Alexander II of Russia and a first cousin of Czar Nicholas II. He followed a military career and was a Major General in the Russian Army. He took part in the Russo-Japanese War and...

, Prince Michael Cantacuzène-Speranski, Count Kinsky, Messrs. Mouravyi and Grabovski among others. Sergei Constantinovich was a founder and sponsor of an early St. Petersburg athletics club named "Sport", which was located on Krestovsky island. His activities led to him being invited to become a Russian representative to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This made him the second all-time Russian and 28th overall representative to this venerable and still very active key international sports body. Prince Sergei acceded the IOC together with count Ribopierre, after Major-General A.D. Butovsky and before prince Troubetskoy. In capacity of the IOC member, prince Sergei participated in the organizational committee of the 1900 Paris Olympic games and took part in equestrian events.

The younger son of prince Constantin, prince Esper Constantinovich Beloselsky-Belozersky was an avid sailor and won an Olympic silver medal in sailing (10 meter class) for Russia in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Competing with a crew, which included fellow Krestovsky island based "Imperial River Yacht Club" member and boat constructor Alexander Rodionov (А. Д. Родионов in Russian) they were some of the vanguards of Russian modern era sailing sport. Rodionov was also one of the first Russian leisure sailing craft and sail boat constructors (his boat construction ateliers were located on Krestovsky island). Prince Esper Constantinovich was also known to be one of the first and most avid St. Petersburg "ice-boaters", who was quoted by many diplomats and visiting dignitaries to St. Petersburg as having given them "exciting" rides in his ice-boat in the winters towards the last years of 1890s and early years of 1900!
During the Soviet times, as well, the Krestovsky island was the base of many of the most successful sport and rowing clubs; among other, Krasnoe Znamia (Красное Знамя). Founded in 1889 and active still on Krestovsky Island during the early 1990s as Znamia, the club produced Olympic rowing champions Y. Tiykalov, V. Boreiko, O.Golovanov, and A. Klepikov, as well as three-time Olympic kayaking/canoeing champion L. Pinaeva. In addition the club produced several World and European champions. The island was also home to the Leningrad division of the "peoples' committee on internal affairs (NKVD)" sports and football club "Dinamo".

Today, Krestovsky island continues its tradition as a base for sports and recreation and is the home to half a dozen tennis clubs, several boating and rowing clubs as well as the site of the new "Zenith" football club stadium, replacing the Kirov stadium at the western spit of the island. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Aleksandrovna Kuznetsova ; born June 27, 1985) is a Russian professional tennis player and as of October 10, 2011 ranked No. 21 in the WTA singles and No. 90 in the doubles ranking. Kuznetsova has appeared in four singles Grand Slam finals, winning two, and has also appeared in six doubles...

, is the best-known contemporary Russian tennis player coming from the Krestovsky island tennis tradition of Russian champions, started by the Scot MacPherson, his sons as well as Mikhail Sumarakoff-Elston in the late 19th century. She is regularly ranked among the top ten professionals in the ladies' world rankings.
Although the island has changed since the Russian Revolution in terms of its land use, even more so during the past decade, there is still the dominant presence of sports on Krestovsky!

Belosselsky-Belozersky residence

Today, the Belosselsky-Belozersky residence on Krestovsky island has been reconstructed at the same location where it stood until the late 1950s (the original structure was badly damaged during the near 900 day siege of Leningrad, from shelling during World War II; it was repaired and used for various purposes, but was demolished finally around 1956). The rebuilt "Datcha" is true to the original architectural drawings but boasts all modern conveniences indoors, such as elevators, etc. It has been put on the market for sale recently (early 2011).
Meanwhile, the only original structures which remain of the Belosselsky-Belozersky era to these days are some horse stables on the Riukhina street and a beautiful landscaped park with a small pond and walkways around it adjacent on the north-western and western side of the area where the Belosselsky-Belozersky house stood and now stands again. There is also an "accent" piece of the estate remaining by the edge of the water, of the Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka
Malaya Nevka is the southern distributary of the Bolshaya Nevka. The Bolshaya Nevka splits into Malaya Nevka and Srednaya Nevka near the Kamenny Island's easternmost tip....

, due south of the property (and the rebuilt house). This is a beautiful rose colored granite stone structure, holding a bench and circular steps leading to the water's edge, forming a landing for boats and offering a calm venue to view the Southern exposure from the estate. The structure, sitting under the shade of oak and linden trees, was draped with a beautiful wrought iron and bronze balustrade (original design of this beautiful structure was by a Swiss architect).

The Duel on Krestovsky Island, Summer of 1908

(Duel between Count Nicholas Sumarakoff-Elston, "Nicholas Yussupov" and Count Arvid Manteuffel, over Countess Marina von Hayden, the latter's wife).
The deadly encounter took place at dawn on July 5, 1908, when Count Arvid Manteuffel and Prince Nicholas Yussupov met in a duel on the park land grounds of the Krestovsky Island estate of the Belosselsky-Belozersky Princes. Nicholas Yussupov, apparently manipulated by his younger brother Felix, caused a great open scandal by having an affair with Countess Marina von Hayden, the wife of the Imperial Horse Guards' officer, Count Arvid Manteuffel . This affair was too blatant, even by the standards of the "liberal" St. Petersburg of that period. The whole Petersburg society was upset by this affair. The honor of not only Manteuffel family was at stake, the whole officer corps of the Horse Guards required their honor to be preserved.
The parties and their seconds met as agreed at dawn on the 5th of July 1908 on the Krestovsky island, Belosselsky-Belozersky estate grounds. Nicholas Yusupov was mortally wounded by the second round of shots and died (apparently only Manteuffel had aimed for a kill, Yusupov had purposefully shot over Manteuffels head).

Rasputin's Last Breath on Malaya Nevka, Bolshoj Petrovsky Most (bridge), off Krestovsky Island

From Maurice Paleologue
Maurice Paléologue
Maurice Paléologue was a French diplomat, historian, and essayist.-Biography:Paléologue was born in Paris as the son of Alexandru Paleologu, a Wallachian Romanian revolutionary who had fled to France after attempting to assassinate Prince Gheorghe Bibescu during the 1848 Wallachian revolution;...

's diary-the latter was the last French Ambassador to Russia and to the Romanov Court.

"Tuesday, January 2, 1917.
Rasputin's corpse was discovered yesterday in the ice of the little Nevka, alongside Krestovsky Island and near the Belosselsky palace .
Up to the last moment the Empress has been hoping that "God would spare her her comforter and only friend."
The police are not allowing any details of the drama to be published. Besides, the Okhrana is pursuing its enquiries in such secrecy that even this morning Trepov; the President of the Council, replied to the impatient questions of the Grand Duke Nicholas Michailovitch:
"Monseigneur, I swear to you that I have nothing whatever to do with what is going on, and know nothing of the enquiry."
There was great rejoicing among the public when it heard of the death of Rasputin the day before yesterday. People kissed each other in the streets and many went to burn candles in Our Lady of Kazan.
When it was known that the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich was one of the assassins there was a crush to light candles before the ikons of Saint Dimitri.
The murder of Grigori is the sole topic of conversation among the unending queues of women who wait in the snow and wind at the doors of the butchers and grocers to secure their share of meat, tea, sugar, etc. They are saying that Rasputin was thrown into the Nevka alive, and approvingly quoting the proverb: Sabâkyé, sabâtchya smerte! "A dog's death for a dog!" They are also whispering that the Grand Duchess Tatiana, the Emperor's second daughter, witnessed the drama disguised as a lieutenant of the Chevaliers-Gardes, so that she could revenge herself on Rasputin who had tried to violate her. And carrying the vindictive ferocity of the moujik into the world of the Court, they add that to satiate her thirst for vengeance the dying Grigori was castrated before her eyes.
Another popular story is this: "Rasputin was still breathing when he was thrown under the ice of the Malaya Nevka. It is very important, for if so he will never become a saint." It is a fact that the Russian masses believe that the drowned can never be canonized."

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