Why are there many different colors on the facades of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg buildings and what do they mean?
Why are there many different colors on the facades of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg buildings and what do they mean?

Danila, the master from Bazhov's fairy tale, may not have been easy to create a stone flower, but the architect, who decorated the facades of St. Petersburg at the beginning of the last century, succeeded very well. Walking along the streets of the northern capital, past the former tenement houses and other pre-revolutionary buildings, not everyone will peer into the details. However, it is worth doing - you can see a wide variety of plants on the facades - from lotuses to sunflowers.

In the Art Nouveau era, it became popular among architects, and therefore among customers, to decorate buildings with irises, poppies and other similar flowers.

House of the Palkins

For example, stone irises flaunt on the facade of the Palkins' tenement house on Rubinstein Street, and poppies on the houses of Potapova (Nekrasov Street) and Orlov (Voznesensky Avenue). Sunflowers have also gained popularity, which can be seen, for example, at Moika Embankment, 58, at Mayakovsky Street, 30, and again at Orlov's house - at Voznesensky, 18.

Gauger's apartment building on Mayakovsky street

If we take into account that each flower has its own philosophical or (if someone believes in the magic of flowers) mystical meaning, then the sunflower can be associated with wealth, prosperity and a sunny mood. Iris - with greatness and confidence. But the poppy - with tranquility, sleep and even oblivion and death. Anyone as you like. It is difficult to say now whether the owners of houses with poppies were in a state of depression or a gloomy lyrical mood. For the modern generation, these flowers on the facades are, first of all, unique touches, reminiscent of the amazing era of Northern Art Nouveau.

Stylized poppies decorate the house on Nekrasov Street The Palkin apartment house on the street. Rubinstein

Despite the popularity of "village" flowers - poppies and sunflowers, such a "universal" flower as a rose often appeared on the facades of new houses of that era. For example, huge roses decorate Badayev's house.


Well, if you walk along Zakharyevskaya Street and look at building 23, you can see lotuses here. This flower is used to decorate the former apartment building of Nezhinskaya.

Lotuses on the famous house of Nizhinskaya, decorated in the Egyptian style

But on K. Schmidt's tenement house at 13, Kherson Street, the decor is gloomy - the facade is covered with thistle flowers, here you can also see owls, lizards and an ominous species of mythical creatures.

Thistle evokes gloomy thoughts, but it is done very skillfully Overgrown on the facade of K. Schmidt's house

There are thickets of thistles and on another gloomily decorated building - the famous House of City Institutions - (corner of Voznesensky and Sadovaya). There are also enough "dark" characters on the facade - there are owls, bats, dragons, and all kinds of "evil spirits". So the thistle fits perfectly into this "company", creating an overall feeling of gloomy mystery.

House of City Institutions, or House with Owls

By the way, the House of Urban Institutions, or, as it is also called, the House with Owls, is unique in itself, and you should definitely learn more about this masterpiece of architecture. For example, about how this building with bats and owls appeared in St. Petersburg and what it is famous for.

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