The Great Gostiny Dvor in St. Petersburg is a monument of history and architecture of the XVIII century, since the beginning of the XX century, it has been the main department store of the city. The building was constructed by architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe. The Great Gostiny Dvor is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Such department stores in St. Petersburg had existed almost since the creation of the city and played a significant role in the life of the capital. The forerunner of the store became the Gostiny Dvor at the Green Bridge. When a fire in 1738 burned it down, it was decided not to restore the old building and build a new store closer to the border of the city. The Gostiny Dvor was established as the largest retail space in the Russian Empire. The history of its creation begins with the decree of Empress Elizabeth in 1748 of the construction of the one-story arcade with galleries. In 1752, the store was conceived as a two-story building. In 1757, the was approved the project by Rastrelli. By his project, the building had to be richly decorated with moldings and sculptures. The construction began in 1757, but funding issues delayed the project and in the end, it was reconsidered. In the end, Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe became the author of the arcade. He kept the general layout by Rastrelli and constructed the building in the early classicism style. The construction has been continuing for more than twenty years — from 1761 to 1785.
In the 1840s, the Gostiny Dvor became one of the first buildings, where gas lighting was installed.
During the war, the building was severely damaged by bombing and shelling. In 1945-1948 the Gostiny Dvor was restored. The restoration of the building was carried out under the direction of the famous Leningrad architect O. Lyalin. The was planted a linden alley along the main facade on Nevsky Prospekt.
In 1955-1967, there was a new reconstruction of the building. Architects I. Wachs and L. Katonin and engineer M. Yunoshev turned isolated stores into a through-suite. The Great Gostiny Dvor became the main department store of Leningrad. On November 3, 1967, the subway station was opened in the building. The ground lobby, constructed in the building of the department store, was made by architects A. Andreev, Y. Moskalenko, and engineer S. Shchukin.
From the lobby, you can get into the trading rooms of Nevskaya and Sadovaya lines. Nowadays, there are presented products of more than 3000 companies, 170 thousand varieties and nearly two million units of various goods. Every day about 300,000 customers make purchases in the Great Gostiny Dvor.