You cannot but be amazed by the stunning building of the Stiglitz State Drawing Academy. It is probably one of the city’s most underrated gems. As you turn the corner from Pestel street it feels as if you have been transported to 19th-century Paris. The elegant facade is adorned with names of famous designers – Gautier, Wedgwood, Motorin and Udini to name but a few. There is a stunning glass roof, which somehow has managed to stay completely intact. As the street is broad and almost pedestrian, I often walk down it on the way to somewhere, simply to admire the building.
It is not uncommon to see students drawing outside on the streets nearby, or lugging around large drawings.
I visited as part of a reception for a nearby hotel. It has a unique atmosphere inside, and is a powerhouse of artistic creativity. On that occasion pride of place was occupied by a uniquely Russian portrait – one side showed Lenin in all his glory, while on the other side it was a portrait of Nikolai 2nd.
Visits inside are possible, but have to be arranged as part of a small group via the excursion bureau of the Applied Arts Museum. The Museum of the Siege of Leningrad is located next door – also worth a visit!