history 1812 — 2012
In 1812 on Christmas Eve the bondman gardener of Count Sheremetyev Pyotr Eliseev served fresh wild strawberry which amazed everyone. The Count wished to reward the loyal gardener for such a marvel. The bondsman asked the Count to free him and was set free and given a hundred rubles to support him. At those times it was a huge sum of money. The former bondsman went to St. Petersburg with his family. Turned out, that the former bondsman had not only green fingers, but also a talent for commerce. He bought a sack of oranges and sold them at Nevsky prospect. This is how the great story of Eliseevy Merchants’ shop began. 90 years later his ancestors opened a shopping center on that very spot, the core of all Eliseevy business, which you can visit today. The shop combines a gastronome, restaurants, and a theater together with a state drawing room for festive occasions.
The house was built by architect Gavriil Vasilyevich Baranovsky for a colonial goods shop of a trading partnership “Eliseevy Brothers”. This building in Early Art Nouveau style stands out against classic architecture of Nevsky prospect with its luxurious exterior trim, stained-glass windows and frontispiece sculptures.
Luxury interior is designed to outline its prosperity and attract customers. The interior is made in Art Nouveau style: abundance, shine, no austere lines but only smooth and plenty of decorations with floral motives. Here you see all splendour of Russian Emperors’ palaces with gold coating, antique furniture and ceiling luminaires.
The enourmous stained-glass window makes an impression of a giant shop window and accentuates a wide and thoroughly selected assortment of goods. There used to be a cold warehouse and one of the best wine cellars in Europe.
On the front of the building were erected Adamson’s sculptures Industry, Trade, Art and Science — main values of XX century society.
In the Soviet times the shop was called Gastronom №1. There one could get delicacies even in times of food shortage during the Soviet era.
The theatre auditorium has always been on the second floor of Eliseevsky. Since 1904 it was let to many theatre ensembles. In 1929 it was transformed into The Comedy Theatre named after N.P. Akimov. The theater staged frisky plays, vaudevilles and cup-and-saucer dramas.
When gentlemen invited ladies to the theatre, they often dropped by Eliseevsky and treated ladies with fresh fruit, chocolate and cheese. This is how Elisevy Merchants’ idea of combining a shop, a restaurant, a theatre and a durbar in one place in the very center of St.Petersburg came into life.
Eliseevy Merchants’ Shop, made to rejoice and surprise Petersburgers, didn’t stay indifferent to tragic events of WW2. On June, 24 1941 agitation posters calling for protection of Motherland (so-called TASS Windows) appeared in the window shops. Even during the Blockade in winter 1942-1943 The Theatre of Musical Comedy and City Blockade Theatre continued showing plays on the 2nd floor.
Eliseevsky shop is one of few museum shops, that not only provides service and good to customers, but also immerses them in the atmosphere of distant epoch so that they can feel how it was – to live in imperial Petersburg, taste rare delicatessen from all over the world right on Nevsky Prospect, among the shine of gilded shop windows.
Being forgotten for quite a long period of time, the shop welcomed its customers on March, 8 2012 with refined atmosphere and luxurious interiors, restored from photos of 1903 and original drawings approved by Eliseevy Merchants. We treasure the traditions of founders and continue to amaze our guests by unique rare goods and top-level service.
Eliseevsky shop made a fantastic gift to the city – a show window of unbelievable beauty with moving fairy-tale characters from The Nutcracker. The figures were created by a famous sculptor and decorator Mikhail Shemyakin. The iridescent shop window moves and changes the color day and night, angels fly to the bright stained-glass windows, attracting attention of passers-by. The main frontispiece of Eliseevsly shop embellishes Nevsky prospect, impressing Petersburgers and city visitors.