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Interesting facts about the hotel

Our hotel is located on the embankment of Griboedova channel (till 1923 it was Ekaterininsky channel) in a five-storey building without lift that was designed by the architect Keiser and raised in 1879. The Russian Society on pharmaceutical goods trade placed here its offices and storehouses.

In 1998 American producers shot episodes at our front staircase for a film based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and punishment” with participation of famous actors Patrick Dempsey and Julie Delpy.

The name of our hotel came from a mythical creature – griffin. Griffin sculptures situated on the Banking Bridge are an ancient symbol of Saint Petersburg.

About griffins

Griffins are mythical creatures which unite heaven and earth, good and evil. They can be defenders and protectors as well as furious animals at the same time.

The most ancient image of griffin was found close by the Assyrian town Shush (at present time it is the territory of Iran). This animal was pictured on a stamp related to 3000 B.C.

Griffins were famous in ancient Egypt. In the Fifth dynasty’s time the Pharaoh was portrayed as a griffin which threw down the enemy (it was a symbol of regent power). Griffin always was possessed of excellent worrier features.

Long before the first record of griffins, it was pictured on ivory, stony, bronze, silk manufacture and coins. You could find it everywhere, beginning from vases in palaces to mosaic in burial-vaults.

In Greece you can find griffins on statues of prehistoric Crete as well as in Sparta. The Greeks associated them with gods: Dionysus, Nemesis and Apollo who was often portrayed riding on a griffin or racing in a chariot harnessed with griffins.

In the Middle Ages griffins appeared on emblems, walls of cathedrals, pages of manuscripts. Now this animal revives in books and films in fantasy genre.

Look and temper of the griffin are different for each culture. In many cases a back part of trunk looks like lion, tail is similar to dragon or snake. A front part of the griffin looks like bird, sometimes with ears. In rare instances beak of the griffin was adorned with very sharp teeth, there were horns or tuft on a head and thorn or lush mane on a neck of the griffin.

Due to essential distinctions in appearance of griffins they were classified by three types: griffin-bird, griffin-snake and griffin-lion.

By temper the griffin is proud, brave, freedom-loving animal and does not recognize somebody’s domination. All these features make him the best guard as we know from legends and myths.

That is why the Banking Bridge is decorates with Griffins as they were guards of the Assignment Bank situated near the bridge. The hotel “Grifon” is located just 50 meters from the famous Griffins and 5 minutes walk from Nevsky prospect.

At our hotel the griffin will guard your quite stay in fuss of the big city.

Close to the hotel

The hotel “Grifon” is situated just 5 minutes walk from the mail avenue of Saint Petersburg – Nevsky prospect and 50 meters from the famous Banking Bridge.

The Banking Bridge was designed by the engineer Wilhelm von Traitteur and constructed in 1825-1826. The name came from the former Assignment Bank located near the bridge (now occupied by the State University of economics and finance). Special popularity to the bridge was brought by sculptures of griffins designed by Sokolov.

Griboedova channel (till 1923 it was Ekaterininsky channel), where our hotel is situated, originates from Moika river near the Field of Mars and flows into Fontanka river near Malo-Kalinkina bridge. Initially the channel was named after the Empress Catherine II, in whose reign it has been equipped. In 1923 it was renamed in honour of the Russian dramatist and diplomat Alexander Griboedov who had lived in a house along the embankment.

Further, in 5 minutes walk we get to the main avenue of the city – Nevsky prospect. It’s extended up to 4,5 kilometers from the Admiralty to the Alexander Nevsky monastery. The avenue was named by the lavra which has name of the national hero – Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky. The city life boils every second – in the afternoon at your service numerous sights, restaurants and shops, and at night – clubs and bars.

Kazan Cathedral is located just 3 minutes walk from the hotel. It became one of the highest temple in the beginning of 19th century with height of 71,5 meters. In 1812 the Patriotic War brought changes in fate of the cathedral. It has been transformed to relic storage for spoils of war although initially it was created by the architect Voronikhin for the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. On 13th of June of 1813 Field Marshal Kutuzov was buried inside the cathedral. Now daily liturgies are held in the Kazan Cathedral. From the eastern part of the cathedral there is the well-known Voronikhin’s railing which is worthy of note. Also two monuments to Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly are put up in front of the cathedral.

Annually on the 12th of September religious processions in honour of Saint Patron of the city Alexander Nevsky take place along the Nevsky prospect from the Kazan Cathedral to the Alexander Nevsky monastery.

Nevsky prospect stats near the main square of Saint Petersburg – Palace Square, where the greatest monuments of the Petersburg architecture are located, namely the Winter Palace – the former home of the Russian Emperors (now it is the State Hermitage Museum), the building of the General Staff and the Alexander Column erected after the Russian victory in the war with Napoleon’s France. Palace Square became the main square of the city in 1730-1740s and acquired its present appearance in the mid-19th century. All buildings facing the square make up the architectural ensemble. The Winter Palace and the building of the General Staff have the same height and their horizontal segmentations are located at the same level. The building of the General Staff was designed by one of the greatest architect of the Russian Classicism Carlo Rossi in 1820-1827and occupies huge space from the Nevsky prospect to Moika river bend. Both parts of the buildings are connected by the Arch of Triumph crowned by the Chariot of Glory.

Today Palace Square is used for parades, demonstrations and concerts.

Winter Palace is the central part of the architectural ensemble of the Palace Square. It was designed by the eminent architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli in Baroque style to order of Peter the Great’s daughter Elizabeth and constructed in 1762. The three-storey building was created on a monumental scale and has luxurious décor. From 1762 to February of 1917 the palace was an official residence of the Russian Emperors. Now its interiors with all museum pieces have both artistic and historic value and available for public.

Today the State Hermitage Museum is the biggest artistic museum of Saint Petersburg and one of the world-known museum. Here you can find exhibits of the West and the East related to the era of Paleolith through the present time as well as masterpieces of Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, impressionists Gauguin, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, etc. Catherine II by herself has started to gather this painting collection for the Hermitage.

On the 30th of August of 1834 grand opening of the Alexander Column took place. It was designed by the architect Auguste de Montferrand. The granite monument, weighing 600 tons, was erected in honour of the Russian victory in the war with Napoleon’s army and named after the Emperor Alexander I. It is topped with a statue of an angel holding a cross. The face of the angel bears great similarity to the face of the Emperor Alexander I.

The Admiralty is situated close to the Palace Square, and it is the first structure on the left bank of the Neva. Three central Petersburg streets Nevsky prospect, Gorokhovaya and Voznesensky prospect radiate from the Admiralty. The building of the Admiralty was designed by the architect Zakharov and now it is the most beautiful monument related to the era of the early Classicism. The gilded spire of the Admiralty (height is 72,5 meters) and particularly its weather vane in the form of little ship is a famous Saint Petersburg landmark. Now the Admiralty is occupied by the Naval and Engineering School.

Zinger House is an original building at the corner of the Nevsky prospect and the Griboedova channel embankment. Now it is the biggest book store not only in Saint Petersburg but in Europe. This seven-storey building crowned by the glass sphere and imperial eagle is graphic example of art nouveau style (1902-1904, designed by the architect Syuzor, sculptors Adamson and Ober). In 1910s it was occupied by the Consulate of the USA, and in 1930 it became the Book Store.

Further, walking along the embankment of Griboedova channel, you will be impressed by the bright domes of the Church on the Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection). It was designed by the architect Alfred Parland and erected in 1883-1907. The name refers to the blood of the assassinated Alexander II of Russia, who was mortally wounded on that site on the 1st of March of 1881. Architecturally the cathedral intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl and Moscow churches. The walls and ceilings inside the church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics. An elaborate shrine was constructed on the exact place of Alexander's death, garnished with topaz, lazurite and other semi-precious stones.

On the opposite side of the channel you can find the Russian Museum, the largest depository of the Russian fine art in the world. The main building of the museum is the Mikhailovsky Palace. Today museum’s collection includes the Russian and Soviet painting, sculpture, graphic arts, decorative and applied arts, folk arts, icon painting, artworks of Rublev and Ushakov.

Realistic art is represented by Repin, Briullov, Kramskoy, Vasnetsov, Surikov, Ivanov, Savrasov, Levitan, Kustodiev. The museum includes the world’s finest collection of Russian avant-garde represented by Malevich, Kandinsky, Chagall, etc.

The Mikhailovsky Palace, the main building of the Russian Museum, is situated on the Square of Arts in the city centre. Built to design of the celebrated architect Carlo Rossi between 1819 and 1825, the palace is a masterpiece of Russian Neoclassical architecture.

The Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Music comedy Theatre, the State museum of Ethnography, the Grand hall of the Philharmonia named after Shostakovich, the Grand hotel Europe surround the Square. The monument to Pushkin designed by the sculptor Anikushin is put up in front of the square in 1957.

The Mikhailovsky Theatre acquired magnificence of the Emperor theatre after restoration. Now the famous operas and ballets with participation of Russian and world celebrities are held here. The building of the Philharmonia was built by the architect Jacot (the façade was designed by Carlo Rossi) in 1839 for the Assembly of the Noble. The hall with capacity for up to 1500 persons and first-class acoustics has been a centre of Petersburg music life. Famous musicians of the 19th century appeared on its stage: Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, Mahler, Rubinstein, Schumann, Viardot, Sarasate and others. Many works of such exponents of Russian classical tradition as Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov were premiered here.

You can order tickets to theatres at the reception desk of our hotel.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral named after Saint Isaac of Dalmatia is one more significant landmark of our city and the biggest church of St. Petersburg and the fourth by size in the world (101,5 meters high, 4000 square meters, 12000 persons capacity). Today it is given a status of the museum. The cathedral took 40 years to construct, under Montferrand’s direction, from 1818 to 1858. Some of the most striking decorations are to be seen in the drum of the main dome and the area below it. The interior of the cathedral boasts a profusion of gilt, variegated marble, murals and mosaic. The best painters and sculptors of the time contributed to this unusual work of art, including Briullov, Bruni, Basin and Vitali.

The rotunda of the cathedral is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists where amazing view of the city is opening up.

The Bronze Horseman is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great designed by the French sculptor Falconet . It took 12 years, from 1770 to 1782, to create the statue, including pedestal, horse and rider. The statue has Peter the Great sitting heroically on his horse, his outstretched arm pointing towards the Neva River in the west. The sculptor wished to capture the exact moment of his horse rearing at the edge of a dramatic cliff. His horse can be seen trampling a serpent, variously interpreted to represent treachery, evil or the enemies of Peter and his reforms. Peter’s head was sculptured by Mari-Anne Callot, a pupil of Falconet.

The Bronze Horseman is the also the title of a poem written by Alexander Pushkin in1833, widely considered to be one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue came to be known as the Bronze Horseman due to the popularity of the poem. Falconet’s monument is the centrepiece of Senate Square (formerly the Decembrists Square). It fuses the energy and many aspects of the Emperor – Creator, Reformer and Lawmaker – into one.