Although Fyodor Dostoevsky’s wasn’t actually born in St. Petersburg, his most loved works are set in this enigmatic city. Stroll down the same streets as your favorite Dostoevsky characters and feel like you’re part of the story.
Follow in Dostoevsky’s footprints
Experience the St. Petersburg of Dostoevsky and his characters with a guided walking tour of the city. Companies like Best Guides offer half-day tours that focus on the neighborhoods of Dostoevsky’s works, where fans of Crime and Punishment get to retrace the steps of the novel’s murderous main character, Raskolnikov. After a short metro ride, you’ll visit the monument to Dostoevsky and the author’s eponymous subway station. The final stop is Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, where Dostoevsky is buried alongside many other great Russian artists like Tchaikovsky. The tour runs every day except Mondays, but doesn’t stop at the cemetery on Thursdays.
Take a step back in time
Discover the author’s home as he saw it with a trip to the Dostoevsky Literary-Memorial Museum, at 5/2 Kuznechny Lane. Dostoevsky lived here twice: first briefly in 1846, and then again from 1878 until his death in 1881. This is also where he wrote his last novel, The Brothers Karamazov. The museum was established in 1971, 90 years after the author’s death, and was restored using descriptions from his wife Anna’s memoirs. In the study, the clock is stopped at the time and date of Dostoevsky’s death: 8:36 pm on January 28. Some of his personal items are on show, including a pen, wallet and medicine box. The rest of the museum holds a display commemorating Dostoevsky’s literary achievements, and temporary art exhibitions.
Celebrate Russian writers on Dostoevsky Day
Every year, on the first Saturday in July, St. Petersburg celebrates Dostoevsky Day. Founded in 2010, the holiday seeks to commemorate the writer with theater performances, tours, seminars, and even larger-than-life characters from his novels walking the streets. Libraries, museums, and theater groups from around the city participate in a day that celebrates one of St. Petersburg’s great literary heroes. Participants are encouraged to dress up and it’s not uncommon to see Raskolnikov himself wandering around town. Although still officially known as Dostoevsky Day, more authors have been added to the mix as the event has grown. Expect to see effigies of Russian greats like Alexander Pushkin and Nikolai Gogol. This year’s event is scheduled for July 2.
A hotel with literary inspiration
© Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
After a long day of discovering the city, take a break to reread Dostoevsky’s famous novel. Curl up with one of the 80 copies of Crime and Punishment available in a selection of languages from the lobby at the Radisson Sonya Hotel, St. Petersburg. The hotel was named after one of the book’s characters, Sophia “Sonya” Marmeladova. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find plenty of allusions to both the novel and the author. Look for a 19th century map of St. Petersburg detailing Raskolnikov’s walk through the city. Each cozy room is styled to evoke the era of Crime and Punishment. You’ll find desks modeled after Dostoevsky’s own writing desk and quotes from the book on the door to every room.
Top image © Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group