History of Rubinstein Street - ProBa Russian Language School
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History of Rubinstein Street

Rubinstein Street, where ProBa Language Centre situates, is located in the heart of Saint-Petersburg, near Nevsky Prospect – the main street of our city.

This street was named after Anton Rubinstein, composer and Tchaikovsky’s mentor.

Rubinstein Street is the city’s “dining heaven.” There is a restaurant, café, bar, or pub in almost every one of the 40 buildings along this compact street.


More than century ago, this street was a place, where many famous Russian writers and poets like Brodsky and Dovlatov, and, of course, many underground rock-stars crossed paths.

The most famous building is the “Tolstoy House”. It belonged to count Mikhail Tolstoy, distant relative of Leo Tolstoy – the greatest Russian writer. An interesting fact: a prototype of one of the Russian literature’s extravagant and mysterious characters, Professor Voland (the Devil himself) from “The Master and Margarita,” (one of the most interesting masterpieces which one could read to learn the Russian language) written by Mikhail Bulgakov, also lived in this house. While visiting Saint-Petersburg, Bulgakov used to stay in the apartment of Dmitry Pozdneev, a scholar and one of Bulgakov’s relatives. Pozdneev, a man with a remarkable personality, had a lot in common with his fictional characterization: Voland had “an empty left eye” just like Pozdneev, who wore a prosthetic glass eye; both of them were dark-haired, Orientalist professors of high stature and heavy smokers with low voices. Pozdneev was executed during Stalin’s purge in 1937, while the image of Voland lives on forever in Bulgakov’s novel.


In the 1950s among the residents of Rubinstein Street was Evgeny Rein, a poet and a friend of Joseph Brodsky. They first met in the late 50s: Brodsky visited him and read poems, which Rein really liked. So they became friends. After a little while, Rein got a room on Rubinstein Street 19 and Brodsky helped him to move. He lived nearby, so poets began to see each other daily.

Also, Rein was friends with a famous writer Sergey Dovlatov. He visited Rein almost every day as he lived nearby as well – on Rubinstein Street 23, until his emigration to the United States. 

Through the windows of Tolstoy’s house one can see a beautiful yet small public garden, named after a singer Edward Khil, also known as “Mr. Trololo”.

In the early 1980s, there was an increasing number of the young rock musicians on the street, so in 1981 was opened the first Russian official rock club at Rubinstein 13. It was the only place, where musicians could play rock music legally. This rock club helped to start careers of the bands like “Kino”, whose songs are still popular to these days.

Today Rubinstein Street is one of the most packed streets of Saint Petersburg especially at the evening. There are more than 50 restaurants and bars are located along the short Rubinstein Street. Every bar is trying to attract people by its own style. So, Rubinstein Street is one of the places that you definitely should visit in Saint Petersburg.


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