No. 64: Bel-vu Furnished Rooms
The Corner of Nevsky and Karavannay
During late 1905 and several times in 1906, Andrei Bely stayed in one of the furnished rooms at the “Bel-vu” in the corner building on 64 Nevsky and Karavannaia Street. It was during these stays in Petersburg, prompted by his frenzied and tormented love for Blok’s wife Liubov Dmitrievna, that the vision of Petersburg began to crystallize in the novelist’s mind. All three members of this famous erotic triangle met in Bely’s room in the spring of 1906 to discuss their troubled relationship.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of businesses had their offices and showrooms in the corner building: Jacob and Josef Kohn’s Viennese Furniture Store, which sold antique and art nouveau (style modern) furniture; R.E. Erichson’s company that specialized in installing heating, ventilation, electrical lighting, and elevators; the biggest shop of George Landrin’s famous chocolates; M.S. Kuznetskov’s women’s wear, especially English blouses, and a beauty shop. In 1917-1918, the editorial board of Maxim Gorky’s newspaper New Life (Novaia zhizn’) worked in 64 Nevsky.
Alexander Drankov, photographer of the State Duma, established the offices of the first Russian cinematic studio in the building in 1908. He made the first Russian newsreels, filmed Tolstoy, and produced the first Russian fiction film – Stenka Razin, for which he also did the camera work. After the revolution, Drankov emigrated and ended up in Hollywood, working in films, and opened a small café on Venice Beach.