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Early in the history of St. Petersburg the Strelka (spit) of Vasilevsky Island, the largest island of the Neva delta, was intended to become the heart of downtown St Petersburg. Some of the buildings, such as the Customs House, still remain from that time, although downtown shifted onto the left bank of the river. In the early 19th century one of St. Petersburg's most elegant architectural ensembles appeared on the eastern edge of the island. The imposing white colonnaded building of the Stock Exchange was its focal point, and was flanked by two Rostral Columns. The Stock Exchange, designed by the French architect Thomas de Tomon and built in 1805-10, was inspired by Ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The two Rostral Columns, studded with ships' prows, served as oil-fired navigation beacons in 1800s (on some public holidays gas torches are still lit today).

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For more information about the Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns of St. Petersburg, Russia, please point your browser to http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/stock.asp



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