Yelagin Island, St Petersburg, Russia  

Known as Mustila in Finnish, Yelagin Island, the smallest of the Kirov Islands in the northern part of the Neva delta, was inhabited by a colony of fisherman long before the founding of St. Petersburg. In 1709, it was presented by Peter the Great to Peter Shafirov, a distinguished diplomat and his Vice-Chancellor.

Confiscated when Shafirov was sentenced to death for embezzlement in 1723, the island changed hands nine times before the end of the 18th century.

Among its owners during this period was Ivan Perfilevich Yelagin, Oberhofmeister of the Imperial Court, who built the first brick palace on the island. It was his name that stuck in the popular consciousness, and the island has been Yelagin Island ever since.

Epic Russia Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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