The Admiralty complex was started in 1704 as a shipping yard encircled with ramparts with a space for the Admiralty collegium sittings. By 1715 there were already about 10000 workers in this enterprise! The main accent of the original 1-storey high building was a spire, increased in 1727 to 72 m. In early 19 century the existing complex was constructed with its main southern facade being 406 m long. Two side isles with arches were facing the Neva. The spire with a weathervane in a form of a ship became one of the symbols of St.Petersburg.
In 1844 the shipping yard was closed and moved down the stream and the whole building was occupied by the navy ministry. In front of it the first city boulevard was laid out. The space between the aisles from the river side was filled with apartment houses in 1870ies. One of them, originally constructed for the Grand duke Mikhail Mikhailovich, is now being privatised (after its nationalisation in 1917).
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