The edifice was re-built in the nineteenth century to support the Tsar's maritime ambitions. The original design was a fortified shipyard which was later surrounded by five bastions and further protected by a moat.
The Empire Style edifice visible today lining the Admiralty Quay was constructed to Andreyan Zakharov's design between 1806 and 1823. Located at the western end of the Nevsky Prospekt, The Admiralty with its gilded spire topped by a golden weather-vane in the shape of a small sail warship (Korablik), is one of the city's most conspicuous landmarks and the focal point of old St. Petersburg's three main streets - Nevsky Prospect, Gorokhovaya Street, and Voznesensky Avenue - underscoring the importance Peter I placed on Russia's Navy.
Vladimir Nabokov, writer and native of St. Petersburg, wrote a short story in May 1933 entitled "The Admiralty Spire."
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