Kanonersky Island

Viona container ship in the distance

Recently I’ve visited Kanonersky island. While it’s located close to the centre of St. Petersburg, it’s mostly industrial and a huge chunk of it is pretty much a wasteland with occasional garbage piles here and there.

Before Peter the Great decided to build a city here the Finns called it Kissasaari (“cats’ island”). Later it became Kanonersky island after the word “cannoneer”: there was gunpowder storage and training grounds there.

In 1877 the construction of Morskoy channel (“sea channel”) started. It was designed to allow big ships go directly to the harbors of St. Petersburg instead of mooring in Kronstadt island located 30 km to the west in the Finnish gulf. The seaward part of Kanonersky island was fortified with granite blocks and stones to protect its sandy soil from washing away by the waves:

Kanonersky island banks enforced with granite blocks Kanonersky island banks enforced with granite blocks — partially destroyed

The Sea channel is 80–120 meters wide. The ships pass by very close to the shore:

Wybelsum container ship heading to St. Petersburg harbor  Viona container ship heading to St. Petersburg harbor

The coastline in some places is covered with red bricks. The oldest I saw had year 1813 etched on it. Perhaps some of those are remains of the buildings that can be seen on this 1942 German aerial photo:

1942 German aerial photo of Kanonersky island spit

There are a lot of oddly shaped ditches there as well:

Old ditches on Kanonersky island

People used to get to Kanonersky island by ferry or by private boats until in 1983 a tunnel was built which connected the island to the rest of the city. Now it’s a weird mixture of industrial areas, dull apartment buildings, picturesque wild park with nice sea views, and popular fishing destination.

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