One of the pioneers of the national renaissance was A. M. Gornostaev (1804-1862), a professor at the Academy, whose earlier buildings were quite cosmopolitan in character. Being requested by the Superiors of the Monasteries of Sergievo-Poustiny (near Petrograd) and Valaam, on Lake Ladoga, to carry out their commissions in the Russian style, he turned his attention to national features, and pro duced a picturesque basilica church for the first, and two churches for the second, community. The clock tower of the Gostinny Dvor in Petrograd was also his design.
It is estimated that the Gostiny Dvor contains about a thousand shops, filled with all kinds of merchandise, and the Alexander Rinok, a resort of the Jews, as many more. Here beautiful lace made by the peasants of the interior may be purchased, linen from Kostroma, Orenburg shawls of lovely design, lacquer-work, the manufacture of which is still a secret, and fine gold and silver enamel-work, believed to have been introduced by the Varangians or taken from Byzantium. Icons, too, of every description – are sold. Many of these are exceedingly beautiful, and their hanging lamps make them an ornament fit for any room —though they are put, one thinks, to better use by the devout, whose erring thoughts turn to heavenly things when they look on the representations of Christ and the saints.