Next to St. Isaacs Cathedral stands an interesting building at Admiralty Avenue, 12. This triangular building, designed by August Montferrand and built in 1817-1820, has gone down in the history of architecture as the residence of Prince Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky.
The main façade on the house looking out onto the Admiralty is adorned with a fine portico of eight Corinthian columns mounted on an arcade protruding far enough for coaches to ride up to the front door along the wide ramp.
The central parts of the facades facing onto the Neva and St Isaac’s Cathedral are mighty porticoes of many columns with arcades. They rest on massive stylobates faced with Rapakivi granite slabs. The plinth of the building along the whole perimeter had been revetted with the same slabs.
On granite pedestals white marble lions guard the central archway like sentinels (sculptor Paolo Triscorni, 1810). One of them has placed its paw on a ball, which has escaped it. The sculptor introduced these balls for a reason: the lions, leaning on a round object, had to be at the ready at all times to guard their masters.
It was on one of those lions that Evgeny in Pushkins famous poem about Saint Petesburg - Bronze Horseman - sought refuge from the flood.During World War II, the ball under one of the lion’s paw was scathed by shell fragments. The damage has been patched up with stone.