There is an old house at number 12 on the Moika Embankment. In the 1720s Peter the Great’s secretary Baron Ivan Cherkassov lived here. Under Empress Elizabeth he rebuilt the house in Baroque style. In the early 19th century it was owned by Princess Sofia Volkonskaya, wife of the Court Minister and sister of the famous Decembrist. She rebuilt it in classical style.
In 1836 the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin moved into the first floor with his wife and children. The apartment consists of two suites of rooms, the formal rooms facing the Moika and the living rooms facing the backyard. Pushkin's beautiful wife Natalia attracted the importunate attentions of Georges D’Anthes in the Horse Guards. The hot-tempered and and jealous poet challenged him to a duel, which took place on February 8, 1837. The wounded poet died two days later. His funeral service was held in the church of the Stables Office a little further along the Embankment.