Fyodor Dostoevsky loved the Petersburg white nights. Those special nights when it is hard to tell where the endless pearly radiance is coming from, the sky or the water. In this eerie luminescence the city founded by coercion acquires mystical features: ordinary events appear fantastic and utopian dreams realistic. On a white night in 1837 Fyodor Dostoevsky was brought to St. Petersburg by his father to study at the Main Engineering School. And on a white night in 1845 he showed his first novel Poor Folk to Nikolai Nekrasov. And became famous. In a letter to his brother he wrote about white nights: “When they came… I made use of them to write. You always write better in a state like that…”
The Petersburg of rented apartments, dark alleys and filthy yards is one of the main unchanging characters in Dostoevsky’s novels and stories. His image of the city is sometimes full of contempt, even loathing. Yet through the condemnation we sense the writer’s love of Petersburg, without which he could not imagine his life. Dostoevsky’s writing is based on endless wandering round the streets and yards of apartment houses, close scrutiny of passers-by, frequenters of taverns and overhearing their conversations and complaints. In choosing a new apartment he always preferred corner buildings because they provided a wider panorama. His final above, now a museum, was in a corner house in Kuznechny Alley (No. 5/2). Next to the former Yamsky Market and not far from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Vladimir. In an area where he found many interesting characters capable of providing prototypes for future literary heroes.