Locality: Saint Petersburg
Construction start / opening date: 1730
Architect: Wilhelm Pel
Original name: Griffin tower
The tower of griffins is a remnant of a brick boiler-house chimney, which is located in the courtyard of one of the old pharmacies in St. Petersburg. It is considered the most mysterious place in the city. It is constantly visited by people who believe that the tower is capable of fulfilling cherished desires.
The construction of the Tower of Griffins on Vasilyevsky Island took place in the 1730s. Initially, it was part of a pharmacy and was used to remove polluted air from the laboratory – in the pharmacy, which was also used as an apartment building, workshops were set up where medicines were produced.
The building was built in the Pharmacists’ Quarter – its borders are similar to Akademichesky, Dneprovsky lanes and the 7th line of Vasilyevsky Island. Until now, it is the quietest corner of St. Petersburg and one of the most interesting places on Vasilievsky Island, carefully hidden from prying eyes.
The Griffin Tower is part of Pel’s Pharmacy. Its height is about eleven meters, and its diameter is about two meters. It is painted red. It has no windows or doors, and the roof is tin. All bricks used to build the tower are numbered.
This building has become the center of a huge number of extraordinary stories. Now it is difficult to understand which of them are based on reliable facts, and which are fiction. To find out the origin of the rumors, you need to conduct a whole investigation – to analyze historical documents and compare the facts.
Griffin Tower mysticism
Many believe that the fate of the people who settled in the Apothecary Quarter mysteriously changed. Some made a successful career, others found a family, and still others got rich. For example, in 1853 Karl Siemens settled here. He soon became a famous person in the electrical industry.
One of the legends of the Tower of Griffins in St. Petersburg tells about the boy Peter. He was an orphan and wandered around the pharmacy district, dreaming of a family. One day he was taken by a rich gentleman who did not have children of his own.
There are a great many similar legends about this mystical place of St. Petersburg. People explain the unexpected changes in human destinies by the positive influence of one of the courtyards of the Apothecary Quarter, where the Tower of the Griffins is located. The numbers on the bricks of the building are constantly changing. They are said to sometimes form a so-called code of happiness. If you make a wish at this moment, it will come true.
Digital Tower – Egg Monument
In May 1994, residents of the area saw a huge egg on the roof of the sights of Vasilievsky Island, set in a nest made of cardboard. And the numbers from 0 to 9 appeared on the bricks of the building. As a result, the Tower became a kind of Monument to the Egg and received another name – Digital. The installation of the egg was timed to coincide with the upcoming holidays of the Day of Solidarity of Workers and Orthodox Easter. The egg was considered a symbol of the unity of all workers, and the numbering on the bricks meant the inventory number. The artist Alexei Kostroma wanted to perpetuate his work by numbering, since not all art objects were included in the state register. But this event was not successful – the egg constantly disappeared, but it was restored each time until the symbol was completely gone.
How to get there
The address of the Tower of Griffins is the 7th line of Vasilievsky Island, building No. 16. It is very easy to get to this sight of St. Petersburg. You need to get to the Vasileostrovskaya metro station, find Dr. Pel’s pharmacy, and the Tower of Griffins will be in front of you. It is quite difficult to get into the courtyard, since the entrance to it is closed. Only local residents who go out on business are allowed to enter the courtyard.
- The Griffin Tower cannot be found in any tourist route, and not all residents of St. Petersburg know about it.
- Other names for the building are Lone Optimist Tower or Digital Tower.
- Dr. Pel’s pharmacy is still operating, while being a museum at the same time.
- According to legend, invisible griffins guard the formula of happiness found by Wilhelm Pel as a result of alchemical experiments, which is hidden in the tower.
- The tower was renovated in 2009, and access to it was restricted in 2010 (the main reason is inappropriate visitors, some of whom committed acts of vandalism).