Joined to the Kammenoi, on the west, by a bridge, is another garden-island, called the Yelaginskoi, or Yelagin island, after the name of a family who once possessed it. It is now exclusively occupied by the imperial chateau and gardens. The court frequently reside here in the spring, the most brilliant season for the islands, but there is no amusement for the public beyond that of strolling about on foot and lionizing- the emperor's datscha. This has the appearance of an English or American country-residence, with the gravel-walks and flower-beds in admirable order. The rooms are by no means large, but yet very well arranged for living in quietly and comfortably. The emperor's own apartment is a perfect " snuggery " in its way. This island is said to be a favorite resort of the empress. The view from the chateau is delightful: first the gardens of the villa, then the broad sheet of the Neva with its verdant banks, and, lastly, the lofty spires of the capital are seen r ising in the distance. A promenade, similar to that at Catherinenhoff, takes place later in the year on the Yelagin island, at which the imperial family are present. This fete is more attractive, for the weather is more settled, and the scenery is much finer.
To the south of the islands of Yelagin and Kammenoi is the Krestovsky, or Cross island, which lies before the courtly Yelagin and Kammenoi Ostroff, toward the sea, and is larger than the two former put together. Numerous avenues have been opened through the thick, primeval birch and pine wood of this island, and afford agreeable views of the gulf of Finland. This island is peculiarly the resort of the lower classes ot St. Petersburg: hither flock the mujik and the kupez in gay gondolas, to enjoy in the woods their national amusements of swings and Russian mountains; and here on holydays smokes on the grass under every pine-group the favorite somovar, round which may be seen encamped a party of long-beards, gossiping, singing, and clamoring.
see more - The Gardens and Villas of St. Petersburg
Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855