1723 near the Winter Canal and along the Summer Garden, that is, right near the winter residence of the founder of the city. In 1719, the Imperial Order of Peter I obliged all landlords whose houses were with a view to the Big Neva River to keep the bank of the river clean. In July 1762, shortly after Catherine II ascended the throne, she adopted decree on stone facing of embankments on the Neva: ‘to make all the banks of the river opposite to our palaces gardens and government facilities cobbled’.
During the reign of Catherine II the process of facing embankments of the Neva was led by the Office for House and Garden Construction. The architectural part was carried out under the guidance of Yury Felten who was one of Catherine’s favourites and succeeded Rastrelli who had retired from service. The documents regarding the facing of embankments his is being mentioned as the construction worker, Karl Rossi and Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe were referred to as project designers.
‘I had a pleasure to take part in construction works of the monuments that glorify the realm of Her Imperial Majesty, to realize Your projects and ideas and possess the schemes and designs made with Your’s own hand’ – Yury Felten wrote to Catherine II. The Empress was well aware of who she needs to entrust the work to so that it is done perfectly.
The facing by a granite started from the Palace Embankment, that’s from the Winter Palace, to the Swan Canal (1763-1773). Since construction work of the main embankment in the Russian Empire considered to be a matter of a great importance, it was carried out quickly. The constructors proceeded the process of facing by a granite of the French and the English Embankments almost simultaneously with the facing of the Palace Embankment, respectively 1764-1768 and 1770-1778. Catherine II and her brilliant retinue enjoyed walking along the embankment and such famous people as Fonvisin, Sumarokov and Derzhavin were there on their way to work.
During the reign of Alexander I the process of facing embankments of the Neva was temporarily stopped. Napoleonic Wars, the Patriotic War in 1812 as well as the renewal of Moscow, which had been burnt to the ground, required a lot of investment. The lining was resumed on the Universitetskaya Embankment only in 1831. Fourteen years after the war, it took six years to line the Nikolaevskaya Embankment with granite. The only embankment that had not been lined on the left bank of the River in downtown was the Admiralteyskaya Embankment – the hindrance to carry out lining was the Admiralty Shipyard. The embankment was lined with granite, though, in 1873-1874 after the Admiralty Shipyard had been closed, canals had been covered up with sand and the sheds for ships had been dismantled. The Petrovskaya Embankment was the first one that was strengthened with shive, and two centuries after its construction the embankment was lined with granite (1901-1903).