18 Successful Merchants of Old Time

Successful Merchants of Old Time

The Eliseev brothers were rich Russian merchants who owned some shops, many warehouses and vodka and confectionery factories in the beginning of the last century. Let us look at the magnificent old buildings.

Eliseev (in the middle) and friends

The Eliseev building was erected on the corner of Nevsky Prospect and Malaia (Little) Sadovaia Street between 1902 and 1903.

The new building designed by G.V. Baranovsky, the company architect, housed the luxurious Eliseev food emporium selling fine imported and local wines and a large assortment of coffee, tea, food and confectionery products.

It embraced 3 trade halls decorated with mirrors and candles. A bank and a hall rented by performance groups occupied the 2nd floor.


Booking office.


Confectionery shop.

Making jam.

Caramel production.

Liquor production.

Rhine wine production.

Chocolate production.

Cigar production.


Package department.






External view of the shop.

General view of the shop.







Sausage factory.

Room where coffee was made.

Butter and vinegar production.

Selling groceries.

Confectionery room.

Crystal department.

Selling fruits.

In the yard.

External view of the shop.

The Eliseev brothers shop.

Looking at the building constructed in the flamboyant art nouveau style, it is hard to believe that it took ten years only for a poor peasant from the city of Yaroslavl to become a successful merchant and one of the richest people of Saint-Petersburg. It happened due to ideal personal qualities and luck as after the war with Napoleon Russia experienced the age of rise in every aspect of life.

If only stores of today could look like this! They sooner resembled some museums.

Do contemporary businessmen put so much soul in what they do?

Location: Saint-Petersburg

via humus

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18 Responses to “Successful Merchants of Old Time”

  1. noh says:

    Lots of suff, lots of people, few machinery.

  2. Iggy says:

    All of this lost in revolution and 70+ years of communism…

  3. Le Français says:

    there is no cigars’production picture but two chocolates production pictures.
    En plus, “c’ est écrit dessus,
    comme le Port-salut”!

  4. Otis R. Needleman says:

    Great pictures! Thanks much!

  5. Liptonius says:


    It’s nice, but in the U.S., we have pretty much the same thing every 23 miles.

    It’s called “Wal-Mart”

  6. Fred Johnson says:

    And then the Bolsheviks came along and liked what they saw, and thought they’d like to own it. And then hell began. They’re just now returning to a prosperous way of life.
    So sad. Sad it too them so long to figure it out. China too.
    Capitalism and freedom lifts all boats (that work to be lifted), where socialism/marxim, sinks all boats and brings misery to everybody equally (well, almost, not those at the top, like in government).

    Just goes to show ya, if you’re going to have a revolution, you have to be the one to start it, or you’ll live like a commoner.

    • Anatole says:

      What an amazing number of baseless assumptions you make. Since the end of the USSR, life expectancy has dropped precipitously, living conditions have declined, and a few oligarchs have gotten very rich. Capitalism creates inequality and misery for most; socialism and Marxism are about sharing the wealth, which the early Bolsheviks did. If capitalists hadn’t invaded the Soviet Union and killed hundreds of thousands of people, socialism might have had a chance.

      On an entirely different topic, Lentiseev’s is still around today and it’s beautiful. I’d imagine the brothers lost their property so ordinary people could shop there. The Bolsheviks didn’t destroy it.

      • America says:

        Oh please Soviets/Russians only have themselves to blame for the failures of communism. They were the one running the show. They murdered, starved and victimized millions more then were ever killed in all the wars they fought.

    • Chac Mool says:

      It began with people dying of hunger and later repressing all their complaints. It’s called long lasting abuse.

      That’s how all revolutions start, communist or not.

  7. Ducere says:

    Very impressive.

  8. Gerry says:

    So what happened to these brothers after revolution? There were arrested and sent to labor camps for being too bourgeois?

    • Lord Kitchener says:

      Most probable thing is that they ended up in Paris or London, buying the best real state available. Nothing new…

  9. revolution says:

    I assume that only a few people(10% or so?) were able to buy those goods at that time. The rest of people could only watch those goods on display. Do not be deceived by what you see through your eyes. Tremendous inequalities existed in those times.

    • vorontsevich says:

      Not just in those times. In Imperial times it was 5%, in Soviet times it was 10%, in the 1990’s it was 1%, and nowadays who knows how much. Same everywhere I suppose.

  10. Thomas says:

    This is great, but i’d like to know if the building still stands today ???

  11. Maria van Overbeek says:

    The building is not art nouveau.

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