St. Petersburg is full of hidden treasures.
Just this month, Russian archeologists unearthed a 19th century market in the city center that had been buried under a parking lot and forgotten.
Now, the lot has been dug up to reveal the beautifully preserved foundations of a labyrinth-like market that was built in 1868.
The Novo-Aleksandrovsky Market was reportedly once one of the largest markets in St. Petersburg before the Russian Revolution, with more than 800 stalls selling furniture, books, antiques and clothes. In 1932, it was closed and partly dismantled by the Soviet authorities.
Now, the market’s red-brick basement, wooden floors, arches and parts of the façade can be seen in the courtyard while excavations are ongoing. Porcelain, ceramics, tools, scales and human bones have been excavated at the site.
Archaeologists discovered the market during surveys of the area as part of plans to build a university sports complex there.
“St. Petersburg consists of many old neighborhoods with their own history, unique development and city planning decisions,” Maksim Glukhov, the director of the excavations, was cited as saying by the local Bumaga news website.
“It’s hard to find something of such large scale [in St. Petersburg], it doesn’t happen often,” he added.
Local authorities have said that the 19th century structure holds historical and cultural significance and will be preserved as a museum.