The chief sights include the Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace, the huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral, the Art Nouveau Bookhouse, Elisseeff Emporium, half a dozen 18th-century churches, a monument to Catherine the Great, an enormous 18th-century shopping mall, a mid-19th-century department store, the Russian National Library, and the Anichkov Bridge with its horse statues. The feverish life of the avenue was described by Nikolai Gogol in his story "Nevsky Prospekt". Fyodor Dostoevsky often employed the Nevksy Prospekt as a setting within his works, such as Crime and Punishment and The Double: A Petersburg Poem.
During the early Soviet years (1918–44) the name of Nevsky Prospect was changed, first to "Proletkult Street" (Ulitsa Proletkul'ta) in honor of that Soviet artistic organization. Following the demise of Proletkult the name was changed again, this time to "Avenue of the 25th of October," alluding to the day of the October Revolution.
The Nevsky today functions as the main thoroughfare in Saint Petersburg. The majority of the city's shopping and nightlife are located on or right off of the Nevsky Prospekt.
The street is served by the stations Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor, Mayakovskaya, Ploshchad Vosstaniya and Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo I of Saint Petersburg Metro.