On 27 May 1795 Catherine II gave her formal approval to a design for the building of the Imperial Public Library submitted by the architect Yegor Sokolov. Her officials began to implement the decision within days. Three issues of the St Petersburg Gazette carried an announcement inviting tenders. Building materials were acquired, workers hired and funds made available from the treasury by Catherine's verbal command. Construction of the first building in Russia specially intended to house a library began as early as June 1795. The site chosen lay in the very centre of the capital, at the junction of Nevsky Prospekt and one of the main cross streets, not far from the imperial palaces and closer still to the busy shopping complex of Gostiny Dvor.
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