from the History
The square was established in 1737 as a market where hay, firewood and cattle were sold. It was built under the extension of the Garden Street, and grew quickly, becoming the cheapest and the most active market in Saint Petersburg. The Hay Market was a place where merchants and farmers could trade. It was there that malefactors were flogged before a large concourse of people.
In 1753, the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God was built in a sumptuous Baroque style. In the middle of the square is a former guardhouse (1818–20). The square was a venue for the cholera riots of 1831. The surrounding district was known for its infamous slums, which provide the setting for Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment.