This historical north-western area of St.Petersburg was named after the castle town of Vyborg (Rus. Выборг - a transcription of its Swedish name Viborg) after the latter was taken from Swedish Empire (which then included present-day Finland) by Russian army under Tsar (later Emperor) Peter the Great during the Great Northern War of early 18th century, thus safeguarding the new Russian capital St.Petersburg. This north-western area of the city was the nearest to Vyborg and has been connected to it by major roads which have almost never lost their significance as international transportation routes.
This part of the city, divided in the 20th century longitudinally between Vyborgski and Kalininskiy districts of the city, has been historically known as Vyborgskaya storona - the Vyborg Side (the northern side - bank - of the Neva River delta).
The south of the district has so far kept most of its traditional brick buildings of both factories, offices and apartment houses dating back to the 19 century - 1950s, while its northern half has been built up as a residential area by 9-12-storey-high apartment blocks since the 1960s, with present-day construction companies encroaching with their apartment 15-20+-storey-tall high-rises on both the older and the newer parts of the district.
Vyborgski district has preserved a certain tangible memory of the nation's success in the Great Northern War. The day of the decisive Battle of Poltava in the south (in what is now Ukraine), on which Russians had their first major success in the war, fell on the feast day of Saint Sampson the Hospitable (June 27, 1709), and a grand cathedral in his honour was built on the road to Vyborg. Completed during the reign of Anna of Russia, Sampsoniyevskiy Sobor (Saint Sampson's Cathedral) is now a museum - a branch of the ring of four museum churches with the head office at Saint Isaac's Cathedral. Saint Sampson's Cathedral features among the few church buildings preserved from the first half of the 18th century - from the city's first decades of existence. It replaced an earlier wooden church, whose construction started in 1709 on the Tsar's order, and which was consecrated the following year. The cathedral is interesting architecturally for its admixture of Old Russian (pre-Peter) forms with then-current elements of West European trends, forming together "Anna's baroque" and is also known for its unique carved wooden iconostasis from that time. For the bicentennial of the Battle of Poltava the ground floor of the bell tower was decorated by memorial plaques citing Peter's selfless encouraging words to his army on the day. Opposite the building was placed Peter the Great's statue by Mark Antokolsky, taken away during the Soviet years and restored on its place in the early 21st century.
The place behind the church was used as the city's first official cemetery, being located way off the city's center. Though the place was subordinate to the state Russian Orthodox Church, the name of Sampson the Hospitable was convenient to give the last shelter to remains of many foreigners from Western Europe of other Christian denominations who helped Peter and design and build the city, such as Domenico Trezzini, Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond and Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The graves has mostly been lost over the centuries, with most of the former cemetery converted into a quiet public garden. The memory of the city's first architects was commemorated for the city's tricentennial by Mikhail Shemyakin with a monument To First-Builders of Saint Petersburg. The memorial was made of an engraved Gothic granite arch with bronze details such as a drawing desk with the first city plan, an inkstand with a quill, and a memento mori - a human skull. All these bronze details have been since then stolen and never replaced (see photo).