The Bronze Horseman

medniy_vsadnikThe Bronze Horseman, an impressive monument to the founder of St. Petersburg, Peter the Great, was built by order of the Empress Catherine the Great as a tribute to her famous predecessor on the Russian throne, Peter the Great. The inscription on the monument reads in Latin and Russian: Petro Primo Catarina Secunda - To Peter the First from Catherine the Second.

Monument to Catherine the Great

The statue of Catherine is surrounded by delicately carved figures of the most prominent individuals of her reign: politicians and poets, military men and courtiers. Catherine the Great is dressed in her official gown and holds a scepter in her right hand and an olive wreath in her left hand. Among the dignitaries, who's likenesses have been carved on the statue's pedestal, are Alexander Suvorov, perhaps the most famous general in Russian history, Prince Potiomkin, the general and politician, Ekaterina Dashkova, the first woman to chair the Russian Academy of Sciences and the celebrated poet Gavrila Derzhavin.

Alexander Column

alexander_column_topThe Alexander Column the focal point of Palace Square, was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand and built between 1830 and 1834. The monument is 155 feet 8 inches tall and is topped with a statue of an angel holding a cross (the face of the angel is said to be modeled on the face of Emperor Alexander I). The body of the column is made of a single monolith of red granite, which stands 83 feet 6 inches high and about 11 feet 5 inches in diameter. It is a terrific feat of engineering that this enormous column, weighing an incredible 1,322,760 pounds (600 tons), was erected in under 2 hours without the aid of modern cranes and engineering machines. The pedestal of the Alexander Column is decorated with symbols of military glory.

The Monument to Peter the Great ( opposite the Mikhailovsky Castle)

The impressive bronze equestrian monument to Peter the Great was erected in front of the Mikhailovsky castle in 1800. Renowned Italian sculpture Carlo Rastrelli succeeded in sculpting a particularly impressionable and powerful image of Peter the Great.

Monument to Peter the Great (by Mikhail Shemiakin)

In 1991 a monument to the city's founder Peter the Great was created by Leningrad artist Mikhail Shemyakin and donated to the city. The unfamiliar and mysterious Emperor who reminds one of a criminal awaiting his execution in the electric chair is comfortably arranged in a large bronze chair with armrests, and seemingly ready to jump out of his chair and remind all around him that he is the ruler of his country. Indeed, the sculpture seems to bring out the most contradictory feelings in the viewer, and in spite of its relatively young age the sculpture is already the object of much city folklore.

Over time St. Petersburg citizens have grown to love the memorial. Arguments about the monument have died down, and curiously enough city traditions have grown up around the monument. For example, the bronze on Peter the Great's hands and legs shines brightly and therefore it seems that everyone wants to touch the memorial for good luck.

Monument to Nicholas I (on Isaakievskaya Square)

The monument was built by a famous Russian architect August Monferrane between 1856 and 1859. Monferrane also built the neighboring St. Isaac's Cathedral. The monument to Nicholas I accurately and powerfully depicts the determined absolutist Russian ruler as a powerful military figure.

Chizhik Pyzhik on Fontanka Embankment

Chizhik Pyzhik, an 11-centimeter statue of a siskin, was installed near the Summer Garden in 1994, on the site of the former Imperial Legal Academy.The Academy's students wore green and yellow uniforms that apparently made them look like siskins. Their habitual - clandestine - visits to a well-known local hostelry led to the Petersburg folk-song, "Chizhik Pyzhik, where've you been? On Fontanka, drinking vodka."

The sculptor of this miniature masterpiece, said: "Chizhik Pyzhik helps students to get through unhappy love-affairs and get around on public transport without having tickets." Local tradition suggests that anyone who can toss a coin so that it lands on the statue without falling into the water is in line for some good luck.

 


Nikolay Gusarov +7 (964) 762-47-92 gussarov@rambler.ru
Olga Bogoyavlenskaya +7 (985) 766-20-43 olga@rusadventure.com
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