Alexander Column

The Alexander Column

The Alexander Column – is a monument on the Palace Square of St.Petersburg made in Empire Style and considered to be one of the symbols of the city.The column is devoted to the victory of Alexander 1, the monument was built in his honour and have his name.

Before the project Rossi planned to locate the monument in the middle of the square. But his suggested variant of horse statue of Peter 1 was not acceptable for him, so this place was free untill 1829 when the Emperor Nikolay made a contest on the best project to his brother Alexander 1, in which participated a famous french architect Monferran.

Empire Style

His first project was not accepted, though he decided not to give up. According to wishes of Nikolay 1, he changed his project of an obelisk for a column, and as an example he took a famous look of Trajan column in Rome.

The height of the new monument is impressive, and leaves behind many prototypes in the world, and the usage in a column as a stem a piece of granite was only at the period of project was a strong provocation in the engineering.So Monferran won on 24 september in 1829 when his project was approved.

Alexander 1

So started a long and hard work, on the place of the column was a basin with depth of 4 meters, and during 3 months there were driven in more than 1250 piles of 6 meters. The next layer they were covered with was granite blocks with width of half a meter.

In one of the central blocks was put a casket full of coins medals made in honourof Alexander 1, and also with a memorable note about the start of the building. On the fundament was installed a huge onument with weight 400 tones as a basement of pedestal. So while the installation was also used an original water mixture of soap and vodka, vodka helped cement to hold better on frosts and addition of soap the monument was easier to move taking lesser efforts.

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So when on the monuments were installed the upper parts of the pedestal, the first preparation works were over. While on the Palalce Square were building works on the shores of Gulf of Finland workers under the leadership of Yakovleva and Kolodkina were preparing future steam of the Alexander Column.

For transportation of the steam was built a special boat named “Saint Nikolay”, on which 1 july 1832 the monument arrived to the shores of the Palace. But the most complicated part of works was still ahead.

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Under the leadership of Betankura were made special building forests were installed a system of blocks and 60 capstans. In 1832 among thousands of people and members of Emperor Family, the column was installed. This hard operation took 1 hour 45 minutes and required almost 2.500 workers and soldiers.

 

Works of the decoration of the monument lasted for more tahn 2 years. On the very top of the column was installed a fugure of an angel, that was work of sculptor Orlovskiy, in his left hand angel hold a cross, and his look was turned to the earth. So the Emperor family wished to add to his face features of Alexander 1, and on the pedestal was also added military bards, weapon and fugures of:  Victory, Fame, Charity, Justice, Wisdom and Wealth.

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Four parts of pedestal are decorated with bronze high relieves, which were made by sculptors Svinzov and Leppe. On relieves from the side of the Main Office is depicted a figure of Victory that brings into a history memorable dates: 1812, 1813, 1814.

From the side of Winter Palace – there are two figures with wings and a note: “To Alexander 1, Grateful Russia”. There was a legend that people were still afraid to walk under the column, they were afraid that column would fall because it wasnt fixed and hold only by its own weight.

To Alexander 1, Grateful Russia

So by this reason every morning Monferran walked with his dog under the monument,by this way he tried to disperse fears of people.

In reality the Alexander Column is a personification of victory of kindness over evil, an allegory of peace that came in Europe after victory of Russian army over Napoleon. This Great Column made by Monferran even better than a Trajan Column in Rome and Vandomskaya Column in Paris.

The Alexander Column was even praised in a poem “Monument” written by the greatest Russian poet Alexaner Sergeevich Pushkin.