Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg

The Monument to Catherine

The Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg, Russia was officially opened in 1873. The idea to put the monument in St. Petersburg came to the relatives and close people of Catherine the Great. Though she was against it, the monument was built a century ago by the order of Alexander 2. There is even a note on the basement of the monument that tells it was devoted to Catherine the Great from Alexander 2.

Actually it was strange that there were no a monument devoted to Catherine the Great for such a long time. So only in 19th century it was decided to build such a monument and the place where it should be located was Tsarskoye Selo. So it was right to put the monument in Tsarskoye Selo because there was also situated Catherine’s Palace.

Catherine 2

But in reality there are many questions that we still dont know the answers on and only can find them in the history of Russia, so why the monument had its project on the paper for a century and why there even existed a possibility to deliver it abroad?

For ordinary people Catherine was the Great Queen that was praised by her kind actions but for her relatives she supposed to be a cruel german woman that became a wife of Romanov and then killed him to get the throne. If this is true we will never know.

30.05.2010 St. Petersburg. Katharine die große am Nevskij Prospekt

So the history tells that in 1859 a painter Ladin asked Alexander 2 for permission to build the monument devoted to Catherine the Great on the anniversary of the Academy of Arts in 1864. So Alexander agreed but he didn’t allow putting the monument on the territory of the Academy of Arts, his oreder was to put the monument on the territory of Tsarskoye Selo.

In July 1859 it was ordered the best sculptors like Klodt, Pimenov and many others to organize a contest for the best projects of the monument to Catherine the Great and its installation in Tsarskoselskiy Garden.


So in the middle of summer in 1860 the projects created by Zaleman, Tokarev and Wanse were represented in Academy of Arts and considered unsatisfied by Alexander 2. But later tuen of the second and the third contest came but noone even appeared there.

In 1861 the project of Mikeshin became interesting for Alexander 2, though Mikeshin was not a sculptor, at first his projest was denied but later it was accepted by Alexander 2. So the 25 year-old Mikeshin suggested to depict Catherine in a great pose on the pedestal with her famous supporters: Potemkin, Rumianceva, Suvorov, Orlova, and Derzhavin.


After this the Academy of Arts approved that the pedestal had not a right size, that the statue of Catherine is not so impressed and that Lyre is not suitable in her left hand.In august of 1861 the Emperor accepted the project of Mikeshin though he said it seemed to him that the head of Catherine’s rather small. So at first Mikeshin made the model of the monument in a small size, and then this model was casted of bronze on the Shopen plant in St.Petersburg, the monument was made in rococo style the same as the Palace where it was planned to locate the monument.

The Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg

After this the monument was send in London’s exposition where the monument even got an honoured medal. After return in St.Petersburg the Emperor found the place to locate the monument in the Palace.So the statue looks forward to people, Catherine the Great holds lyre in her left hand and scepter in her right hand, she has a long coat that makes a long mantle, at her feet there is a long wreath of oak and laurel leaves and roses.


The statue look gourgeous, its height is 1 m and 11 cm; the pedestal is 1 m 18 cm. The whole height of the monument is 2 m 29cm.

“Catherine the Great, is a Queen that rules the lives of her nation, she is a brave and decent, disposable and proud, she is the creator of punishments, the author of comedies, she is the founder of educational buildings – it was a task at her right hand talent. It was necessary to creat the same light, smiling and full of mind look of Catherine the Great”, – said Mikeshin about her.


With the installation of the monument devoted to Catherine 2, St. Petersburg go the best monument. So nowadays it is hard to imagine this square without the monument devoted to Catherine the Great. Citizens of St. Petersburg always come to this park in the very center of the city and with pleasure enjoy the surroundings.

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