Tag Archives: st. petersburg

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

St. Isaac’s

St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the greatest and of the most beautiful parochial buildings in St. Petersburg. It was rebuilt four times. The first St. Isaac’s Church was built and sanctified in 1707 under the Peter’s I the Great government. The church was wooden and it was almost ten times smaller than the actual one which is more than a hundred meters tall and occupies over a thousand square meters of territory.

St. Isaac's Cathedral

St. Isaac’s Cathedral which decorates the city nowadays was sanctified in 1858 in the presence of Alexander II the liberator. Many famous Russian artists and sculptors such as K. Brullov and P. Clodt took part in works on appearance of the Cathedral. The interior is astonishing, all kinds of monumental and decorative art such as paintings, sculptures, gilded bronze, mosaic, marble, facing stone are presented in there; the main iconostasis is enriched with lazurite and malachite columns. The building is so beautiful that it creates a tremendous impression which imprints in your memory forever.

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Since 1948 the Cathedral works as a museum under the same name. Access balcony was placed on the dome from where a great panorama of the whole city is presented. Now, its doors are opened for all comers.

Gatchina

Gatchina

Gatchina is a wonderful picturesque city, located in the south- eastern part of St.Petersburg, 46 kilometers away from it. In this small city there are many palaces and landscapes that can be considered a real works of art. This small place in the world was built and decorated by talented masters, architectures, sculptors and gardeners, they created there a real piece of art that still didnt loose its beautiful nature.

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The first villa in Gatchina was built for Natalia Alekseevna, who was a sister of Peter 1, in 1708. Catherine 2 bought its place for Graf Orlov after death of Natalia Alekseevna. Graf Orlov appreciated her gift very much and at once started to invite famous russian and foreign achitecturers to build architectural palaces and parks there.

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The Palace that looks like a hunting house with towers was built by the project of famous italian achitect Antonio Rinaldi. Creation of Chemenskiy obelisk in honour of victory of russian sailers over turkish army in 1770 was also planned by Rinaldi. Park was designed in english style in accordance with modern requires of landscape design, and became one of the most wonderful parks.

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The Empress decided to bought the villa after the death of graf Orlov and gave it as a gift to her son Pavel Petrovich, who became later the Empreror Pavel 1. He changed the look of the villa and it started to look like a real camp. Pavel 1 asked an achitect Vinchencco Brenno to change the look of the Palace, to make it look like a middleaged castle with bridges and bastions.

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Instead of the field in front of the Palace appeared a military camp.There were spent marches by armies and taught soldiers and officers of Prussian army. Gathina started to be called a city officilally and even got its own emblem in 1796, when Pavel 1 became an Emperor. Since then the Palace got the functions of Emperor residence. After the death of Pavel there were no changes in a city, and in 1851 a monument to Peter 1 was located on the square in front of the Palace.

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In russian history of aviation Gatchina played an important role, here was opened the first air school and aeroclub, and on the military field aeromen showed their first flights.

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The architectural territory of Gatchina was not robbed after the October Revolution as it happened to many other historical places, later there was opened a museum. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War many works of art from an artistic gallery of the Paalce were removed and brought abroad. In 1941 german army occupied its territories and the city was ruined, the Palace was destroyed,trees damages and pavillions were ruined with explosions.

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The reconstructionstarted after the war and lasted for many years, so the park and the palace were opened visiting again only in 1985.So after the Great Patriotic war the Palace became a museum where were gathered for more than 54.000 precious exhibits. It was possible to save 5th half of all the exhibits during the war with the help of museums workers.The Palace suffered a lot from bombing and the inner decoration was almost entirely ruined.

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Gathin’s gardens and picturesque parks are represented by its projects and rich with its flora, beuatiful kinds of trees. There are bridges, terraces, effective stone stairs, pavillion with an Eagle symbol on the Long Island, Venus pavillion on the island of Love, Wood orangery, Poultry house, Birch and Admiralty gates.

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Prioratskiy Palace is also unique with its look and architecture. It reminds a middleaged castle. In 1971- 1975 a unique Birch House was built in Gatchina, by its look it reminds a huge stack of wood. The main peculiarities of Gatchina represent parks and basins – White and  Silver lakes, Karpin Pond and its islands.

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At the presence of Alexander 2, Alexander 3 and Nikolay 2 till 1917 Gatchina was their favourite place of hunting. At the beginning of 20th century Gatchcna became a country villa and became a favoutrite place of rest for citizens of St.Petersburg. Later there developed social life, started to work organizations and societies, was opened the first theatre.

In the city appeared cars with high speed that moved on the lit streets, and in the sky appeared first military aeroplanes.

That is how citizens of Gatchina became the first spectators of new technologies in the 20th century.

The Field of Mars

The Field of Mars

The Field of Mars is the greatest memorial park in the center of St. Petersburg which occupies almost 90 thousand square meters. Majestic panorama of spacious square with a monument in honor of victims of the revolution ends with the Summer Garden in the South, the Michael Garden in the East, and Suvorov Square and Neva River in the North. The field originates in first years of the city itself.

The Field of Mars 1

In the beginning of the 18th century there was a swamp in place of today’s Field of Mars. Actually, the field received its contemporary name in 1805 for the first time. During a period of 1711-1716 the territory was used for holding of holidays, military festivals and marches. Lots of holidays were accompanied with fireworks that used to be called “poteshniye ogni” that is why the field was called the Poteshnoe Field. Under Catherine I the Great it was called “Caryzin Loug” (empress grassland) because her summer palace was placed there at that time. In 1805 a statue of famous Russian general Suvorov was set on the land and the field was named the Field of Mars. Some historians believe that it was called so because the statue depicted Suvorov wearing armor of an ancient war god Mars. In 1917 the fallen of February and October revolutionary actions were buried in the field. A year later it was renamed again in honor of the dead. The Mars Field turned into the Revolution square and a well-known memorial “Borzam Revoluzii” (in honor of fighters of the revolution). In 1942 during the time of the siege of the Second World Two the field was completely covered with vegetable gardens. At the end of the siege in 1944 the field was given its contemporary name. On November 6 of 1957 the first Eternal fire in the USSR was lighted in the center of the memorial “Borzam Revoluzii”.

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The mars field is an integral part of St. Petersburg which carries the spirit of history and traditions of the city.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)1

Peterhof (Petrodvorets) is a country residence of russian emprerors located in 29 kilometers from St. Petersburg, Russia. Peterhof is called a “capital of fountains”. There is a wonderful view you can observe when you are coming to Peterhof from the sea side: a huge Palace is situated at the higest point of 16 meters terrace.A huge cascade sparkles with golden sculptures and silver fountain streams at her slope.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)2
In the middle of the water basin and in front of the casacde there is a fountain named “Samson”, further the water goes to the Gulf. The Gulf is the one of the oldest buildings in Peterhof,  it was created by Peter 1 and was built in 1715 during the building of Upper Gardens. The Gulf became transport artillery and a front entrance in Peterhof, but when in 1735 the Samson Fountain was built in the centre of the basin, it got complicated to use the Gulf.

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Peter 1 suggested to built 22 fountains, that could look like in the stories of  Aesop, with sculptures along the Gulf. But later it was decided to make the fountains in a view of vases. In 1854-1860 the old vases were removed and there were left 14 fountains.Now their powerful streams creat a huge connonade that leads to the Great Cascade. The Gulf is considered to be one of the best attracts of the Peterhof, known for its beauty. It is decorated with granite and gold, but moreover the Gulf depicts an artistic and georaphical connection between the residence and the water.

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The Gulf divides the Park into two parts: the eastern and western. In the eastern part there are situated many splendid attracts, such as: “Monplaisir”, “Rome Fountains”, “Pyramid Fountains”, “A chess mountain”, “The Sun”. In the western there are situated the “Hermitage”, “Marly Palace”, a “cascade Golden Mountain”.
Peter 1 chose this place for building of Peterhof because while his researches in the surroundings he found several water streams, that is how the creation of water system was given to Vasiliy Tuvolkov to charge over the building. Tuvolkov was a russian master educated in Holland and France.

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In 1721 under the guidance of Tuvolkov were built channels and sluice-gates,by them from Ropshinskie visoty water moved by itself to the Upper Gardens basins, so that is why here it was possible to built only small fountains, though in the Lower Park,that was situated in the foot of the terrace, the water moved from the 16 meters height down to the basin of the Upper Garden and fell down with lots of streams making a huge fountain the park.
Nowadays is still greatly appreciated the talent of Peter 1, who found all the water resources, the water system works till now that tells us about his skills.

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Peterhof is also known not only by its fountains, but also by a great quantity of Palaces and Museums. Museums are situated as on the territory of the Lower Park and above it. The Hermitage is situated in the eastern part of the Lower Park on the seaside of the Gulf. In terms of french language The Hermitage means – “a hut of a desert-dweller”. The front appearance of the Hermitage is depicted in its elegance. Its building started in 1721 by the order of Peter 1.

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The Marly Palace is another beautiful building and a near gorgeous Marly Basin looks like a huge mirror that is divided into 4 sections. Building of the Marly Basin and its ponds started in 1719-1720. At first it was built as a one floor building, but by the order of Peter 1, there was added one more floor that gave the building an amazing balance.
The Great Palace is the largest and the most famous building in Peterhof, it is situated in the very center of the park. Near the Great Palace is situated the Great Basin, it is a balanced building built with three floors with galleries and with golden domes that stretches for almost 300 meters.

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The look of the Great Palace today is a result of repairing and transformation of the building during 2 centuries. The Cottage Palace – is an architecture building of Alexandria Park in Petrodvorets. It is located on the Upper terrace in the south-eastern part of the park. From here you can observe the Finland Gulf and St.Petersburg surroundings. It was built in 1826-1829 by the project of Menelas architect in a gothic style.
14 September of 1947 is a historical moment in Peterhof, in front of the Great Cascade took its place golden bronze figures of Lions with open mouth. Peterhof impresses with its architecture, sculpter, harmony, art and nature.

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.

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) – is an outstanding example of world architecture and art. The best sculptors and painters of 18-20 century impersonated wishes and ideas of the Russian Emperors.

The history of Tsarskoye Selo is connected with goverment of three women: Catherine 1, Elizabeth Petrovna, and Catherine 2. The main building here is a Large Catherine Palace, which is located on the hill.

Tsarskoye Selo

It was built in the presence of Catherine 1, but Elizabeth Petrovna considered it to be uncomfortable and small. She invited a famous Rastrelli and till nowadays we can still observe his work.Catherine 2 also made a contribution to Tsarskoye Selo, she built an Alexander or so called New Tsarskoselskiy Palace. The new Palace was made as gift to her favourite grandson Alexander 1 on the day of his marriage. Both Palaces are surrounded by beautiful parks.

(Tsarskoye Selo)

The Catherine Palace that was built by Rastrelli was made in a barocco style. The Palace impresses with its luxury of halls among which is situated a famous “Amber Room”. The Alexander Palace was made in a classicism style, rooms where lived the Emperor Nikolay 2 and his wife Alexandra Fedorovna are decorated in a modern style.

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Parks are also an essential part of Tsarskoye Selo Museum. In Pushkin parks there are more than 100 architectural buildings – palaces, pavillions, bridges, marble monuments, and emlements of gothic, Turkish, Chinese architecture.

(Tsarskoye Selo)1

The territory where is situated  Tsarskoye   Selo was a part of an ancient russian country named “Izhorskaya Zemlia Gospodina Velikogo Novgoroda ”, but in 17th century it was occupied with swedens and given back to Peter 1.The name Tsarskoye Selo came from Sweden.

In 1710 -1720 a new country residence was built. During 18th and 19th century and even beginning of 20th century Tsarskoye Selo was considered a front summer Emperor Residence. In 1813-1843 here was Tsarskoselskiy Lyceum, where Pushkin was educated.

Catherine Palace

In Soviet time Tsarskoye Selo was restructured into a Museum.The other buildings became educational and medical buildings, that is why in 1918 the city was renamed in Detskoye Selo. In 1937 there was an anniversary of Pushkin and to his 100 birthday the city was named Puskin.

During the Great Patriotic war the city was occupied for more than 2 years.

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In 1942 the covering of the famous “Amber Room” was taken away, till nowadays it is still absent. After the war the surroundings,the city, Palaces, parks were rebuilt and in 1980 it was decided to reconstruct this room. During next 20 years instaurators tried to reproduce this work of art, and to the St.Petersburg anniversary of 300 years this room was represented and opened for visitors.

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Day by day park returned their previous look, the palaces were also reconstructed. The works of the Catherine Palace’reconstruction continue still. The Alexandrov Palace was given to the military navy army and not long ago there became a museum that is visited by thousands of people every day.

Tsarskoselskiy lyceum is also an interesting place to visit, it was built by Alexander 1 for children from noble family lines, so there were educated many famous people to us nowadays, for example writers and scientists, goverment and administrative leaders, outstanding people of Russia: Alexander Gorchakov, admiral Fedor Matushin, Ivan Puszhin and Wilgelm Kuhelbeker, a poet Anton Delvig and many others.

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But the fame to the lyceum brought Alexander Pushkin, an outstanding and great poet and writer. He studied here in 1811-1817. At the exposition of the museum you can see his student room. Around the Palaces of Tsarskoye Selo there are splendid parks: Catherine, Lower, Alexandrov, Babolovskiy, Buferniy.

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Actually nowadays Tsarskoye Selo is always busy with many thousands of tourists from all over the country and from abroad. That is why on weekends the quantity of the tourists raises up and it is recommended to visit the place in week day.

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Many people from Germany will be also impressed to know many historical facts about the events and history connected with this place.

So Pushkin city or Tsarskoye Selo is a famous national park, which includes beautiful palaces, parks and many other interestings places you would enjoy.

Silver Age

St. Petersburg

The Silver Age was the calm before the tempest for both St. Petersburg and the rest of the country. Nicholas II, the son of Alexander III, and Russia’s last Emperor, reigned from 1894 till 1917.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the bureaucratic system was still intact. It hampered the country’s social, political and economical development, and first signs of instability appeared. However, the regime would not let go.

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In January 1905, the tsar’s guards gunned down a peaceful demonstration of workers who had come to Palace Square to get their problems through to the Emperor. The ‘Blood Sunday’ fanned the flames of the growing public outrage and triggered the 1905-1907 Revolution. After that, on October 17, 1905, the tsar proclaimed a manifesto, which had a significant democratic veer. It instituted a new parliamentary system. The new parliament was supposed to consist of the State Council and the Duma.

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The district where the parliament building was found boomed instantly. Sadly, most bills and decisions initiated by the Duma were blocked by the government. The WWI added more fuel to the fire, sending the country spiraling down into chaos and disintegration.

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The Silver Age inspired new life in the city’s architecture. During that period, a lot of commercial apartment buildings were erected in St. Petersburg, featuring well-shaped inner yards and modernist, neoclassic and eclectic décor elements. In 1903, when St. Petersburg was celebrating its 200th anniversary, the Troitsky Bridge was built.  Outside the central and historic districts, large workers’ blocks were erected around factories.

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Despite the brewing trouble, St. Petersburg was still an attraction for poets, artists, musicians, composers and writers. Before 1917, the city was considered to be the citadel of the Russian culture.

The 900-day Siege

The 900-day Siege4

Definitely, this is the gravest chapter of the city’s history, since it is full of pain and sorrow. At the same time, the city residents have shown their ability to survive the toughest ordeals imaginable.

The 900-day Siege3

A bit more than two months since the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Germans staved the Red Army and encircled Leningrad (the city’s name had been changed to Leningrad after Vladimir Lenin’s death in 1924). The siege began on September 8, 1941, and ended on January 27, 1944. In total, the siege lasted 900 days.

The 900-day Siege

The city’s food and fuel stocks were exhausted shortly after the siege began. There was no electricity, heating, and the city transport stopped. The daily ratio was limited to about ¼ of a pound of bread per person. However, life went on in the besieged city, and some industries were still operational.

The 900-day Siege1

The Hermitage’s exhibits were secured in the museum’s and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral’s basements. So were those of Petrodvorets and the Tsarskoye Selo Museum. Cultural life was still brewing. It was during the siege that Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his famous ‘Leningrad’ symphony.

The 900-day Siege8

Neither city residents nor Red Army soldiers agreed to even consider the possibility of surrender. Many residents fled the city via the ‘Road of Life’ that ran across Ladoga Lake – the only connection with the mainland, which was attacked all the time. It was the only route by which food, water and fuel were delivered to Leningrad.

The 900-day Siege2

In January 1943, the Red Army broke the Siege, but it took one more year to lift it completely. Over the three years, more than 600,000 people died of diseases and starvation. Most victims are buried in the Piskariovskoye memorial Cemetery.

The Foundation Ground

Saint Petersburg4

Saint Petersburg is relatively young. Since its foundation in the early 1700s, the city was caught up in a stunning tapestry of historic economic, political and social events, which few one-thousand-year-old cities can boast.

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Before the city’s foundation, Russian people had inhabited Neva banks and the coast of the Gulf of Finland for many centuries. The strategic importance of the region was evident even then, since it served as a springboard for successful economical and cultural relationships with rapidly evolving European societies. The area was also an attraction for Russia’s eternal rivals – the Swedes and the Germans. In the 16th century, when the country was in decline, the Swedes conquered a vast area lying between Ladozhskoye Lake and Narva and blocked access to the Baltic Sea for Russia for nearly 100 years.

Saint Petersburg

The history of regaining the area goes hand in hand with the history of the city’s erection. Peter the Great took reign over Russia in critical times. The tsar realized that there was no way for the country to rise from the ashes of the Time of Trouble without establishing a long-lasting relationship with the rest of Europe. He also realized that it would take a military action to free the northern lands from the Swedes and win back access to the Baltic Sea and therefore to Europe.

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Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703, when the Swedes abandoned the area lying around the Delta of the River Neva. Here the river forms numerous forks and branches dissecting the piece of land into several big islands and scores of smaller ones. There were 101 islands in the delta formed by a network of canals, many of which were filled in as the city grew.

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In 1720, one of the representatives of the Polish Embassy gave his own description of the St. Petersburg’s foundation ground. In his story, he mentioned fifteen little hutches owned by Swedish fishermen, which were found exactly where the city was started.

St. Petersburg Heading Toward Capitalism

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When Alexander II was crowned, the Russian Empire was dealing with economic decline and the consequences of the defeat in the Crimean War. With the thunder of social unrest drawing closer than ever and the gap between Russia and the leading European economies growing more evident, an immediate action was required.

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The abolition of serfdom was one of the most radical steps toward liberal economy. Also, Alexander introduced local self-government organs called ‘zemstvos’, which were authorized to provide roads, medical and schooling services. St. Petersburg obtained a radically new self-government system.

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Meanwhile, there was a growing public dissatisfaction with the reforms as being not sufficiently liberal and therefore failed to overcome the conservative trends that inhibited the country’s social and economic development. The government’s oppressive policy resulted in the appearance of the Narodnaya Volya  – a clandestine terrorist organization, whose members assassinated Alexander II on March 1, 1881. The beautiful Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood was erected right at the murder site. Infuriated by his father’s assassination, Alexander III took an extremely tough line against radical organizations and curtailed all liberal reforms.

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In the late 1800s, St. Petersburg became a capitalist city with national and foreign enterprises growing and banking systems developing. In the 1890s, construction was booming and blooming, and the city’s architecture began to grow taller. Liteiny bridge was built, and it was the first place in St. Petersburg to be equipped with street lights. It was the time when monuments to Catherine and Nicholas I were erected. Also, the first monument to the poet Alexander Pushkin was built.

Pushkin