The Alexander Column

Amazing piece of architecture and engineering – this is about one of the most remarkable sights of St. Petersburg – the Alexander Column, a monument to the Russian military victory in the war with Napoleon's France. The column got the name of outstanding Emperor Alexander I, who ruled Russia between 1801 and 1825. The column stands for a symbol of peace and tranquility, which helped Russia to defeat Napoleon and brought it into Europe. The bravery of Russian Army is reflected in the images of Victory and Glory, Peace and Justice, Wisdom and Prosperity.

The project of the Alexander Column was worked out by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand. He worked at the monument during the period from 1830 to 1834. The monument is 47.5 meters in height, which makes it the world's highest tower, made of solid stone. The column is topped with a statue of an angel holding a cross. It is a wide-spread notion that sculptor Boris Orlovskiy modeled the face of this angel on the face of Emperor Alexander I. The architect used a single monolith of red granite to create the body of the column. It was treated near Vyborg and needed a special vessel, towed by two steamers, to be brought to St Petersburg. The pedestal of the Alexander Column is decorated with symbols of military glory.

One more interesting factor – this huge item, weighing nearly 6 hundred tons, was erected without any modern cranes or engineering machines. Many years ago the locals believed that St Petersburg stood on extensive underground oil storage and the Alexander Column was created as a special stopper which didn’t let the oil go out of the ground. Nowadays both the locals and the tourists prefer to come to the Alexander Column shortly before dusk, when the last rays of sunlight are reflected in the polished red granite of the column, making a terrific impression on the visitors.

Historical reference

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