September 7, 2014

1218 RUSSIA (Saint Petersburg) - Palace Square - part of Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

1218 Saint Petersburg - The Alexander Column in Palace Square

Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad), connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg. There many significant events took place, including the Bloody Sunday massacre and parts of the October Revolution of 1917. The earliest building on the square, the Baroque white-and-azure Winter Palace of the Russian tsars, gives the square its name. Although the adjacent buildings are designed in the Neoclassical style, they perfectly match the palace.

The southern side of the square was designed in the shape of an arc by George von Velten in the late 18th century. These plans came to fruition half a century later, when Alexander I of Russia (r. 1801-1825) envisaged the square as a vast monument to the 1812-1814 Russian victories over Napoleon and commissioned Carlo Rossi to design the bow-shaped Empire-style Building of the General Staff (1819-1829), which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a Roman quadriga.

The Alexander Column, erected after the victory against Napoleon and named for Emperor Alexander I, is the focal point of the square. It was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand, and built between 1830 and 1834 with Swiss-born architect Antonio Adamini. The monument (the tallest of its kind in the world - 47.5m tall) is topped with a statue of an angel holding a cross, designed by the Russian sculptor Boris Orlovsky.

The column is a single piece of red granite, 25.45m long and about 3.5m in diameter, obtained from Virolahti, Finland. Without the aid of modern cranes and engineering machines, the column, weighing 661 tons, was erected by 3,000 men under the guidance of William Handyside. The pedestal of the Alexander Column is decorated with symbols of military glory, sculpted by Giovanni Battista Scotti.

Palace Square is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, about which I wrote here.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Ryazan Kremlin, is part of the series Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

Palace Square - Wikipedia
Alexander Column - Wikipedia
Sender: Julia / Frog-traveller (postcrossing) RU-2054806
Sent from Moscow (Moscow / Russia), on 22.08.2014
Photo: D.V. Bakulyn / 2013 


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