Museums of St. Petersburg. Museums. St. Petersburg. Saint Petersburg. Sights of Moscow. Excursions to St. Petersburg museums.
SIGHTS ST. PETERSBURG
MUSEUMS OF ST. PETERSBURG
The Main Admiralty building is an outstanding sample of Russian and world
architecture, a major achievement of the early classical art. The Admiralty is
the architectural and compositional center of St. Petersburg. Three main
thoroughfares of the city converge here — Nevsky Prospekt, Voznesensky
(Resurrection) Prospekt and Gorokhovaya Street.
The building was assuming its present aspect during a whole century. The first
Admiralty was founded in 1 704 as a shipbuilding yard, to a design of Peter I
himself. One-story clay-walled structures were arranged in the form of the
Russian letter N ("H") in the south the territory was fortified by
an earthen rampart and bastions. The yard was surrounded by an inner moat. The
building housed warehouses, workshops, as well as different admiralty
departments; the yard held covered slips for constructing sailing vessels.
The new, stone building of the Admiralty was erected in 1732—38 to a design
by A.Korobov. It was built in the same place and retained the former layout
and the general outline. In the center, above the gates, a well-proportioned
tower went up 72 m high, topped by a gilt spire which has remained there up to the present.
In the early 19th century, when the center of the city could boast of grand
architectural ensembles, it became necessary to radically rebuild the
Admiralty. The fortification structures were demolished. In 1806 — 23 the
third Admiralty (the present one) was erected to a design by the great Russian
architect A.Zakharov, that was to commemorate the naval power and victories of
the Russian fleet. The grand structure (its main facade being 407 m long)
consists of two n-shaped buildings — the outer and the inner ones; a canal
used to run between them, that was later filled up. The first of them housed
administrative establishments, the Department of Marine and River Transport of
Russia; the second housed industrial workshops. The central part of the main
building is topped with a tower having a weather-vane in the form of a ship on
its top, that has become the symbol of the city.
Zakharov repeated the motif of the arch cutting through the central part of
the building in the facades of the two symmetrical pavilions facing the Neva
and completing the eastern and western wings. The regular segmentation rhythm
makes the Admiralty look like a single whole. The Admiralty building is an
example of architectural and sculptural synthesis. Zakharov enlisted the best
contemporary Russian sculptors with Th.Shchedrin at the head. The main
high-relief The Establishment of a Fleet in Russia (sculptor I.Terebenev) in
the tower attic is linked with the raison d'etre of the building—navigation
and shipbuilding. The relief represents Neptune who is handing Peter I the
trident—a symbol of power over the sea. The lateral parts of the relief are
filled with the figures of Tritons and Nymphs engaged in the shipbuilding
works or saluting the ships already launched. The sculptural decoration of the
tower is especially rich and interesting. On both sides of the main arch there
are sculptural groups representing Nymphs carrying the Globe; at the corners
of the tower attic stand the statues of Alexander the Great, Achilles, Ajax
and Pyrrhus (sculptor Th.Shchedrin). The statues above the upper colonnade of
the tower symbolize the four seasons of the year, four elements of nature,
four main winds, there are Isis, the patroness of shipbuilding, and Urania,
the Muse of Astronomy among them. Sculptors S.Pimenov, V.Demuth-Malinovsky and
A.Anisimov also took part in the works.
The new Admiralty building put up by Zakharov entailed big work on the
re-decoration of Palace and Senate Squares.
Shipbuilding in the Admiralty went on till 1844. Later only some departments
concerned with the Navy remained in the building, and since 1925 the Admiralty
houses the Higher Naval Engineering School.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT MUSEUM:
- Admiralteisky Prospekt, 1
PAGES OF THE PICTURE ALBUM