Russia St Petersburg Architecture Gates Narva Triumphal Gates

Narva Triumphal Gates

The Narva Triumphal Gates commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon’s army (1812). They were originally built from wood by Giacomo Quarenghi and decorated by Ivan Terebenyov (1812–14). The gates initially stood on the Narva Highway, between the Obvodny Canal and what is now Stachek Square, before being removed to a site on the Peterhof Highway.

The foundations of the gates were relaid on 26 August 1827. The arch was rebuilt from brick by Vasily Stasov and faced with copper leaves by Baron Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg, Stepan Pimenov and Vasily Demut-Malinovsky (1827–34). The new gates were ceremoniously opened on the twenty-first anniversary of the victory at the Battle of Kulm (17 August 1834.)

There is a popular legend that an evil sorcerer stands at the Narva Triumphal Gates. This suggestion of a dark power was introduced into the painting of the Narva Gates by Pavel Filonov in 1929. Filonov’s image is a metaphor for the rise to power of Joseph Stalin and the coming atmosphere of arrests, denunciations and political repressions in the Soviet Union.

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