Alexander Column

The Alexander Column was built on Palace Square in memory of the Russian victory over Napoleon in the Patriotic War (1812). Designed by Auguste de Montferrand (1830–34), the column consists of a single piece of red granite found near Vyborg. The angel crowning the granite column was sculpted by Boris Orlovsky (1832–34). The bronze figure holds a cross and tramples a serpent, symbolising the victory of good over evil. The angel has the facial features of Tsar Alexander I. The pediment is decorated with allegorical bronze bas-reliefs on the themes of victory and peace sculpted by Pyotr Svintsov and Ivan Leppe after designs by Giovanni Battista Scotti. Both the reliefs and the statue were cast at the Charles Berd Iron Foundry in St Petersburg. The total height of the column is 155 feet; the granite monolith is 83 feet tall and weighs around six hundred tons. The Alexander Column was officially opened on 30 August 1834. The ceremony began at eleven o’clock with a military parade and an inspection of the troops by Tsar Nicholas I lasting until half-past three. The emperor reviewed a total of 92,340 men grouped in 86 infantry battalions and 106½ cavalry squadrons with 248 guns. Fifteen ships were moored nearby in the River Neva. Nicholas’s wife, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, appeared on a balcony on the first floor of the Winter Palace at noon. A Te Deum was song in honour of the imperial family and in memory of Tsar Alexander I, followed by the ceremonial unveiling of the column.

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