St. Isaac’s Square appeared in the 1730s-1740s. It took its final shape much later during the construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral which became the dominant of the square. It was built by the talented French architect Auguste Montferrand. The construction lasted for forty years from 1818 to1858. St. Isaac’s Cathedral is remarkable monument of Russian architecture. On the whole more than 200 artists took part in the works to create paintings, sculptures, mosaics, carved stones. It was considered to be the main and the greatest cathedral in Russia and one of the largest domed structures in the world. Its height is 101.5m. At present the cathedral is used as a museum, but several times a year church services are held in the cathedral.
In 1856-1859 the monument to Nicholas I was put up in the centre of St. Isaac’s Square. The pedestal was made by architect Montferrand. It is decorated with allegorical statues of Justice, Faith, Wisdom, and Law, as well as four bas-reliefs depicting the scenes from Nicholas I’s reign. The equestrian statue performed by sculptor Klodt has only two points of support. The building behind the monument is the former Mariinsky Palace. It was constructed by architect Stakenschneider for Nicholas I’s daughter Grand Duchess Maria in 1839-1844. In 1884 the palace was acquired into the Treasury and came to accommodate the State Council. At present the palace houses the City Assembly which consists of fifty members.
The Blue Bridge across the Moika is the part of St. Isaac’s Square and the widest in St. Petersburg (99.95). It got its name because of the colour of the railing. The granite obelisk was installed on the Moika embankment near the Blue Bridge to mark the most devastating floods which occurred in the city during the history.
The Astoria Hotel was built by architect Lidval in 1911-1912. The interiors were decorated in the Art -Nouveau style and before 1917 it was considered to be the best hotel in Russia. The adjoining building of the former Angleterre Hotel has become part of the Astoria complex. It was built in the early 19th century and underwent many reconstructions, architect is unknown. The monumental granite building designed for the German Embassy completes the ensemble of the Square from the west. It was constructed by the German architect Behrens shortly before the First World War.
Text by Ekaterina Chistyakova
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