The Bronze Horseman or The Statue of Peter the Great in Sankt Petersburg

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Latin inscription

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Latin inscription ©achimh/Flick

The equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Sankt Petersburg, known as the Bronze Horseman, is a tribute to the founder of the city. This fascinating monument is one of the most important sights of the city and an important symbol in the same time.

The royal statue of Peter the Great riding a splendid bronze horse was a gift from Catherine the Great to the city founded by its predecessor or to the honor of this.

The german-born Princess Catherine, who married a Romanov was keen to strengthen its legitimacy tying her name to the founder of that city.

For this purpose hired French sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet to make a monument to the founder of the city and the Russian Empire. Falconet has completed the masterpiece between 1768 and 1782 after studying in detail the movements of horses and riders on hills and mountains.

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great ©nox-AM-ruit/Flick

The imposing statue of Peter the Great was the first equestrian statue in St. Petersburg. Depicts the famous Russian Tzar and founder of St. Petersburg as an absolute leader and determined to lead the country forward.

The largest stone ever moved by men

The pedestal, the Thunder Stone, looks like a rock and is made from a single piece of red granite. Only this block of granite weights over 1,500 tons and carrying it to the Gulf of Finland lasted about nine months. The stone was not weighed; its weight is only calculated based on estimates of the density and the size of the granite pedestal. They say this is the largest stone ever moved by man. It was moved more than 6 km only by force of the people who worked on this monument, without using any animal or traction machine and in the Gulf of Finland was put on a barge and transported to Sankt Petersburg on the Neva River.

The Bronze Horseman in Sankt Petersburg

The Bronze Horseman in Sankt Petersburg ©praegerr/Flick

The statue of a great leader of Russia

An inscription on the side of the pedestal says “For Peter the First from Catherine the Second”. On one side is written in Latin on the other side in Russian. Peter and his horse which stands on its hind legs, are sitting on the top of the cliff, facing West and “leading Russia toward”. It is said that the statue is facing west because western European countries were the source of inspiration for the tzar’s reform ideas of Russian Empire. A snake, a symbol of betrayal, is trampled by horses.

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Latin inscription

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Latin inscription ©achimh/Flick

Legends of the Statue

There are many legends about this statue, one of them saying that while the statue is located in Senatskaya Square, enemies will not manage to conquer the city of Sankt Petersburg. This legend led the city officials to protect the statue during the Second World War with sandbags and a wooden structure. The statue escaped the war without a scratch.

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Russian inscription

The Statue of Peter the Great with the Russian inscription ©pthread1981/Flick

The Bronze Horseman of Alexander Pushkin

The monument was originally known as the Statue of Peter the Great. The current name stems from a poem by Alexander Pushkin published in 1833 and entitled “The Bronze Horseman“. In the poem that was inspired by the great flood in 1824, the statue of Peter comes to life and chases the protagonist of the poem named Evgeny.

The Bronze Horseman at night

The Bronze Horseman at night ©Katie@!/Flick

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