The Admiralty, Saint Isaakiya’s Cathedral… And the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island

With the camera across St. Petersburg

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ISBN 978-5-4490-1599-0

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Documentary and art photostory about a left-bank part of St. Petersburg: about The Admiralty, with its well-known spike, and about history of its construction… about majestic St. Isaac’s Cathedral, about The Bronze Horseman sung by Pushkin and it’s history… about an unforgettable panorama of The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island with Rostral Columns… Supplied with a set of color photos, the story about the Nevsky Left bank of the Northern Capital of Russia, will not leave indifferent anybody. Dear reader! Here and again together! Our previous meetings, it is remembered, began on Trinity bridge (see Valery Pikulev and Valery Gulyakin’s first book: «Acquaintance to St. Petersburg. Photostory about The Great City»; further — the book by the same authors: «St. Petersburg fortress. Photostory about The Peter and Paul Fortress of St. Petersburg»; then: «St. Petersburg island. Phototravel to History»; well and previous: «From the Summer garden to The Winter Palace. A phototravel on the Left bank of Neva». Now we inspired by photoetudes by Valery Gulyakin will continue a travel on the Left bank and we will go from Palace Square to Admiralty… This is one more! — fortress began to be built, on the highest pleasure, at once on completion of construction of earth bastions of The St. Petersburg fortress, — on November 5, 1704. Need of strengthening of the delta of Neva one more fortress was dictated by the accelerated rates of creation of the Russian fleet moreover and in the conditions of war. Here, therefore shape the built construction — new shipyard on Neva — very reminded fortress and had to serve as it and, together with fortress on the right coast, it is reliable to cover the city from the sea. Importance of the new project was so high that the tsar Pyotr — personally! — together with the loyal friend Alexander Menshikov were not too lazy to dangle the whole week on waves in the boat, choosing the place for construction. All bays and gulfs of The Nevsky delta underwent careful inspection, this place was not found yet: here Neva is not too wide, and it is possible to fire the adversary over open sights. Already on April 29, 1706 — so, extremely quickly there was a construction of new shipyard! — from building berths the first fighting ship was lowered. Alexander Danilovich Menshikov directed construction, — the first Governor general of St. Petersburg! — in «journeymen» at it the commandant of The St. Petersburg fortress Roman Vilimovich Bruce went. The tsar Pyotr took personal part in development of the project. Actually, the shipyard was placed at Neva: there were its ten sheds, a building berth and a smithy. Slightly higher, in the lower tier of fortress, there was The Admiralty order — the predecessor of the sea ministry — and, in high construction from South side, arranged office for the sovereign. Fortress was surrounded by deep ditches with drawbridges, very tall shaft with bastions on which ship tools terribly gleamed. Before fortress from the South the glacis (on it now The Alexander Garden rustles with foliage) — open space for firing of the enemy if that will appear here stretched. Almost all ships of The Russian fleet — and it by 1722 was the strongest in Europe! — were under construction on building berths of The Admiralty yard. By 1725 262 fighting vessels (including 23 bulks of the multigun linear ships) were floated here in which design of the majority Pyotr, personally took part. — He worked at shipyards as «bass» (the chief master) and even got paid. The admiralty regularly performed functions of both a boundary post, and customs, strictly keeping records of vessels, freights… names of skippers … — and to such serious institution, of course (for a status raising) the thorough tower with a very tall spike was necessary. However, in Russia experience of construction of constructions with spikes was not yet, and construction was charged to The Dutch German van Boles, the author of the spike of Peter and Paul Cathedral which is already built by this time. The admiralty, already at Anna Ioannovna, was reconstructed in a stone (the project of the architect Korobov), and in a tower with a spike, from four parties, there were round hours and the alarm-bell weighing nearly 60 poods. He beat off hours and notified on floods, so frequent in these parts. In The Admiralty installed also the midday gun which shots reported about time on watch of Peter and Paul Cathedral (the electrocable for signal transmission from Pulkovo Observatory was brought to it in 1866), and on a roof — the optical device for transfer of the exact time to The Winter Palace is built. In 1873 the midday gun was transferred to The Peter and Paul Fortress. There were years, also customs changed. Nevsky «proshpektiva» gradually turned into the elegant avenue… and The Admiralty, with its shaft, a ditch and bastions already somehow did not fit into festive landscapes of the capital; and the strong fire which blazed here in 1783 added the contribution … — and Catherine II enjoined to transfer all shipyards to Kronstadt, and to convert the building of The Admiralty for The Senate and The Synod. However, pressing problems of the state, scarcity of treasury … — are shorter, translated only one rope plant. But everything, as usual, falls back «into place»: the new Emperor was not really greedy for an external luster, — and on Paul I’s command around The Admiralty there were higher shaft and deeper ditches, and on the square began to drill before it soldiers. However, to the new Emperor, — already to Alexander I, — entered soon on a throne, it was inconvenient to behold shipbuilding plant from windows of the residence; and the classicism in architecture which reached the highest point, not too it … — is shorter, the project of reconstruction of The Admiralty was charged to Adriyan Dmitrievich Zakharov. The foundation was laid by construction of the case before The Winter Palace, then prolonged his wing up to a tower. Then the turn became behind a tower … — and here works became: war of 1812 — 1814 too tightened them. Finished construction only by 1823. Now length of the main facade of the new Admiralty was 415 meters, and side wings — on 172 meters. The tower with a spike (it the ship borrowed from a former structure crowns) supplements the center of the main facade. The building, in style of The Russian classicism, is decorated with the sculptures and reliefs glorifying Russia now as the sea power. On the second tier of a tower — a colonnade and 28 statues. Channels are filled up, ditches are razed. Now also the important role of The Admiralty in city architecture — its spike, 72,5 meters high is indisputable, it is well looked through in alignments of three major highways of the city among which — The Nevsky — the main avenue of St. Petersburg. The embankment before The Admiralty (appeared on the boondocks which overgrew a tall weeds in 1784) was complemented with two piers, and before, to 200-year anniversary of Peter I, in 1872 from South side of The Admiralty put the garden which opened on July 8, 1874 and called by Aleksandrovsky. Gilded a spike … — and «The Admiralty needle» with the ship became one of symbols of St. Petersburg. Yours faithfully! Valery Pikulev

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Valery Pikulev

Valery Aleksandrovich Pikulev, lives in St. Petersburg, the associate professor. Writes since the beginning of the 2000th. It is published in Russia, in Germany. Main direction: the works which are positively influencing mentality of readers as “word” is the powerful modulator of our consciousness. Valery Nikolaevich Gulyakin, lives in St. Petersburg, the engineer, the photographer. Creates thematic photo albums across St. Petersburg. Directs a society of fans of history of the city.

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