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Alexander Column.

Excursions 7  i 8

Alexander Column

The Alexander column was raised in 1834 during the rule of Nicholas I by the architect Auguste de Montferrand.
47.5 m high monument was meant to commemorate victory of Russia over France in 1812.

The Alexander column is the tallest monolith stone column in the world

The name of the Alexander column on the one hand refers to the Emperor Alexander I, who conquered Napoleon Bonaparte, on the other hand - to the Pharos, the lighthouse of Alexandria, which is one of the seven wonders of the world, embodying the ultimate level of the human progress. The Alexander column was to outmatch all columns in the world. Indeed, to the present day the Alexander column is the highest monolith stone column in the world. Architects of Saint Petersburg designed a special hoisting system to raise this immense monolith on the pedestal.
The monument is crowned by the angel, created by Boris Orlovsky. The sculptor imparted the features of Alexander I to the angel's face. The angel, trampling on the snake on the top of the column, symbolizes peace and quiet Russia brought to Europe, vanquishing Napoleon. Bas-reliefs on the pedestal of the Alexander column are allegorical representations of glory of Russian arms and symbols of the Russian army's valour: they depict Victory and Glory, inscribing the dates of important battles; Peace and Justice, Wisdom and Abundance.

Figures and facts

The Alexander column is made of red granite, which was processed not in Saint Petersburg, but in Pyuterlakskaya quarry near Vyborg, while the angel's figure is made of polished pink granite. The column was delivered to Saint Petersburg on a special vessel, hauled by two motor ships. 1250 6m piles are driven under the foundation of the Alexander column's pedestal. The column was raised, using scaffolding and capstan gears specially designed in Saint Petersburg.
It is interesting that installation took just 1 hour 45 minutes, and the column was raised on the pedestal by 2000 soldiers and 400 workers.
The column itself weighs 600 tons. It is not driven into the ground and not attached to the foundation, careful calculations and its own weight keep the column upright.

The sculptor made the angel on the top of the monument look very similar to Alexander I.

The height of the angel on top of the Alexander column makes 4.26 m, he holds a 6.4 m cross in his hands. The height of the pedestal, carrying the Alexander column, makes 2.85 m. Weight of the whole structure is 704 tons. That's the greatness of the Russian arms, the monument to victory of not only Russian army, but also the whole nation, to victory over the enemy undefeatable by others.

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