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Bronze Horseman Monument

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Bronze Horseman Monument

The Bronze Horseman on the Senate Square is not the only one to Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg, but most famous, representing the symbol of the Northern capital. Many legends and anecdotes were devoted to this monument as early as in the 18th century, and the poets of the 19th century loved to mention the Bronze Horseman in their poems. The monument got its name from Pushkin's eponymous poem.
As it was envisioned by Catherine II and her advisors Voltair and Diderot, Peter was to be portrayed as a grand figure of a victorious Roman emperor, holding a rod and a scepter. However, Etienne Falconet, a French sculptor, who was invited to work on the monument, dared to disagree with the Empress, and presented a different Peter to the world, not derogating neither his captainship talents, nor his rank of a wise ruler.
After 16 years of work, on the 7th of August, 1782 O.S. an equestrian figure of young emperor was established on an enormous pedestal with all the honors and celebrations. It was the first monument established on the city square. Peter valiantly bestrides the rampant horse, covered with a bear skin. The animal embodies a rebellious ignorant nation, which resigned itself to the Emperor. The horse's hooves trample on the huge snake, representing reforms adversaries, and serving as an additional support of the structure. The figure of the Emperor himself expresses power, aspiration and firmness. By order of Catherine II a dedication in two languages, Russian and Latin, is carved on the granite block: Catherine II to Peter I, the year of 1782.
The stone, which serves as a pedestal of the monument, has an interesting story. It was found by the peasant Semyon Vishnyakov approximately 9 km away from the square. The stone was transported to the site, using a mechanism, working on the principle of a bearing, which was genuinely unique for its time. Initially, the stone weighed 1600 tons. Subsequently, by Falconet's project the stone was dressed down to the wave-like shape, embodying power of Russia as a maritime nation.

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