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Monument to Peter I was unveiled in Petrozavodsk

11 June 1872

On May 30 (June 11) 1872 a monument to Peter I was erected to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first Russian Emperor.

In 1871, the Governor of Olonets Governorate Grigory Grigoriev came out with an initiative to erect a monument to Peter I in Petrozavodsk. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia, an honorary citizen of Petrozavodsk (1871) Alexander Timashev dealt with the issues of the monument’s production.

The pedestal was constructed on May 30 (June 11) in 1872. On the site of the future monument, in a special niche of its base a memorial plaque was installed.  It read: "On May 30 1872 marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Emperor Peter the Great, in Petrozavodsk, during the prosperous reign of Alexander II, by the will of His Highness Majesty, in the presence of the Minister of Internal Affairs Adjutant General A. Timashev, the Governor of Olonets Governorate State Councilor G. Grigoriev, Reverend Jonathan, the bishop of Olonets and Petrozavodsk, the monument to Emperor Peter the Great, the founder of the city of Petrozavodsk, was erected. The statue of the Emperor Peter I was cast by the model of the academician I. Schreder, while the pedestal was constructed by the artist Barinov by Professor Monighetti’s drawing. 1672 - 1872». Several coins of 1872 were put, too.

To celebrate the memorial event the artillery battery fired a salute, the governorate battalion marched in front of the monument’s foundation site. The monument’s model was put up in the governor's house for the general public.

The monument was opened on June 29 (July 11) in 1873 in Petrozavodsk in Round Square, which was soon renamed Petrovskaya (since 1918 – 25th October Square, today – Lenin Square).

The grand opening ceremony coincided with the celebration of the centenary of the Alexander Plant’s foundation. Celebrations marking the monument’s opening involved the performance of the Choir of the Life Guards of the Preobrazhensky Regiment from St. Petersburg. By the monument, a brochure of the regional researcher A. Ivanov titled "The Emperor Peter the Great and his work in Olonets: a historical sketch for the people." was distributed to the public.  A photographer from the capital city I. Monstein was invited to come and capture the celebrations.

The statue of Peter the Great in classicism style was produced in St. Petersburg, in Adolf Morand’s workshop and cast from bronze at the Sestroretsk plant. Ivan Schreder, who was a famous sculptor, academician of the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts, a pupil of Professor P. Klodt, was commissioned to produce the statue. The commission was successfully completed. According to experts, the monument to Peter I is one of the biggest creative successes of the sculptor.

The pedestal in the Baroque style was made out of gray Sortavala granite by a stone carver Barinov by the project of Ippolit Monigetti, an architect-academician from St. Petersburg. On the pedestal there is an inscription which reads: "To the Emperor Peter the Great, the founder of Petrozavodsk. 1703. 1672-1872

Peter I was portrayed standing erect, wearing a military uniform and the officer's scarf, with a sword. On his chest there was a star of the Order of St. Andrew, and over his shoulder - a decoration ribbon. In the lowered left hand the tsar held a half-rolled scroll symbolizing decrees aimed at reformation of Russia. His right hand pointed to Lososinka river, at the mouth of which in 1703, by his decree, the largest cannon foundry in Russia was set up, marking the foundation of Petrozavodsk.

In 1918, celebrating the first anniversary of the Soviet power, the monument was removed from Petrovskaya Square and lay for many years in the former governor's garden. In 1940, it was decided to erect the monument to Peter I again, this time in the park in Zavodskaya Square near the building of the State Museum of Local History (now - the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral). The great role in its preservation belonged to the Karelian writer Alexander Linevsky, who worked at the museum.

In 1978, when the city celebrated its 275th anniversary, the monument was restored and moved to the Onega quay, the Petrozavodsk port area. The monument is in the center of a park, the paths to the monument are paved with Karelian decorative stone.

Lit.: 1873, 29 июня // Три века Петрозаводска : иллюстрир. история города, 1703-2003. Петрозаводск, 2003. С. 52; 30 мая 1872 г. // Петрозаводск: хроника трех столетий, 1703-2003. Петрозаводск, 2002. С. 106-107; Знаменательная двухсотлетняя годовщина Петрозаводска // Памятная книжка Олонецкой губернии на 1903 г. Петрозаводск, 1903. С. 298-309. Из содерж.: [О памятнике Петру I]. С. 308-309; Листов, В. Н. Ипполит Монигетти / В. Н. Листов. Л., 1976. Из содерж.: [О памятнике Петру I]. С. 112-116, 139, 142-143; Ягодкина В. А. Памятник Петру I (г. Петрозаводск) : (к 130-летию со дня открытия) // Календарь памятных дат Карелии, 2003 год. Петрозаводск, 2002. С. 51-53.

Материал предоставлен Национальной библиотекой Республики Карелия

From the Presidential library's materials:

Peter I (1672–1725) // House of Romanov. The Zemsky Sobor of 1613 : digital collection