Alexander column celebrates 190th birthday
In the beginning of September 190 years ago one of the most remarkable monuments of Saint-Petersburg was erected. The Alexander column, a giant pillar constructed to commemorate victory over Napoleon was commissioned to Auguste Montferrand, prominent architect of French origin. Today we treat it as a common symbol of the city but in the XIXth century the monument installation seemed to be miraculous – the weight of the monolith column is about 600 tone, the height is 47.5 meters.
They quarried the stone in Karelia and brought to Saint-Petersburg by water. By the brilliant talent of engineer Betankur who created plan for the special scaffoldings they put the monument vertical only in 1 hour 45 minutes. It’s hard to believe that no nail or fastening was needed. The column still stands in the proper vertical position only because of gravity.
Today we admire not only the impressive overall view of the column but also gorgeous details. Chiselled bas-reliefs made of bronze on its basement made according to drawings of Montferrand himself. Another magnificent detail is on the very top of the column—the figure of Angel with a cross which looks very tiny from the ground but actually is 6.5 meters in total. The angel face features remind us about Alexander I, emperor-the winner, however not so many were lucky enough to climb so high and see it.