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Building of the Main Admiralty in Saint Petersburg

The Main Admiralty is a complex of buildings that are a significant monument of Russian Empire architecture of the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Initially, the rear Admiralty was erected as a shipyard (a place for the construction and repair of ships) near the river, according to drawings signed by Peter I.

The building was laid out in November 1704.

Since in the conditions of the Northern War it was necessary to protect the shipyard, in 1706 the buildings were fenced with an earthen rampart with earthen bastions, ditches filled with water were dug along the perimeter, and a glacis embankment was made. Thus, the shipyard became a small fortress structure.

The building housed warehouses, workshops, blacksmiths, as well as the services of the Admiralty department.

Subsequently, the Admiralty building was repeatedly subjected to various upgrades, alterations and extensions.

The Admiralty received its present appearance in 1806-1823, when the architect Andreyan Zakharov almost completely rebuilt the building (leaving only an elegant tower with a spire), thereby giving the structure a new look that corresponds to the center of St. Petersburg, the theme of the naval glory of Russia and the power of the Russian fleet. All the fortifications were removed, and in their place was laid out a boulevard (now it is Alexander Garden).

The construction of sailing ships at the Admiralty Shipyard continued until 1844. In the future, only the institutions of the fleet remained in the building. From 1709 to 1939, the premises housed the Naval Museum.

Since 2012, the Main Command of the Russian Navy has been located within the walls of the complex.

Today, the Admiralty building is a landmark and one of the symbols of St. Petersburg.

The complex consists of two U - shaped buildings-external and internal.

The Admiralty buildings are located in the very center of St. Petersburg, on the 2nd Admiralty Island, surrounded by such important buildings and places as: Palace Square with the Winter Palace (now the Hermitage) and St. Isaac's Cathedral with an observation deck - colonnade.

The main one is the southern facade of the Admiralty, which faces the Alexander Garden.

In the central part of the main facade of the Admiralty stands a slender but monumental tower with a spire, built by the architect Ivan Korobov in 1732-1738.

The spire of the tower is sometimes called the "Admiralty Needle".

The top of the 72-meter spire is decorated with a weather vane in the form of a boat. It is rumored that the prototype of the ship was the battleship "Ingermanland" - the most modern at that time and the former most beloved warship of Peter I, built in 1712-1715 and went under the standard of Peter I.

The Admiralty Tower has three visible tiers.

At the base of the first tier is an arch, which on both sides is decorated with statues of nymphs standing on high pedestals, carrying globes. Works of the sculptor Theodosius Shchedrin.

Above the arch are soaring Glories or "Geniuses of Victory with banners in their hands".

In the upper part of the first tier, the allegorical frieze "The establishment of the Fleet in Russia", by Ivan Terebenev, stands out.

On the upper corners there are sculptural figures of ancient heroes: Alexander the Great, Achilles, Ajax and Pyrrhus.

The second tier of the tower has a colonnade, above which, on the roof, there is a row of 28 sculptural allegories: fire, water, earth, air, the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, the Muse of astronomy Urania, the Egyptian goddess Isis, etc.

The third tier is made in the form of a half-pitched roof and is decorated with a clock tower.

The Admiralty Tower is one of the symbols of St. Petersburg and it is often depicted on postcards and souvenirs.

View of the Admiralty Tower from the Alexander Garden

In addition to the tower, the southern facade of the Admiralty also attracts attention with columned porticos with allegorical reliefs in the pediments.

The reliefs depict the Greek goddess of justice, Themis, rewarding warriors and artisans.

The western facade of the Admiralty stretches along the Palace Passage and the garden of the Winter Palace.

This facade is decorated with three columned porticos, one of which (central) has a relief in the pediment.

The eastern facade of the building follows the architecture of the western one and stretches along Admiralty Passage (Senate Square).

Parts of the northern facade of the Admiralty face directly to the Bolshaya Neva River (on the Admiralty Embankment).

The facades have arched openings (passages), which are decorated on both sides with anchors mounted on high pedestals.

Sculptural decorations also stand out, including "Geniuses of Victory with banners in their hands" and laurel wreaths.

Practical information

Address of the building of the Main Admiralty: Admiralteiskiy proezd, 1.

All accommodation facilities in St. Petersburg, including in the city center and near the Admiralty building, can be viewed and booked here

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