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 Monuments and Historical Sites of St. Petersburg - Monument to Nicholas I

At the centre of St.Isaac’s square prances a haughty, bronze equestrian monument to Nicholas I of Russia. Unveiled on July 7th 1859, the statue was a technical wonder of its time; it spans six meters and was the first equestrian statue in the world with merely two support points (the rear hoofs of the horse). August Montferrand was the author of a porphyry and marble pedestal, adorned with figures representing Faith, Wisdom, Justice and Might; while bas-reliefs depict the achievements of Nicholas’ reign. Several different sculptures were used in creating the monument. A large model of the pony which Nicholas I sits on was completed by famous Russian classical sculpture Peter Klodt.

The monument to Nicholas I accurately and powerfully depicts the determined absolutist Russian ruler as a powerful military figure. In fact, Nicholas I was a junior army officer at heart. He was especially devoted to his troops and intricately involved in the details of the military from ordering the alteration of military uniforms to specializing in the engineering of military fortresses. His despotic rule over Russia from 1825-1855 saw the crushing of the liberal Decembrist revolt and the expanse of Russian territory largely at the expense of Turkey.

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