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Monuments and Historical Sites of St. Petersburg – Moscow Triumphal Arch

The cast-iron Moscow Triumphal Arch, a green monument modeled on Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, was built by Stasov in late 1830s to commemorate a whole series of victories against the Persians, Turks and Poles during the first decade of Nicholas I’s reign. Stasov, an exponent of the Empire style, originally developed two different designs for the arch before a full size model of one of the designs was erected. The project was confirmed on September 14, 1834. In the following year, the Neoclassical sculptor Boris Orlovsky developed models of the sculpture details of the gate, including war trophies and figures of geniuses. The chief material to be used in building the gate was cast iron. The castings for the ends of the columns and walls located above the cornices, the forging from the sheets of copper sculpture details including the figures of geniuses, trophies and upper parts of the columns were produced at a local factory. Each column is composed of nine separate blocks together with the trunks and the upper units of the columns. All 12 columns weigh approximately a combined 450 tons. The first column was erected on July 14, 1836. The arch was finally opened two years later, on October 16, 1838. At that time, the Moscow Arch was the largest structure in the world made of cast iron.

In 1936, during the period of Joseph Stalin's concentration of power over the Leningrad leadership, the historic arch was dismantled with plans to move them to Moscow Square Park. Later, during the Siege of Leningrad in 1941, when the German army approached the outskirts of Leningrad, the cast iron blocks of the arch were used in creating an anti-tank defensive structure near the southern border of the city, helping to repel the Germans during the siege. The arch was restored from 1958 to 1960. A group of restorers led by the architect Ivan Kaptsyug managed to recreate most of the lost sculptural details of the monument. The new columns, friezes and cornices were cast at the Kirov factory in Leningrad.

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