Looking for the best monuments in St Petersburg Russia? If so, keep reading below.
Like any historic city, St Petersburg has plenty of remarkable statues and historical monuments. You can find them standing in the streets, squares or parks. Some are old, others are new, but all of them share elegant, shapely architecture and deep historical significance that will no doubt intrigue you.
You should know that Petersburg residents have traditionally had a particularly intense reverence for their great people.
In fact, many of the monuments in St Petersburg were created in the 19th and earlier centuries to commemorate the great achievements of the emperors that built the mighty Russian empire as well as to honor those who gave their lives in the service of their country during the wars.
Others were erected to remember and pay homage to prominent people, such as thinkers, writers, poets, architects and scientists whose ideas, creativity and inspired work played a key role in the development of the city and country.
These monuments contribute to the unique historical, architectural and artistic image of the Northern Capital of Russia.
Therefore, St Petersburg today can definitely be considered not only a city of bridges and canals, as often mentioned in guide books, but also a city full of significant and well-designed Russian monuments.
For your information there are more than 53 monuments in St Petersburg made from superb granite, marble, bronze and iron, perhaps even more if we count those erected inside the imperial palaces or gardens, there is a lot to see. So, don't forget to take your camera with you.☺
If you like us you enjoy visiting sculptures and statues, and you're wondering what monument to see, then we hope our list below of what we think are the best monuments in St Petersburg, including famous, old and new ones, can be helpful.
To get started just click on the links below.
Note: All memorial sites or monuments in St Petersburg are free to visit unless they are situated inside palaces, museums or private gardens. Here below we have listed only the most popular monuments, but you should know that there are also many others.
Located on Senate Square, stands The Bronze Horseman, the first and most impressive and popular monument built in St Petersburg dedicated to Peter the Great, founder of the city and ruler of the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire. This impressive monument facing the Neva River and surrounded by the Admiralty, St Isaac's Cathedral is among the top landmarks of the city and is a definite must-see.
Located on Ostrovsky Square in front of the Alexandrinsky Theater, stands the only Monument to Catherine the Great. Unveiled in 1873 and designed by the Russian artist M.O. Mikeshin, the statue pays tribute to the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, Empress Catherine the Great, a woman loved by
Petersburg residents for what she did for the city during her reign known as the "golden age" of Russia.
Just one block away from the Dostoyevsky Literary Memorial Museum, you can find a monument to one of Russia's most important writers - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian novelist who spent most of his adult life in the city of St Petersburg writing about political, social and spiritual issues during the 19th century. Sculpted by the local artist Lybov Kholina and unveiled in the spring of 1997, the monument offers a very good depiction of the writer.
Along with the first monument, the Bronze Horseman, there is also a second impressive Romanesque equestrian statue dedicated to the former Russian Tsar that you can easily spot when walking around the city. They call it the Monument to Peter the Great, the ones where he's sitting on a pony in front of the Mikhailovsky castle. Designed by Carlo Rastrelli, this architectural memorial of the city's founder is among the second greatest monuments in St Petersburg.
If you are walking along the Neva River in front of the Admiralty buildings you can find the third great piece of sculpture art dedicated to Peter the Great: The Tsar Carpenter. Created in 1909 by order of Nicholas II, this impressive boat builder statue is an outstanding monument that portrays a young and determined Tsar Peter I tiresomely building a ship with rolled up sleeves and an axe in one clenched hand.
It seems that one statue to remember the achievements of Peter the Great was not enough for Russian people. In fact, inside the Peter and Paul Fortress, you can find another great statue in his memory. Created in bronze by the sculptor Mikhail Shemiakin in 1991, this Russian monument is a remake of a valuable exhibit in the Winter Palace: a wax figure of Peter I. Some local rumors say that the statue brings good luck if you touch Peter's shining hands.
The Monument to Nicholas I standing in front St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the best designed monuments in St Petersburg made of iron. Built by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand between 1856 and 1859 in honor of Emperor Nicholas I and his family, the stunning statue of Tsar Nicholas I riding on a horse and dressed in his gala uniform accurately depicts the determined Russian ruler as a powerful military figure.
Standing in the courtyard of the Marble Palace you can easily see the equestrian monument to Tsar Alexander III, a statue which was criticized when it was unveiled for the first time in 1917. Created by the sculptor Paolo Trubetskoy, the memorial is an outstanding and rare example of the early 20th century monumental sculpture. The creativity of the artist is illustrated in a well-made monument that seems to conjure up the suffering of the tsar's subjects through the horse that he is riding.
Located on Malaya Konyushennaya Street one of the St Petersburg's most pleasant and romantic pedestrian streets, you can find an intriguing and moody statue standing in the middle of it. That statue is a hand made sculpture devoted to Nikolay Gogol, a famous Russian writer who lived in the city of St Petersburg and wrote stories widely read by people around the world, such as “Dead Souls”, “Nevsky Prospekt”, “The Nose” and “The Overcoat”.
The statues to Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolle are unique great bronze statues devoted to two prominent military figures in Russia. Designed by the sculptor Boris Orlovsky and erected in 1838 in memory of the victory against Napoleon, both statues are dressed in togas on top of their military uniforms to reflect the Classicism era of that time. As the history says, the statues were built there to protect the Cathedral and the city from threat or invasion.
Standing on Square of Arts in front of the Mikhaylovsky Palace, you can admire a very impressive monument devoted to Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most famous poet. Although you can find two other monuments in St Petersburg dedicated to him, this statue is among the best of the many monuments in St Petersburg to honour Russia's best-loved poet. If you're a reader of Alexander Pushkin's books, you definitely cannot miss a visit here.
This is another monument devoted to Alexander Pushkin erected on Pushkinskaya Street, which crosses Nevsky Prospekt not far from Vosstaniya Square. There is also another one located inside the Pushkinskaya Metro Station. Both statues are masterpieces of Russian sculpture art, but not the best if compared with other similar monuments in St Petersburg that were built to honour him.
Unveiled on November 7 1926, this is one of the many statues devoted to Lenin, father of the October Revolution, as well as one of the first samples of Soviet monumental art. Even though the USSR dissolved over a decade ago, you can find several statues and plaques of Communist leaders in St Petersburg. However, some of the most popular monuments are of the leader of the Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Lenin as this one.
Unveiled in 1801, this is a remarkable monument devoted to
Alexander Suvorov, the famous Russian general who led the Russian-Austrian
campaign against Napoleon in North Italy. Sculpted by Mikhail Kozlovsky,
it is 8 meter (26ft) tall and has a beautiful Cyrillic inscription
decorated with gilded reliefs of allegorical figures representing Glory
Located near the famous and popular Mariinsky Theater, you can find a Monument to Mikhail Glinka. Glinka, the first Russian Composer of classical music famous for his opera 'Ruslan and Ludmilla', who influenced other composers, including Rimsky-Korsakov, and built Russia's reputation of producing classical composers. The statue was created by sculptors R. Bach and architect A. Bach in 19th century.
off Malaya Sadovaya Street on the Manezhnaya Square, you can
find a monument dedicated to a great Russian writer, novelist Ivan Turgenev, famous for his third masterpiece known worldwide as "On the Eve". Rumors say that the statue, designed by the sculptors Yan Neiman and Valentin Sveshnikov, was made using Turgenev's death mask to model the writer's face.
If you find yourself on Moskovskiy Prospekt, near the old Tekhnologicheskiy Institut (now University), then it would be worth seeing the magnificent monument devoted to the famous Russian Chemist and Inventor, Dmitriy Mendeleev. Along with the monument, you can also see on the wall behind the statue the Periodic Table of the Elements he invented. And, if you want to know more about him, you can also visit the Mendeleev Apartment Museum located nearby.
This three meter bronze statue devoted to Mikhail Lomonosov, a Russian polymath, scientist and writer who contributed greatly to literature, education and science, is another impressive hand-made sculpture to see. Unveiled in 1986 to mark the scientist's 275th anniversary, the monument is located on Mendeleevskaya Liniya between the Twelve Colleges (the main building of St Petersburg State University) and the Academy of Sciences.
Standing next to the River Neva between Shpalernaya Street and Robespera Embankment, lies a monument devoted to one of the most acclaimed Russian poets, Anna Akhmatova. Unveiled in 2006 to mark the 40th anniversary
of the poet's death, this striking statue is symbolically located
opposite Kresty Holding Prison, where Akhmatova's partner was
incarcerated during the 1930s. If you know her poems, don't miss the
Anna Akhmatova Museum dedicated to the life of this great Russian poet.
If you are looking for communist monuments in St Petersburg, then the monument to Sergei Kirov on Kirovskaya Square near Narvskaya Metro Station is really worth a look (after of course have seen the statue of Lenin). Designed by the sculptor Nikolay Tomskiy and the architect Noy Trotskiy, this huge soviet monument dedicated to the Bolshevik leader Kirov is 15 meters tall and is surrounded by some of the best examples of early Soviet architecture in St. Petersburg.
The striking Narva Triumphal Arch, built between 1827 and 1834 as a tribute to the defeat of Napoleon in 1812, is a great mark of pre-Soviet military achievement. Designed by Vasily Stasov
and situated outside the Narvskaya Metro Station, this twelve columned
monument is made of a single stone crowned with an angel of victory and
decorated with a bunch of valiant warriors.
Standing next to the famous Winter Palace, there is a terrific piece of architecture and engineering that will definitely impress you - The Alexander Column named after Emperor Alexander I. Designed by the architect Auguste de Montferrand and built between 1830-1834 after the Russian Victory in the war with Napoleon's France, the monument is considered the tallest of its kind in the world (50 meters) and one of the most famous monuments in St Petersburg.
There are many monuments in St Petersburg that symbolically mark the
glory or victory of the Northern Capital of Russia in the past. Among them you can find The Rostral Columns - two columns standing on the Strelka ("spit") of Vasilyevsky Island. Standing 32 meters and adorned with
rosters (ship-fronts), the twin columns signify Russia's four great
rivers – Volga, Neva, Dnieper and Volkhov, plus they are a symbol of marine glory and victories in Russia.
Located opposite the Moskovskiye Vorota Metro Station, the Moscow Triumphal Gate was erected in memory of Russian victories in wars with Persia and Turkey between 1826-1829.
Developed by the architect Vasily Stasov, the Moscow Gate was once the biggest assembled construction made out of cast iron in the world. That said, this 12-column gate is certainly less impressive than the Brandenburg Gate, but it is worth a look.
When travelling toward the city from
Pulkovo Airport you will definitely spot the imposing 48 meter Monument to the
Heroic Defenders of Leningrad in Victory Square. A moving place built in memory of the Russian people who died during the siege of Leningrad. Once inside you can see the heroic bronze figures in all their glory riding in eternal flames and the Memorial Hall, a museum dedicated to WWII. Hillary Clinton was
here to pay respect to the victims of the war during an official trip to Russia.
Hidden among the trees in the largest city park known as Sosnovka in the North of St Petersburg, you can find an impressive Russian monument dedicated to the Defenders of the Leningrad Sky (Russian pilots who died to defend the city from the German bombs in WWII). This monument is worth a visit because it is a historical memorial and is also surrounded by one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in the city.
Located on the middle of the Field of Mars lies a symbolic memorial which is among the most popular monuments in St Petersburg: the Fallen Fighters of the Revolution. Built on a small pavement made of granite blocks with inscriptions, and surrounded by a small park, this monument with its eternal flame is the main attraction of this place for tourists, while for Russians it is a reminder of those people who died during the Russian revolution and WWII.
Built in front of the Moscow Railway Station on Vosstaniya Square, the so called Hero City Obelisk is probably the most visible war memorial located in the city center. Such obelisks, built to remember the Nazi invasion during WWII, are not only in St Petersburg, but also in other Russian cities which deserve the title of Heroes. This is one of the best monuments in St Petersburg devoted to the heroism of the Soviet forces and the citizens of Leningrad
If you want to see one of the smallest monuments in St Petersburg, then you cannot miss The Chizhik Pyzhik, a lovely, tiny statue of a bronze bird installed on a miniature pedestal. Located near the Summer Garden on the Fontanka River, rumors say that if you throw a coin to the bronze legs of the bird and it lands on
the pedestal you'll get lucky. So when passing the
Chizhik Pyzhik statue do not forget to throw your coin. ☺
the waterway on Ioannovsky Bridge you can find one of the most intriguing monuments in St Petersburg: the small Hare Escaping Flooding. The legend says
that a hare saved itself from the flood by jumping into Peter the
Great's boot. Due to that historical episode, the hare has become a symbol of the floods
that occurred several times in 18th and 19th centuries. Today, if you
have a close look you can still see the water marks left below the
When walking along Nevsky Prospekt in the very centre of the city, at
some point you will find yourself at the first and most famous bridge
across the Fontanka River - the Anichkov Bridge. Standing on the bridge you will spot four great statues that comprise the sculptural group known as The Horse Tamers. These statues, designed by the sculptor Piotr Klodt,
nicely depict mankind’s struggle against the elements.
Although sphinxes have very little to do with the history of St Petersburg, when wandering around the city you may also find a beautiful pair of Egyptian Sphinxes. The Sphinxes are about 3500 years old, but they were only found at the beginning of the 19th century. Brought to Russia from Alexandria by the Russian traveller A. Muraviyov in the 1820s, the Sphinxes were posed on their pedestals and became two symbolic monuments in St Petersburg.
Two the of the most unusual monuments in St Petersburg are the striking hand-made sculptures of lions located near the Palace Bridge and the Winter Palace. These two large, bronze-marble statues, made by the sculptor Ivan Prokofiev, are undoubtedly the most famous sculptures of lions in St Petersburg, as well as the most photographed by tourists.
strolling on the short pedestrian Malaya Sadovaya Street, just
off Nevsky Prospekt, you will see a weird sculpture that will make you wonder what it is and why it stands here. Well... that is a monument to the Petersburg Photographer: a bronze statue built in 2001 next to the building where, for
the first three decades of the 20th century, the photographer Karl Bulla had a famous studio.
Written by Davide C.