With over 1000 monuments in St Petersburg, which one you should add to your sightseeing list? Find the answer with our list below.
Like any historic city, Saint 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.
Therefore, we can definitely say that the city of St Petersburg is not only a city of bridges and rivers and canals, as often mentioned in travel guide books but also a city full of significant and well-designed Russian monuments.
Most importantly, today all the Russian monuments you may see around the city contribute to the unique historical, architectural and artistic image of the Northern Capital of Russia. And personally speaking, they are also a great addition to the amazing city's museums, palaces, and parks, which millions of tourists admire every year.
With over 100 beautiful monuments in St Petersburg made of superb granite, marble, bronze, and iron, perhaps even more if we count those erected inside the Imperial palaces or gardens, choosing which one to see can be a daunting task. Thus, below we compiled a list of what we think are the most interesting and famous monuments in St Petersburg worth seeing. We hope this list of memorials will help you with your itinerary planning!
Located on Senate Square, you can find The Bronze Horseman, the first and most
impressive and popular monument built in St. Petersburg dedicated to Peter the Great,
founder of the imperial city and ruler of the Tsardom of Russia and later the
Russian Empire. This awesome Russian monument facing the Neva River and
surrounded by the Admiralty and St Isaac's Cathedral is among the top monuments in St Petersburg, so the very first you should see during your visit.
Centrally located, exactly on Ostrovsky Square in front of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, stands the only Monument devoted to the Empresses Catherine the Great. Unveiled in 1873 and designed by the Russian artist M.O. Mike Shin, 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 Lyubov Kholina and unveiled in the spring of 1997, the monument offers a very good depiction of the writer and is centrally located so easy to find.
Along with the first monument, the famous 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 building you can find the third great piece of sculpture art dedicated to the first Tsar Peter the Great: The Tsar Carpenter. Created in 1909 by order of Nicholas II, this awesome 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 ax in one clenched hand. There are many monuments in St Petersburg about Peter the Great, and this one is the second most popular among locals.
As you may notice one statue to remember the great achievements of Peter the Great was not enough for Russian people. In fact, inside the famous Peter and Paul Fortress, you can spot another great statue in his memory. Created in bronze by the sculptor Mikhail Shemiakin in 1991, this last monument about the first Russian Tsar 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 and beautifully 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. Centrally located, you can easily find the monument when walking around the city.
Standing in the courtyard of the Marble Palace you can easily admire 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 Russian 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. This is one of the most well-crafted monuments in St Petersburg you can see.
Centrally located, exactly on Malaya Konyushennaya Street, one of St Petersburg's most pleasant and romantic pedestrian streets, you can find another intriguing statue standing in the middle of it. The statue, in appearance a bit gloomy, is a good hand made sculpture devoted to Nikolay Gogol, a famous Russian writer who lived in the city of St Petersburg and wrote interesting stories widely read by people around the world, such as “Dead Souls”, “Nevsky Prospekt”, “The Nose” and “The Overcoat”.
When walking on the famous Nevsky Prospekt near the imposing Kazan Cathedral you can spot the statues of Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolle. These bronze statues are devoted to two prominent military figures in Russia as the name suggests. 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 history says, the statues were mainly built there to protect the orthodox Cathedral and the city from threat or invasion.
Standing on the famous Square of Arts in front of the Mikhaylovsky Palace, you can find the most popular monument in the imperial city: the monument devoted to Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most famous poet. Although you can spot two other similar monuments in St Petersburg dedicated to him, this statue is seen as one of the best monuments in St Petersburg in memory of this Russia's best-loved poet. If you're a reader of Alexander Pushkin's books, you definitely cannot miss this monument.
Always walking in St Petersburg downtown you can find another monument devoted to Alexander Pushkin. This one is erected on Pushkinskaya Street, which crosses the main avenue Nevsky Prospekt not far from Vosstaniya Square. Among this one, you can also spot another brilliant monument similar to this but located inside the Pushkinskaya Metro Station, which is really worth seeing. 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 honor the Russian poet.
Unveiled on November 7, 1926, this is the most impressive statue devoted to the politician Vladimir Lenin in the city, as well as one of the first samples of Soviet monumental art in the world. Even though the USSR dissolved over a decade ago, you can find several statues and plaques of Communist leaders in the city of Saint Petersburg. In fact, wherever you may walk you will surely bump into many small or large monuments to Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, so an important Russian figure still well remembered by Russian people.
Unveiled in 1801, this is a remarkable monument devoted to Alexander Suvorov, the famous Russian military leader who led the Russian-Austrian campaign against Napoleon in North Italy. Sculpted by Mikhail Kozlovsky, the statue is 8 meters (26ft) tall and has a beautiful Cyrillic inscription decorated with gilded reliefs of allegorical figures representing Glory and Peace. For your information, there is also an interesting museum dedicated to the general of the Russian Empire Alexander Suvorov, which hosts the biggest collection of tin soldiers in the world.
Located near the famous and popular Mariinsky Theatre, there is a monument in memory of Mikhail Glinka. Glinka, the first Russian Composer of classical music. Famous for his opera "Ruslan and Ludmilla",
he has influenced many other Russian composers, including
Rimsky-Korsakov, and built Russia's reputation of producing classical
composers. The bronze statue was created by sculptors R. Bach and architect A. Bach in 19th century. Centrally located, this is one of the most popular monuments in St Petersburg among Russians.
off Malaya Sadovaya Street on the Manezhnaya Square, you can
find an important monument dedicated to a great Russian writer and 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.
President V. Putin of Russia has often reveled in the majesty
of Russian culture, particularly literary giants such as Ivan Turgenev, making it one of the most prestigious monuments in St Petersburg.
If you find yourself on Moskovskiy Prospekt, near the old Tekhnologicheskiy Institute (now a university open to students from all over the world), 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, which we all have heard about at school. And, if you want to know more, 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 you should see. Unveiled in 1986 to mark the scientist's 275th anniversary, the bronze monument is located on Mendeleevskaya Liniya between the Twelve Colleges (the main building of St Petersburg State University) and the Academy of Sciences. Centrally located, in you can spot the statue when walking around the city center.
Standing next to the large Neva River between Shpalernaya Street and
Robespera Embankment, lies a monument devoted to one of the most
acclaimed Russian poets, Anna Akhmatova. Created by sculptor Galina Dodonova
the statue was unveiled in 2006 to mark the 40th anniversary of the
great 20th-century poet's death. This striking bronze statue (there are
four other monuments to her) is symbolically located opposite Kresty
Holding Prison, where Akhmatova's partner was incarcerated during the
1930s. If you would like to learn more, you can
visit the Anna Akhmatova Museum nearby.
If you are hunting for communist monuments in St Petersburg, then dont miss the monument to Sergei Kirov on Kirovskaya Square nearby Narvskaya Metro Station. A stop here is really worth but only after you have seen the large statue of the revolutionary Vladimir Lenin located in front of Finland Station. 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 to see. Designed by Vasily Stasov
and situated between the Narva Prospekt and Stachek Prospekt, this twelve columned
monument is made of a single stone crowned with an angel of victory and
decorated with a bunch of valiant warriors. On the top of the arch, there is one wonderful triumphal chariot pulled by six ponies. Binoculars would be a great help to make out the details.
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 French 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. You will definitely see the monument when going to the Hermitage State Museum.
There are many monuments in St Petersburg that symbolically mark the glory and 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 many 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 Russian architect Vasily Stasov, the Moscow Gate was once the biggest assembled construction made out of cast iron in the world. This imposing 12-column gate is certainly less impressive than the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, but it is worth a look during your visit to the city if you have tim, though is one of the less popular monuments in St Petersburg because is set outside the city center.
When traveling from Pulkovo Airport to the city of St Petersburg you will definitely spot the imposing 48- meter monument dedicated to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad situated on Victory Square. This is a huge moving historical memorial 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 natural park of the city, there is a monument dedicated to
the Defenders of the Leningrad Sky (Russian pilots who died to
defend the city from the German bombs in WWII). The monument was erected on the place of a former
airfield Sosnovka and was created by architects V. Vinogradov and L. V. Matveev and engineer B. Z. Wilner.
Not far from the monument you can also find a military cemetery where
were buried the dead pilots and gunners.Personally speaking, this is one of the best off the beaten track monuments in St Petersburg to see.
Located in the middle of the Field of Mars lies a symbolic important war memorial which is among the most sobering 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 nice small park, this Russian monument with its long-standing eternal flame is one of the main St Petersburg attractions, while for locals is a sobering reminder of those people who died during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and WWII. Centrally located, you can easily find the monument when walking around the city.
Built-in front of the Moscow Railway Station on Vosstaniya Square you can find the so-called Hero City Obelisk. This is probably the most visible and impressive war memorial of Saint Petersburg of this size. It was installed on Victory Day of May 1985 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Red Army's victory in the German-Soviet War.There are many other obelisks of this type across Russia which deserve the title of Heroes. However, 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 in between the famous Summer Garden and St. Michael's Castle, next to Panteleymonovskiy bridge at Fontanka river embankment, rumors
say that if you throw a coin to the bronze legs of the bird and it lands
the pedestal you'll get lucky. So when passing the
Chizhik Pyzhik statue do not forget to toss your coin. Most river cruises go closer to the statue.
Standing in the waterway on Ioannovsky Bridge not too far from the famous Peter and Paul Fortress you can find one of the most intriguing and unusual 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 the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, if you have a close look you can still see the watermarks left below the hare.
When walking along Nevsky Prospekt in the very center 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. Designed by the sculptor Piotr Klodt, the statues have twice been removed from their pedestals. Once in 1941, to protect them from damage during the Siege of Leningrad, and once in 2000 to allow restoration work before St. Petersburg's tercentenary celebrations.
Although sphinxes have very little to do with the history of St Petersburg, when wandering around the imperial 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 traveler A. Muraviyov in
the 1820s, the Sphinxes were posed on their pedestals and became two
symbolic monuments in St Petersburg very popular among tourists.
Two of the most unusual monuments in St Petersburg are the striking hand-made sculptures of lions located on the side of Neva Embankment in front of Admiralty nearby the Winter Palace. These two large, bronze-marble statues, made by the sculptor Ivan Prokofiev, are copies of the late 16th century Italian Medici lions in Florence. They are beautiful and the views of the lions, the river, and the other riverside are nice, making it the perfect spot for taking photos by tourists, particularly at night time when all the bridges are opened by midnight.
strolling on the short pedestrian Malaya Sadovaya Street, just
off the famous 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. Definitely this one of the most unusual monuments in St Petersburg which you will bump into when strolling around the city center.