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Entries / St. Isaac Square

St. Isaac Square

Categories / City Topography/Urban Network/Squares
Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles

St.ISAAC SQUARE (St. Isaac’s Square, in 1923-44, Vorovskogo Square), one of the central squares of St. Petersburg. Located between Admiralteisky Avenue and Mariinsky Palace. The square is crossed by the Moika River, Voznesensky Avenue and Bolshaya Morskaya Street. Trapeze-shaped; it acquired its present-day appearance in 1923, when St. Isaac Square was joined with Mariinskaya Square (the latter expanded from Mariinsky Palace towards Bolshaya Morskaya Street). The architectural ensemble of the square includes buildings of different styles of the 18th to early 20th centuries (from early neoclassicism to Art Nouveau). According to the designs of 1738, a trade square with small shops was founded by the Moika River. It was initially built up with typical one-storied buildings with basements. Then St. Isaac cathedral, built in 1768-1802 and entirely reconstructed in 1818-58, was transferred to the square, which determined its future. The cathedral cut the square off from Senatskaya Square, set its boundary in the north and became the main focus of the square. On the southern side of St. Isaac Square, architect J.B. Vallin de la Mothe built I.G. Chernyshev's Palace in 1762-68, in the western side in the 1740-50s Myatlevs' house was built (No. 9/2, the architect is unknown; rebuilt in the 1770s and in 1809-11, architect L. Ruska). In 1804-07 architect G. Quarenghi erected the manege of the Cavalry Life Guards Regiment (No. 1), decorated with sculpted group of Dioscuroi (1817, sculptor P. Triscorni). In 1818, Siny Stone Bridge was erected over the Moika River. In 1817-20, the Empire-style house of Lobanov-Rostovsky was built east of the cathedral, the result being, that the size of the square reduced, and the north-east section of Voznesensky Avenue was formed. In 1839-44, on the site of Chernyshev Palace, Mariinsky Palace was built (No. 6) shaping the southern part of the square; in 1844-53 - the houses of the Ministry of the State Property and the minister of the State Property were built (Nos. 4 and 13 respectively; both designed by architect N.E. Efimov). In 1859, the monument to Nicholas I was set in the centre of St. Isaac’s Square adding an extra touch of monumentality to the square. In 1860, a parterre public garden designed by Montferrand, was laid out (redesigned in 1911-12); in 1872-74, Alexandrovsky Garden was laid out. The latter became an ultimate step in separating St. Isaac Square from Senatskaya Square. In 1911-12, the Art Nouveau building of Astoria Hotel was erected; in 1911-13 - there came the house of the former German Embassy completing the image of the square. During the Siege of 1941-44, many buildings on St Isaac Square were damaged by bombing and artillery fire; the garden was transformed into makeshift vegetable gardens. Following the war, the area was reconstructed and developed. In 1970-71, a water metre indicating the greatest floods was established on Moika Embankment, by the Siny Bridge. In 1987-89, the building of Angleterre Hotel, which had been knocked down, was built anew, preserving the original look. The ensemble of St. Isaac Square is included into the protected zone of St. Petersburg historical centre. See illustrations on page 306.

References: Исаакиевская площадь: Образы: Кат. выст. СПб., 2002.

V. V. Antonov.

Abaza Alexander Aggeevich
Chernyshev Ivan Grigorievich, Count
Efimov Nikolay Efimovich
Montferrand Auguste Augustovich (Henri Louis Auguste Leger Ricard de)
Nicholas I, Emperor
Quarenghi Giacomo
Rusca Luigi (Aloisy Ivanovich)
Triscorni Paolo
Vallin de la Mothe Jean Baptiste Michel

Admiralteysky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshaya Morskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 9/2
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 6
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 4
St.Isaac's Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 13
Voznesensky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city

Исаакиевская пл. Образы. Каталог выставки. СПб., 2002

The subject Index
St. Isaac's Cathedral
Lobanov-Rostovsky, House of
Mariinsky Palace
Ministry of Agriculture
Nicholas I, Monument to
Astoria Hotel
German Embassy Building
Siege of 1941-44
Angleterre Hotel