ADMIRALTY

Address: 1, Admiralteisky Proyezd
ADMIRALTY

The building of the Main Admiralty is situated between two squares – Palace Square and Decembrists’Square – and is the architectural and compositional centre of Saint-Petersburg.

The earliest building of the Admiralty that became the first ship-building enterprise on the Baltic coast was constructed according to a drawing by Peter the Great in 1704, during the Northern War against Sweden. That was a single storey pisé structure crowned with a tower. In 1730-1738 the architect Ivan Korobov reconstructed the building in stone keeping its original shape and surmounted the tower with a gilded spire.

The Third Admiralty, surviving to this day, was erected to a project by the architect Andreyan Zakharov and is the highest accomplishment of Russian Classicism. Its tower is surmounted with a spire topped by the silhouette of a sailing ship. Its base is pierced with an arch and a colonnade of 28 columns encircles its middle section. The Admiralty pavilions face the Neva are crowned with flagstaffs.

The architecture of the building combines well with its sculptural décor revealing the idea underlying the Admiralty – the grandeur of the Russian navy. The central high relief on the attic near the entrance depicts a scene The Establishment of the Fleet in Russia (sculptor Ivan Terebenev), the arch is flanked by symmetrical stone groups of nymphs carrying the earthly and heavenly spheres (sculptor Feodosy Shchedrin). At the corners of the tower are four statues of ancient heroes and army commanders: Achilles, Ajax, Pyrrhus and Alexander the Great. Another 28 pieces of sculpture arranged over the upper colonnade decorate the Admiralty tower – allegories of the seasons, cardinal points and elements, as well as statues of the goddess Isis (patron of ship building) and Urania (the Muse of Astronomy).

In 1874 a garden was laid out in front of the Admiralty building. It was named the Alexanrovsky Garden in honor of Emperor Alexander II. In 1880 its avenues were decorated with monuments to several outstanding figures of Russian culture: Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Lermontov, Mikhail Glinka and Nikolai Przhevalsky; the centre of the garden is adorned with a fountain (architect Alexander Geschwend).

Today the Admiralty building houses the Higher Naval School.