The Admiralty

The admiralty of Russia

The admiralty of Russia

The Admiralty building is one of the best architectural monuments of Saint Petersburg A ship at the spire of the Admiralty is widely known as one of the symbols of the North Capital. The word “Admiralty” means the place where military ships are built and repaired. The first shipbuilding yard of St. Petersburg was built in June 1703 at the site of the future crownwork of Peter and Paul Fortress. However, the city badly needed a larger admiralty shipyard. Thus, Peter the Great ordered that a new shipbuilding yard was set to be built on an island between the Neva River and the Mya River (now the Moika River). This island then became known as the Admiralteisky island.
So, the shipyard-fortress was erected on 5 November, 1704. The Admiralty Shipyard was shaped as the Russian letter corresponding to the English “P” (as transcription), with its length being approximately 425 metres and width – 213 metres. Then, a tower with a spire was built in the centre of the main facade in 1711 in which, seven years later, the Admiralty College, the supreme governing body of the Fleet, was housed.

The admiralty from the embankment at night

The admiralty from the Neva embankment

The first ship from the Admiralty Shipyard was launched on 29 April, 1706. During the reign of Peter the Great, a total quantity of 262 warships descended from the Admiralty Stakes. At the same time, every keel-laying or launching of a ship was accompanied by guns of salute, cannon shots, shouts of “Hurray!” and a general holiday.
By 1727 the Admiralty building had decayed badly, and it was decided to rebuild it in stone. According to the project of the architect I.K. Korobov building was decorated with a very tall tower, crowned with a beautiful spire.
At the beginning of the XIX century, when the appearance of Petersburg changed, the Admiralty building, compared with the Winter Palace as a background on the one hand, and with the Bronze Horseman on the other, began to look rather unassertive. The reconstruction of the building was entrusted to the outstanding architect A.D. To Zakharov and was carried out in 1806 – 1823. The third modern building of the Admiralty consists of two corps – shaped again as the Russian letter corresponding to the English “P” (as transcription) – external and internal. The central facade of the building, more than four hundred meters in length, is decorated with six multicoloured porticos. There is a multi-tiered tower with an entrance arch in the centre of the facade, garnished with a colonnade and topped with a dome with a spire.

The admiralty spire and colonnade - Alexandrovsky Garden

The admiralty spire and colonnade – Alexandrovsky Garden

The building, made by Zakharov in the style of Russian classicism, began to look much more solemn. The Admiralty has become a three-story building, the building is decorated with 56 statues, 350 moulded ornaments and 11 bas-reliefs. Above the entrance arch of the central tower of the Admiralty are two flying glory with inclined banners. Above them is the relief “The establishment of the Fleet of Russia”. Even higher, on the parapet of the tower, there are statues of ancient heroes – Alexander of Macedon, Ajax, Achilles and Pyrrhus. In the direction of the Winter Palace four statues are depicted, embodying the main directions of the wind (northern – Borei, western – Nodir, southern – Zephyr, eastern – Noth), and images of two goddesses – Isis and Urania (patroness of shipbuilding and astronomy). Their counterparts also look towards the Bronze Horseman. The central tower of the Admiralty is crowned with a gilded dome with a clock and an octagonal torch with a small dome, transforming into a spire of 23 metres high.
The whole history of the Admiralty is inseparably connected with the fleet. At various times it housed various naval and educational institutions: the Admiralty College, the Maritime Ministry, the School of Shipbuilding Architecture, the Higher Naval Engineering College named after F.E. Dzerzhinsky.

%d bloggers like this: