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The Rostral Columns

There are two Rostral Columns on the square in front of the Stock Exchange. The 32-metre high red brick towers or lighthouses were used for their direct designation from 1727 until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a port was functioning at the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. Inside the massive shafts of the rostral columns are winding staircases leading upstairs and there, on platforms, bowl-shaped lamps are fixed on metal tripods.

The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. The Rostral Columns.
Architect: Jean-Francois Thomas de Thomon; sculptors: Joseph Camberlain, Philippe Thibault, stone carver Samson Sukhanov 

The Rostral Columns


Formerly they were filled with oil that could be burnt up, but in 1957 gas was supplied to the lamps that allowed to attain a fascinating lighting effect on festive days. The Doric columns-lighthouses are triumphal monuments dedicated to the naval victories of the Russian Empire. They are decorated with rostra – the prow decorations of ships (figures of sirens) in keeping with an ancient Roman tradition according to which victors in a naval battle brought with them the prows of captured ships, and the more of them the greater one’s victory was regarded. The rostral columns are installed on powerful stepped bases, at the foot of which are set up huge monumental statues symbolizing the Volga, Dnieper, Neva and Volkhov Rivers.

View of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral from the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island.                           

Sculptor: Philippe Thibault The sculpture standing at the foot of one f the Rostral Columns personifies the Neva

The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. The Rostral Columns.

 

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