The Bronze Horseman, the most famous monument in St Petersburg, is dedicated to the founder of the city – Peter the Great. It was commissioned by Russian empress Catherine the Great who came to power as a result of the palace turnover and wanted to demonstrate the succession of her policy with that of the great Russian ruler. The inscription on the pedestal of the Bronze horseman reads: “To Peter the Great from Catherine the Second”.
From the very beginning the Bronze Horseman monument by a French sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet astonished the contemporaries: the pedestal of the monument was made of a granite rock that was originally 1600 tons heavy. The enormous rock stricken by lightning and consequently nick-named the Thunder Rock was found near the village called Lahta. 400 people were needed to transport it to the bank of the gulf of Finland (approximately 8,5 km) where it was loaded on a special barge.. The rock for the Bronze horseman was partially broached during the transportation and thus lost a significant part of its original weight. Nevertheless, Catherine the Great commissioned a special medal to commemorate the feat.
According to the legend, the Bronze Horseman protects the city and St Petersburg will exist as long as the monument remains on its place. It was not removed even during WWII and stayed almost untouched during the Siege of Leningrad.
The monument is situated on the Senate square.
You can see the Bronze horseman during St Petersburg walking tour