Topic: A Russian Moment
The Monument to the Millennium of Russia consists of 129 individual figures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists
The Monument to the Millennium of Russia, standing at the centre of Novgorod, was unveiled on September 8, 1862. It was erected to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of Russian history. The bronze monument is the work of Mikhail Mikeshin, an eminent Russian sculptor active in the second half of the 19th century.
The monument consists of a grandiose, 15.7-metre-high bell crowned by a cross symbolizing the tsar's power. The bell is encircled with several tiers of sculptures, 129 individual figures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists active during various periods of Russian history.
The kneeling figure in the upper tier of the monument personifies Russia. Below, around the sphere, there are six groups symbolizing different periods of Russian history up to the first quarter of the 18th century. Represented, among others, are Prince Rurik who, according to legend, was invited in 862 to rule Novgorodian lands; Princes Vladimir, Dmitry Donskoi, Tsars Ivan III, Mikhail I and Peter I.
The high-relief frieze in the lower tier of the memorial depicts military heroes, statesmen, educators, poets, writers and artists - 109 figures altogether. Here one can see the chronicler Nestor, Princes Yaroslav the Wise and Alexander the Nevsky, the Ukrainian hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, the founder of the Russian theatre Volkov, the satirical writer Fonvizin, the composer Glinka, the poets Derzhavin, Zhukovsky, Pushkin, Lermontov, the historian Karamzin, and the artist Karl Briullov.
The most expensive Russian monument up to that time, it was erected at a cost of 400,000 roubles, mostly raised by public subscription. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the huge sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod, each weighing in excess of 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons.
During the World War II , the Nazis dismantled the monument and prepared it for transportation to Germany. Luckily, they never succeeded to accomplish this plan. After Novgorod's liberation, the monument was restored and in November 1944 once again unveiled to the public.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 March, 2014