Excursions with The Admiralty
The Admiralty situated on the left bank of the Neva River is one of the most famous architecture monuments of early Russian Classicism in Saint Petersburg. The Admiralty shipyards had been founded in autumn of 1704 and built upon the project of Peter the Great.
The first building of the Admiralty (then it was called «The Admiralty House») was clay-walled, single-store and constructed in the shape of the Russian letter "Ď", with the yard looking over the Neva. Several years later the stone building of the Admiralty colleges was erected. The structure was crowned with a clay-walled tower and spire. In the 30-s years of the XVIII-th century the whole Admiralty was rebuilt in stone. Neither its original appearance nor general outline had been changed since that time except the tower with a spire grown to 72-meter height.
Once more the Admiralty had been reconstructed at the dawn of the XIX-th century. Two Ď-shaped structures were erected upon a grandiose project of architect A. Zakharov. The main building was again crowned with a tower, rounded with a colonnade, a dome and a spire. The spire was topped with a weather-wane — a gilded ship that has become later one of the city's symbols. The Admiralty was decorated with sculpture groups dedicated to the sea, among which the allegorical high-relief «Establishment of Fleet in Russia» is especially remarkable. The high-relief presents ancient Greek god of the Sea — Neptune giving Peter the Great the trident symbolizing power over the sea.
The Admiralty has preserved this outlook (except some minor changes) till nowadays. In 1874 Aleksandrovsky Garden was opened in front of the Admiralty. Some years later the garden was decorated with the busts of such famous Russian writers as Nikolay Gogol, Vassily Zhukovsky, Mikhail Lermontov, composer Mikhail Glinka and monument to Central Asia's explorer Nikolay Przhevalsky.
Originally the Admiralty hosted shipbuilding workshops. In the XIX-th century and at the beginning of the XX-th century the building was handed to various naval institutions. Since 1832 the Naval Architecture School had been located here. Later this school had been transformed into the Saint Petersburg Naval Engineering Institute.