On August 30th, 1832, St. Petersburg witnessed the mounting of the famous Alexander Column in Palace Square, in front of the Winter Palace. The ceremony was attended by the royal family and numerous guests, to say nothing of St. Petersburg residents. By installing the column, Emperor Nicholas I wanted to immortalise the victory of his brother, Alexander I, over Napoleon.
Today, deputy Chairperson of the Monuments Preservation Committee of the St. Petersburg administration Olga Taratynova says that installation required the efforts of almost 3,000 people and was so well planned that it took just a little over 100 minutes.
The Alexander Column is known as a miracle of engineering calculation. For 170 years now, it has been standing in the square unsecured, sustained solely by its own weight of 600 tons. One of the legends of St. Petersburg says that in the early years of the column's history, the inhabitants of the city feared it might collapse, and in order to dissuade them, the author of the column -- the famous Auguste de Montferrand -- used to take a walk around the monument every day. The figure of an angel, one of the symbols of Russia's Northern Capital, crowned the column exactly two years later, on August 30th, 1834, the day of the inauguration of the column. In 2002, the authorities of St. Petersburg decided to restore the column. The last time it underwent restoration was 40 years ago. This time, restoration works will amount to the cleaning of patina off the angel and covering its figure with a unique anti-corrosion coating.
Besides, specialists will have to strengthen the constructions of the monument. The city is also contemplating the possibility of restoring the fence that surrounded the column until the 1930s.