Wandering Camera

Album 164
(Translated b
y Ingerid Maria Opdahl)

In the last winter album, we will spend some time on the Field of Mars, which we have passed by many times already.


The view of the Field of Mars opens up directly after the Second Sadovy Bridge, if one comes from Nevsky Prospekt.
But first we ascend to the 3rd floor of the Lenenergo building (the former Pavlovsky barracks) and have a look at the Field of Mars from above.
(Vitaly Lunev took this photograph).
We go back down.

From here, one gets a good view of the Spas-na-krovi (Church of the Saviour on the blood), which we've seen so many times.

To the south, the Pavlovsky barracks, nowadays housing the business centre Lenenergo, form the limit of the Field.
A few bureaucrats also live in the building.

Actually, the lamps (the ones with the orange glass) come from the old Nikolaevsky Bridge.
The Bridge is now known as Lieutenant Schmidt's Bridge.

The barracks of the former Pavlovsky Guards Regiment were built in 1817-1819.

Here we see them from the Millionaya Street side (it's the street in front of us, which disappears into the distance).

The colonnade is lit, perhaps in honour of the energy supply anniversary: 80 years ago (21 December 1921) the plan for the electrification of Russia - GOELRO - was passed.

A short time ago (in time for the anniversary) the building went through a gentle restoration, and the inscription "Lenenergo" was made on the front of the building.
Between the Field of Mars and the Neva we see the former servants wing of the Marble Palace.
To its left is the Marble Palace itself
(further to the left, Millionnaya Street).
In front of us we see the Troitsky Bridge (currently closed for construction work) crossing the Neva. Directly in front of the bridge is the monument of A.V. Suvorov, and this place is called Suvorov Square.

Previously, at the other side of the Field, by the Moika, there was another monument, of P.A. Rumyantsev (another commander). That monument was moved to the Vasilyevsky Island in 1818.

Both monuments were erected around 1798-1801.

The Field of Mars appeared in the middle of the 18th century. Before that, here was the Large, or Amusement, or Tsaritsyn Meadow. At one time, there even was a garden here, called "Promenad".

Until 1917 the Field was a military parade ground. It was a large, dusty square without any trees or bushes.

Other sources tell of a wooden building placed here in 1909, housing the panorama "the defence of Sevastopol, and that from 1910 to 1913, here was a roller-skating rink.

Here are some old photos available.

The Field was called Mars in honour of the Roman warrior god.

From the side opposite of the Neva, one sees the Mikhailovsky (Engineers') Palace, which is still undergoing restoration, but already has a newly restored little tower.

The Field of Mars is related to the great events of 1917: Here stands the memorial to the "Warriors of the Revolution".

On 23 March 1917, around 180 dead from the days of the February (the bourgeois-democratic) Revolution were buried here.

After the October (socialist) Revolution in 1917, and the civil war years, many famous individuals were buried here (above all, M.S. Uritsky and V. Volodarsky). The Field itself was for a time named to the memory of the "Victims of the Revolution".

In 1917-1919 the architect L.V. Rudnev drew a monument for the communal graves, which is now placed in the middle of the Field. There were plans (including by Rudnev himself) to add a second part to this monument (a truncated pyramid in the centre, and a fence), but they were rejected.

In 1920-1923 I.A. Fomin, assisted by the horticulturist R.F. Kattser, planned a garden here, with lawns, bushes, paths, single trees, and rows of linden trees at three sides of the Field.

It's interesting that the red flags were not only symbols of the October, but also of the February (I repeat, the bourgeois-democratic) Revolution.
Now it's not customary to remember this.

The lines cut into the granite stones were written by A.V. Lunacharsky, the first narkom, or People's Commissar, for education, of the Soviet government. By the way, he knew at least six languages, and throughout his life published more than a thousand works.

"Not knowing the names of all who fought for freedom
Who gave their blood,
The human race honours the nameless,
To the memory and honour of all of them,
This stone was made for years to come."
"The fallen for a great cause is immortal,
He lives forever among the people,
He who gave his life for the people,
Strived, and fought,
And died for the common good"
"From the day of oppression and ignorance,
You, proletarian, rose,
To fend freedom and happiness for yourself,
To grant all humanity happiness,
And break it loose from slavery"
"Against all power's riches and knowledge for the few,
You fought wars
And fell with honour,
So that riches, power and open knowledge,
Could become a common good"

"By the will of tyrants, the peoples tore each other to pieces.
You rose, working Petersburg,
And first started the war of all oppressed
Against all the oppressors,
To kill the seeds of war themselves"

"1917-1918 wrote into the annals
Of Russia great glory
During mournful, light years your seeds are ripening
To a harvest for all who live on earth"

"To the assembly of the great who have left life,
In the name of the blossoming life
Of uprisings' heroes of all times,
To the hordes of Jacobins,
And fighters of 48,
To the hordes of Communards,
The sons of Petersburg are now joined"

"Not victims, but heroes lie in this grave,
Your fates raise not sorrow, but envy in the hearts
Of all grateful descendants. In the red days of horror
You lived gloriously and died beautifully"
The memorial on the Field of Mars is most likely the first construction in Soviet architecture.

Its architect, L. Rudnev, wrote about the creation of the monument:

"Standing in the field, I saw how thousands of workers said goodbye to their comrades, and each factory left its banner there, thrust into the earth - a fence of banners, left on the fresh tombs of thousands of workers. A vision came before me: rows of stone blocks, carried here by thousands of calloused hands...Heroic inscriptions..."

On 5 November 1957 the eternal fire was lit on the Field of Mars (the first in the USSR).

As one of the readers remarked, if one took into account that the victims of Stalin's repressions were also victims of the Revolution (for example, he had most of the Central Committee shot), one could unite this monument with the Monument to the Repression on Troitsky Square.

One thinks that after more than 80 years of propaganda about how Stalin and Lenin realised similar goals, an approach like that would not be adequately received by the population. Even more so as the propaganda continues today.

In the section on Guests' Albums, four albums by a new photographer - Dmitry Budnik - have appeared.
Also, on the right hand menu, in the section about the most interesting things in St. Petersburg, a few albums about buildings of different periods appeared a while ago.



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