The original Admiralty Yard was built in 1706 to plans by Peter the Great himself, and the site was chosen to be within range of the canon of the Peter and Paul Fortress, so the building could be destroyed if captured by the enemy. A U-shaped earth structure with an internal canal, it served as the shipyard that built the backbone of the nascent Russian Navy.
The original stone Admiralty building was erected in 1719, and this marked the first appearance of the Admiralty Spire with its ship weathervane, which was to become one of the most recognizable symbols of St. Petersburg. The building now standing, with its magnificent 400m facade facing the Alexandrovsky Garden and its massive wings embracing three blocks along the Admiralty Embankment (Admiralteyskaya Naberezhnaya), took 17 years to build and was completed in 1823. It was the masterpiece of architect Adrian Zakharov, who executed the building in the high classical style of Russian Empire.
Zakharov's design comprises two parallel U-shaped blocks, culminating in two squat archways flanked by columns on the embankment. The archway of the main building is beneath a tower that, with an enhanced spire, reaches 72m. Beneath the gilded spire 28 statues - among them depictions in human form of the four seasons, the four elements, and the four prevailing winds, as well as the goddess Isis (the protectress of shipbuilders) and Urania, muse of astronomy - stand atop a colonnade of white pillars. A level lower, at the corners of the tower's attic, are statues of Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus, Ajax and Achilles. A 22m alto-relievo called the Establishment of the Russian Fleet shows Neptune handing his trident to Peter the Great.
The shipyard was officially closed in 1844. In nearly 140 years it had produced 262 warships. The building then became home to the Sea Ministry, the Central Naval Headquarters, the Naval Museum, and the Revolutionary Naval Committee. Since 1925, it has housed the Dzerzhinsky Higher Naval College.
|Address:||1, Admiralteyskiy Prospekt|
|Getting there:||From the metro, turn left then left again onto Malaya Morskaya Ulitsa. Take the first right (Gorokhovaya Ulitsa) and you will see the Admiralty arch straight in front of you.|
|What's nearby?||Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad), Admiralty Embankment (Admiralteyskaya Naberezhnaya), Ploshchad Dekabristov (Decembrists' Square), Nevsky Prospekt, St. Isaac's Cathedral, General Staff Building, Senate and Synod Building, Bronze Horseman (Monument to Peter the Great), Alexander Column|