"The Tsar Carpenter"

The impressive monument to Peter the Great "Tsar Carpenter" which now stands on the Admiralty embankment has a particularly fascinating history. The highly detailed monument portrays a young and determined Peter the Great undergoing the laborious task of building a ship with rolled up sleeves and an axe in one clenched hand. Three hundred years ago a young Peter the Great set off to the city of Zaandam in Holland to learn the craft of ship building which he would bring back with him to Russia to help build the Russian Navy.

Tsar Carpenter statue on Admiralty Embankment in St Petersburg, Russia
Tsar Carpenter statue on Admiralty Embankment

In 1909, the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II in honor of the bicentennial of the great Russian Naval victory at Poltava presented the city of St. Petersburg with a monument completed by sculptor Leopold Bernshtam. The monument was titled "Peter the Great learning the craft of ship building in the city of Zaandam." And in the following year a copy of the monument to Peter the Great was also presented to the city of Zaandam, which remembers Peter the Great till this day.

However, as fate would have it, the monument to Peter the Great which became known by the nickname "Tsar Carpenter," did not remain very long on the banks of the Neva River at the Admiralty Embankment where Peter the Great also worked as a craftsman at the nearby Warf. The Bolsheviks tragically destroyed the monument in 1918 shortly after coming to power.

Winter view of the Tsar Carpenter monument to Peter the Great in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Winter view of the Tsar Carpenter monument to Peter the Great

Yet the bronze copy of the original "Tsar Carpenter" monument remained in Holland. On September 7, 1996 the copy was given to city of St. Petersburg by the Government of the Netherlands in honor of the tri-centennial of the Russian Navy and the tri-centennial of the Great Embassy of Peter the Great in the Netherlands. The monument made its way back to the city on the Neva by royal frigate and was then transferred from the frigate by helicopter to its current site on a pedestal on the Admiralty Embankment.