Field of Mars

Adjoining, among others, the Summer and St. Michael Gardens and the St. Michael Palace, the Field of Mars has a long and varied history dating back to the very beginning of the city's history.

Eternal Flame in the middle of the Field of Mars in St Petersburg, Russia
Eternal Flame in the middle of the Field of Mars

At the beginning of the 18th century, what is now the Field of Mars was essentially an overgrown bog. Subsequently it was turned into a parade ground for troop inspections, and renamed the Grand Meadow. Celebrations and parades were held to mark Russia's victory over Sweden in the Northern War. Following the construction of a palace for Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great, along one side of the field, the Meadow was renamed Tsarina's Meadow, and only in 1805 did it acquire its present-day name of the Field of Mars.

The Field of Mars was used for many years as a training ground for guards' regiments, and parades on it were immortalized by dozens of Russian painters and poets. The Emperor Paul was particularly partial to military parades on the Field of Mars, and had his official residence - the Mikhailovsky Castle - built on the other side of it from Catherine's Palace. But in the second half of the 19th century the Field of Mars once again became a place for ordinary people to spend their leisure time, with lots of attractions and amusements.

View of the Field of Mars, Suvorov Square and Trinity Bridge in St Petersburg, Russia
View of the Field of Mars, Suvorov Square and Trinity Bridge

In 1917, the remains of those who died during the February Revolution were ceremonially buried on the Field of Mars, and the site assumed another function as a burial ground for heroes of the Revolution. In 1917-1919 a monument to "Fighters for the Revolution" was created here

During the Siege of Leningrad the Field of Mars became a huge vegetable garden, and after the siege was lifted a salute was fired from the field.

In 1957 the Eternal Flame was lit on the Field of Mars in memory of the victims in St. Petersburg of all wars and revolutions.

How to Get There:

From the Nevsky ProspeKt or Gostiny Dvor metro station, head along Griboedov Canal toward the Church on the Spilled Blood. Carry on round the Church, then cross the Moika, and the Field of Mars is in front of you.

Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) in St Petersburg, Russia
Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) in St. Petersburg
1768 - 1785 - Marble Palace built.
1796 - 1800 - St. Michael's Palace built.
1805 - Renamed Field of Mars.
1957 - Eternal Flame lit.
Myths and Legends

According to legend, the Emperor Paul was so enraged by the performance of the Preobrazhensky Regiment at one parade that he shouted to the soldiers, "About face ... quick march! To Siberia!". The terrified soldiers obeyed the order, marching out of the city and heading for Siberia. News of their pardon only caught up with them when they reached Novgorod.