Monument to Catherine the Great

This sole monument to a Russian empress, Catherine I, was sculpted between 1862-1873 by Mikhail Mikeshin and placed at today’s Ostrovsky Square in fron of the Alexandrinsky Theatre.

Catherine the Great was against the idea of erecting a monument dedicated to herself during her reign, demonstrating her political wisdom and cautiousness. Catherine took power in a coup d’etat from her husband and emperor, Peter II, while he was away from the city. She was declared empress in a barracks after secretly arriving back to St. Petersburg. Her official coronation took place in Moscow in September, 1762.

Starting from the first years of her reign Catherine implemented reforms. She established many new educational institutions including the first Russian women’s schools: the Smolny Institute and the Yekaterinskaya School in St. Petersburg. She strengthened Russia’s status in the Crimea and Caucasus regions, and considered herself an enlightened monarch, one invested in the development of culture and arts. The grand Hermitage was established during her reign, too.

Emperor Alexander II decided to honour her reign by deciding to build the monument. 50 tons of bronze was used, resulting in a structure sitting almost 15 metres high, with the towering empress herself standing atop at 4.2 metres tall. Tour to st Petersburg