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Entries / Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole), ensemble

Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole), ensemble

Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles

FIELD OF MARS (in the 18th century Bolshoy Meadow, Poteshnoe Field, Tsaritsyn Meadow, in 1918 -40 – Zhertv Revolyutsii Square), the square in the centre of St. Petersburg. It was named so in honour of Mars, the Roman god of war. The field is bounded by Moyka Embankment in the south, Lebyazhy Canal in the east, Millionnaya Street in the north. The local marshland had been drained by 1712, and open-air festivals with merry-making, or potekhi (hence one of the previous names), took place on the grounds beside Peter the Great's summer palace. In 1712, by the Neva bank Piteyny Yard (Potatory Yard) was built, which soon was transformed into Pochtovy Yard (Post Yard). In 1713, Animal Yard was established nearby. In 1718-21, Krasny Canal, joining the Neva and Moyka rivers, was excavated; its western bank was built up with houses for the nobility. In 1721-26, there was a pavilion with the Gottorp Globe on the meadow. In the 1740s, the Promenade was established - that was the name attached to the garden laid out for Empress Elizaveta Petrovna's strolls (architects B.K. Rastrelli, M.G. Zemtsov, gardener I. Surmin). This garden existed until 1777 and gave the name Tsaritsyn (that of Tsarina) to the meadow. In the 1770s, Krasny Canal was drained, and the meadow again became the site of open-air festivals. In the second half of the 18th century Mramorny Palace (Marble Palace) together with its service buildings erected in its northern part, as were N.I. Saltykov's (1784-88, architect G. Quarenghi) and I.I. Betskoy's houses (1784-87). During the building of Mikhaylovsky Castle, the meadow was converted into a military parade-ground, where Rumyantsevsky Obelisk and the monument to A.V. Suvorov were mounted. In 1818, architect C.I. Rossi moved the obelisk to Vasilievsky Island, and the monument to Suvorov was transferred closer to the Neva, where Suvorovskaya Square was laid out. The conversion of several buildings into the quarters for the Pavlovsky Life Guards Regiment and building of a house by Adamini completed the architectural image of the square, which since has been named Field of Mars. Until 1917, musters were made and parades held here; during popular carnivals makeshift entertainment and sports buildings were put up. On 23 March (5 April New Style), 1917 the victims of the Revolution of February 1905 were solemnly buried in the centre of the Field of Mars, subsequently, communists who perished in the Civil War were also buried there. In 1917-19, the Victims of the Revolution Memorial (architect L.V. Rudnev) with epitaphs written by A.V. Lunacharsky was built. In the 1920s, the public garden was made around the memorial (architect I.A. Fomin, horticulturist R.F. Katzer). In 1957, the memorial was reconstructed (architect S.G. Mayofis), and the nation's first Eternal Fire was lit there.

References: Шварц В. С. Архитектурный ансамбль Марсова поля. Л., 1989.

S. V. Boglachev.

Betskoy (Betsky) Ivan Ivanovich
Elizaveta Petrovna, Empress
Fomin Ivan Alexandrovich
Katzer Rudolf Frantsevich
Lunacharsky Anatoly Vasilievich
Mayofis Solomon Grigorievich
Peter I, Emperor
Quarenghi Giacomo
Rastrelli Bartolomeo Carlo de
Rossi Carl Ivanovich (Carlo Giovanni)
Rudnev Lev Vladimirovich
Saltykov Nikolay Ivanovich
Surmin Ilya
Suvorov Alexander Arkadievich, Count
Zemtsov Mikhail Grigorievich

Millionnaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Suvorovskaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
The Field of Mars/Saint Petersburg, city

Шварц В. С. Архитектурный ансамбль Марсова поля. Л., 1989

The subject Index
Gottorp Globe
Marble Palace
Mikhailovsky Castle
Rumyantsevsky Obelisk
A.V. Suvorov monument
Adamini's House


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