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Entries / Anniversaries of Petersburg (centenary, bicentenary, two hundred fiftieth anniversary, tercentenary)

Anniversaries of Petersburg (centenary, bicentenary, two hundred fiftieth anniversary, tercentenary)

Categories / Population/Urban Living

ANNIVERSARIES OF ST. PETERSBURG. St. Petersburg's first anniversary celebration (the city's centenary) took place in 1803. Celebrations started on the morning of 16 May 1803, with a ceremonial carrying-out of the ancient rowboat from the Cabin of Peter the Great and its placement on the Gavriil, a ship equipped with 110 cannons, which gave the signal to start a festive cannonade from the walls of the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, the Main Admiralty and ships along the Neva River. A solemn prayer service was conducted near the Winter Palace in the presence of Emperor Alexander I and Imperial troops. Mass celebrations on the Tsaritsyn Meadow (Field of Mars), Admiralteiskaya Square, in the Summer Garden and in other places lasted for three days, as well as balls and masquerades in the Winter Palace. Many gardens, parks and buildings were illuminated. In honour of the city's first anniversary celebration, a golden medal was issued with a portrait of Peter the Great and the legend "From Grateful Descendants"; it was solemnly placed on the grave of the Emperor in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral on 16 May. To arrange St. Petersburg's bicentenary celebrations, an Anniversary Commission was formed by the City Duma in 1899. A script for the celebrations, following the pattern of festivities of 1803, was worked out by A.A. Polovtsov, the head of the Ministry of Imperial Court's general archive. Decoration work in the city started on 28 April 1903 (supervised by a special Duma Committee). The decor was noted for its lavishness. Foreign delegations arrived for the celebrations. The festivities were launched on 16 May 1903 with a cannonade from the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, a ceremonial carrying-out of the rowboat from the Cabin of Peter the Great, and the icon of Christ the Saviour from the chapel. A solemn prayer service was held in front of St. Isaac's Cathedral in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II. Warships were lined up along the Neva River. The liturgy was held in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and a memorial golden medal was placed on the grave of Emperor Peter the Great. Fancy-dress processions were held in the Summer Garden, the Field of Mars and other districts. The day of 16 May saw the ceremonial opening of the Petrovskaya Embankment, with a granite facade (constructed in 1901-03), and of the Troitsky Bridge; and the laying of the foundations for the Emperor Peter the Great School House (2-4 Petrogradskaya Embankment, constructed in 1909-1911, today Nakhimov Naval School) and the Peter the Great Hospital. Celebrations, including open-air festivals and fireworks, lasted up to 23 May 1903. The celebration of St. Petersburg's 250th anniversary (1953) was postponed because of Stalin's death, and was celebrated on 18 June – 6 July 1957. Envoys from twelve countries arrived in Leningrad. During the celebrations, the monument to Alexander Pushkin was unveiled on Arts Square; the foundation of a new Young Spectators' Theatre building was laid (1 Pionerskaya Square); Memorial Train № 293 (a gift from the Finnish Government) arrived at the Finlyandsky Railway Station; and preparations were laid for a monument to V.I. Lenin on Vosstaniya Square (never completed) and a monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad. On 23 June, theatrical performances were arranged at Kirov Stadium (directors G.A. Tovstonogov and I.P. Vladimirov), and open-air festivals were held. On 6 July, members of the Soviet Government, headed by N.S. Khrushchev, arrived to Leningrad, and a solemn procession of citizens went along Nevsky Prospect. As many as 7,226 city residents, as well as various institutions and enterprises, were awarded orders and medals. The Leningrad Metro was put in operation in November 1955, and became a sort of a present for the city's anniversary. To arrange the celebration of St. Petersburg's tercentenary (2003), the 300-Committee was established in 1999. In 2002, a press-centre was opened at the Radio House (2 Italyanskaya Street). The Council of Europe, UNESCO, governments from various countries, private investors and non-profit organisations took part in the celebration's preparation. A package plan was developed called "Reconstruction of St. Petersburg by its Tercentenary". Celebrations were held from 23 May to 1 June 2003. Many establishments opened during that time, including the Ladozhsky Railway Station, the Petersburg Tercentenary Park, the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, a branch of the Russian Museum at the Mikhailovsky Castle, and the Museum of G.R. Derzhavin and Russian Literature of his Time; a number of monuments were also unveiled. International art festivals, exhibitions and sporting events were held, as were many mass entertainment and open-air festivals, including the Assembly of the Universal Club of Petersburgers, the International Likhachev Scientific Readings, the Forth International Rainbow Festival of Performances for Children and Young People, and the Tercentenary of Saint Petersburg International Festival. Delegations from over 80 countries and 43 heads of states attended the celebrations. Public prayer services were held in churches of various denominations.

References: Пантелеев П. Ф. Столетний юбилей города Санкт-Петербурга в 1803 г. СПб., 1902; Немиро О. В. Из истории празднования 100-летия и 200-летия основания Петербурга // Петербургские чтения-96. СПб., 1996. С. 429-433.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Alexander I, Emperor
Derzhavin Gavriil Romanovich
Khrushchev Nikita Sergeevich
Kirov (real name Kostrikov) Sergey Mironovich
Nicholas II, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Polovtsov Alexander Alexandrovich
Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich
Stalin (real name Dzhugashvili) Iosif Vissarionovich
Tovstonogov Georgy Alexandrovich
Vladimirov Igor Petrovich

Italyanskaya Street/Saint Petersburg, city, house 2
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city
Petrogradskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 4
Petrogradskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 2
Petrovskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city
Pionerskaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1
The Field of Mars/Saint Petersburg, city
Vosstaniya Square/Saint Petersburg, city

The subject Index
St. Peter and Paul fortress
St. Peter and Paul fortress
Winter Palace
Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole), ensemble
SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral
St. Isaac's Cathedral
Nakhimov Navy School
Young People's Theatre
Finlyandsky Railway Station
Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, Monument to
Kirov Stadium
Konstantinovsky Palace (Strelna)
Mikhailovsky Castle
Russian Museum, State
Derzhavin Museum


Communication Museum

COMMUNICATION MUSEUM, A. S. Popov Central (7 Pochtamtskaya Street) is the first such museum in Russia. It ranks among the biggest museums of its kind in the world