ROUTE No. 7
AROUND FIELD OF MARS: FIELD OF MARS – ETERNAL FLAME – BARRACKS OF THE PAUL’S GUARDS REGIMENT – MARBLE PALACE – MONUMENT TO ALEXANDER III – MONUMENT TO ALEXANDER SUVOROV – SUMMER GARDEN – STATUE OF CHIZHIK-PYZHIK– ST. MICHAEL’S CASTLE – STATUE OF PAUL I – STATUE OF PETER THE GREAT – MICHAEL’S GARDEN – CATHEDRAL OF OUR SAVIOR ON THE SPILLED BLOOD
Now we move along the Palace Embankment to the Field of Mars. The Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) is one of the largest open spaces in central St. Petersburg. It was known in the 18th century as the Amusement Field (Poteshnoe Pole) because firework displays were held here, and also as the Tsarina’s Meadow (Tsaritsyn Lug), because it was used for popular celebrations and promenades. It acquired its present name in the early 19th century when it began to be used as a military parade and training ground.
The present appearance of the central part of the Field of Mars dates from 1917. In April 1917 the numerous victims of the February revolution were buried here with great ceremony, 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. In 1957 the Eternal Flame  was lit on the Field of Mars in memory of the victims of all wars and revolutions.
Most of the west side of the Field of Mars is occupied by the former Barracks of the Paul’s Guards Regiment . The barracks were constructed in 1817-1819 by Vasiliy Stasov for Paul I’s regiment which had acquitted itself gloriously in the campaign against Napoleon. The long facade is given distinction by its porticoes with Doric columns. Today the building houses the headquarters of St. Petersburg energy authority.
the Field of Mars to the north is the Marble Palace . The palace was commissioned by Catherine the Great for her favorite Grigoriy Orlov and was built by architect Antonio Rinaldi between 1768-1785. The name derives from the pale pink marble facing on the pilasters and elsewhere. Other parts of the building are covered with pink or grey granite, which makes the Marble Palace one of the few St. Petersburg buildings to be faced with natural stone. Nowadays the Marble Palace is a branch of the Russian Museum, displaying permanent and temporary exhibitions.
In the courtyard of the Marble Palace stands a Monument to Alexander III . The monument was originally unveiled on Znamenskaya Square opposite Nikolaevskiy (now Moskovskiy) railway station. In 1937 the monument was removed from the square and placed in the inner courtyard of the Russian Museum, thus becoming “the prisoner of the Russian Museum”. It was only in 1994 that the Monument to Alexander III was relocated to the courtyard of the Marble Palace and mounted on the base which had once been graced by the famous rallying armored car of the “leader of the world’s proletariat”.
Directly north of the Field of Mars lies the Suvorov Square. In the center of the square is a Monument to Alexander Suvorov  by sculptor Mikhail Kozlovsky. The sculptor followed the task of portraying the military genius of Alexander Suvorov rather than creating a portrait likeness. On the round pedestal stands a young warrior in a helmet and armour with a drawn sword. With his shield, bearing Russia’s coat of arms, the warrior is protecting the sacrificial altar, on which the Neapolitan and Sardinian Crowns and the Pope’s tiara lie. This allegory symbolizes the victory of Russian arms gained under Alexander Suvorov, defending against the French army the countries that are represented by the emblems of the sacrificial altar.
Separated from the Field of Mars by the Lebyazhiy Channel, the Summer Garden  forms its boundary to the east. The Garden was laid out in 1704, shortly after the founding of the city. Under Peter the Great it was a gala royal residence. In 1710-1714 a modest two-storey Summer Palace of Peter the Great  was designed by Domenico Trezzini in the northeast corner of the Summer Garden. In the 19th century new pavilions – Coffee House designed by Carlo Rossi and Tea House designed by Ludwig Charlemagne – appeared. In 1855 in front of the Tea House the statue of a famous Russian fabulist Ivan Krylov was designed by Pyotr Klodt. The pedestal of the monument is decorated with bas-relief compositions, depicting various characters of Ivan Krylov’s fables.
In the 19th century the Summer Garden was one of the favorite walking places for the privileged classes of St. Petersburg. Many writers, poets and artists frequented the garden, including poet Alexander Pushkin, writer Ivan Goncharov, composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, poet Alexander Blok and other prominent figures of Russian culture. Presently the Summer Garden is closed for restoration.
By the southern entrance/exit to the Summer Garden, near Panteleymonovskiy Bridge across Fontanka River, one can see an 11-centimeter Statue of Chizhik-Pyzhik , installed in 1994 on the site of the former Imperial Legal Academy, founded in 1835. The Academy’s students wore green and yellow uniforms that made them look like saskins. Their visits to a local hostelry led to the famous folk song: “Chizhik-Pyzhik, where have you been? On Fontanka, drinking vodka”. Tradition suggests that anyone who can toss a coin so that it lands on the statue without falling into the water is in line for good luck.
In 1797-1800 on the order of Emperor Paul I, the St. Michael’s Castle  was erected in the southeastern corner of the Field of Mars. Surrounded by water, this large brick red building with a tall gilded spire resembles a medieval fortress. Paul I believed that the moats surrounding the castle and drawbridges would be reliable protection against conspiracies budding at court. But the Emperor resided only forty days in his new castle. On March 11, 1801 he was smothered by his close associates. For over 20 years after this incident the castle lay empty, but in 1823 it was taken over by the Military Engineering Academy. Today the former St. Michael’s Castle houses a branch of the Russian Museum. Inside the courtyard of St. Michael’s Castle stands the seated Statue of Paul I , unveiled in 2003.
During Paul’s brief reign the square to the south of the castle was used for his favorite occupation – drilling troops. The equestrian Statue of Peter the Great  was erected in front of St. Michael’s Castle in 1800 by the order of Paul I. On its base is the inscription “to the Great-Grandfather from the Great-Grandson” (Paul’s paternal grandmother was a daughter of Peter I). The bronze statue depicts Peter the Great in Roman armor and crowned with a laurel wreath. The statue’s pedestal faced with green, red and white-shaded Karelian marble is decorated with two bronze bas-reliefs of the battles of Poltava and Gangut, and also an allegorical composition with trophies.
The Moyka River forms the southern side of the Field of Mars. Behind the river stretches the Michael’s Garden  – a favorite place of city residents and visitors to go for a walk. Throughout its long history it had been a formal French garden, a hunting reserve, and under the Empress Elizabeth it housed labyrinths and fountains. During the reign of Emperor Paul I the garden was used for horseback riding, and began to acquire its present features in the early 19th century. The construction of St. Michael’s Castle and after that the Michael’s Palace (now housing the Russian Museum), both of which border the garden, fixed the Michael’s Garden in its present boundaries.
On the banks of the Moyka River, in the northeast edge of the garden, a small park Pavilion-pier  is located. It was built by architect Carlo Rossi in 1825 and consists of two similar structures connected by a colonnade. A granite terrace-pier in front of the pavilion is surrounded by cast-iron fence, made according to Carlo Rossi’s design.
The magnificent Cathedral of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood  is located in front of the entrance to Michael’s Garden from the side of Griboedov Canal. The temple was built as a memorial on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded on March 1, 1881. Designed by architect Alfred Parland in the Pseudo-Russian style, the Cathedral of Our Savior offers an amazing contrast to the Baroque and Classical architecture predominant in central St. Petersburg. Its design is based loosely on that of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev.
The interior of the cathedral is faced with Italian multi-colored marble and colored stone from different regions of Russia, including Ural jasper, porphyry, violet gray Altai jasper, dark red, pink and green marble. Among the most important elements of the cathedral is the shrine which was constructed on the very spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded.