Peter the Great Statue

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Peter the Great Statue
For 300 years of the Russian Navy.
Unveiled 1997
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Designed by Zurab Tsereteli

The Peter the Great Statue is a 98-metre-high monument to Peter the Great, located at the western confluence of the Moskva River and the Vodootvodny Canal in central Moscow. It was designed by the Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate 300 years of the Russian Navy, which Peter the Great established. It was erected in 1997 and is the eighth tallest statue in the world. It weighs around 1,000 tons[1] and contains 600 tons of stainless steel, bronze and copper.[2]

Since its inception, the statue has courted controversy. In November 2008, it was voted the tenth ugliest building in the world by Virtual Tourist.[3] In 2010, it was included in a list of the world's ugliest statues by Foreign Policy magazine.[4] Lonely Planet commented: "Questions of taste aside, Muscovites were sceptical about the whole idea: why pay tribute to Peter the Great, who loathed Moscow and moved the capital to St Petersburg?"[5]

The designer Zurab Tsereteli is known as a friend and favorite of Moscow's former Mayor Yury Luzhkov, and the artist received a number of municipal art commissions under his patronage, such as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Manege Square ensemble and the War Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora.[6][1] In October 2010, following Luzhkov's departure from office, Moscow authorities, reportedly keen to get rid of the Peter the Great statue, offered to relocate it to Saint Petersburg, but this offer was refused by the city. Authorities in Arkhangelsk and Petrozavodsk have offered to accept the monument.[7]

The statue is allegedly based on a design originally intended to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1992. When an American customer for the project could not be found, it was repurposed with a Russian theme.[1] Tsereteli denies this story.[8] A separate, equally colossal statue of Columbus by the same designer eventually wound up in Puerto Rico after being rejected by various US cities, but, as of 2011, remains disassembled.[9] Plans to erect it in Arecibo in the summer of 2015 have been reported.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "First they toppled the Moscow mayor, now they're after his sculptor", Washington Post, October 5, 2010
  2. "Moscow gripped by 'ugly statue' row", BBC News, 21 October 2010
  3. Belinda Goldsmith (2008-11-14). "Travel Picks: 10 top ugly buildings and monument". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-17. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Joshua Keating (2010-04-05). "The World's Ugliest Statues". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2010-08-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lonely Planet Russia, 2012 edition, 83
  6. Jamey Gambrell (1997-07-01). "Moscow's monumental woes - controversy over Peter the Great sculpture in Moscow, Russia". Art in America. Retrieved 2009-08-18. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Moscow is eager to get rid of ugly and gigantic monument to Peter the Great". Pravda. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-10-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "In Wake Of Luzhkov's Ouster, Moscow Monument's Future In Doubt", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, October 8, 2010
  9. "Columbus statue runs aground in Puerto Rico", NBC News, 25 September 2011
  10. "300-foot Columbus statue going up on PR coast after two-decade odyssey", Caribbean Business, April 6, 2014

External links