The Field of Mars or Marsovo Polye is a large park named after the Mars, Roman god of war. The history of Field of Mars goes back to the first years of Saint-Petersburg. At that time it was called Grand Meadow. Later there were organised solemnities in the honour of the victory in the Great Northern War and the Field was renamed Pleasure Field (Poteshnoe Pole). In the 1740s Pleasure Field for a short while was turned into a walking park with paths, lawn and flowers. Its next name – Tsarina’s Meadow – appears after the royal family commissioned F.B. Rastrelli to build the Summer Palace for Empress Catherine I. But near the end of the 18th century Tsarina’s Meadow became a military drilling ground where they erected monuments commemorating the victories of the Russian Army and where parades and military studies took place regularly.
In 1799 the Rumyantsev obelisk was placed in the center of the Field and in 1801 the monument to A. Suvorov was placed in the south section by M. Kozlovsky. A great military leader was represented as Mars (Roman god of war). In 1805 Tsarina’s Meadow was officially renamed Field of Mars. After the suggestion of Carlo Rossi the monument of A. Suvorov was moved to Suvorova Square. After the February Revolution in 1917 the Field of Mars finally lost its significance as a military drilling ground and became a memorial. In summer 1942 the Field of Mars was completely covered with vegetable gardens to supply the besieged Leningrad.
On 23 May 1917 the participants of February Revolution were buried there. 184 of 1382 citizens who were killed during the Revolution were buried in the common grave. In 1917-1919 a monument “To Fighters of Revolution” was erected above the graves. In 1918 the square was renamed to “The Place of the Victims of Revolution” but in 1944 it was renamed back.
On 6 November 1957 in the center of the Field was lit an Eternal Flame. It was the first in Russia. From here the Flame was delivered to Moscow in 1967 and was placed nearKremlin wall on the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. The Flame from the Field of Mars also burns on Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery and on other memorials in Saint-Petersburg.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.