Narva Triumphal Arch

Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Narva Triumphal Arch was erected in the vast Narva Square (known as the Stachek Square in Soviet years), in 1814 to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon. The wooden structure was constructed on the Narva highway with the purpose of greeting the soldiers who were returning from abroad after their victory over Napoleon. The architect of the original Narva Arch was Giacomo Quarenghi. The program was meant to respond to theArc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris, originally erected to celebrate Napoleon's victory over the Allies at Austerlitz, but the material used was a weather-resistant plaster that was never intended to be permanent.

Between 1827 and 1834 Vasily Stasov redesigned and rebuilt the gate in stone. A similar gate, also by Stasov, was erected on the road leading to Moscow. A sculptor Vasily Demut-Malinovsky was responsible for the arch's sculptural decor. As has been conventional since Imperial Roman times, sculptures of Fame offering laurel wreaths fill the spandrels of the central arch. The mainentablature breaks boldly forward over paired Composite columns that flank the opening and support colossal sculptures. Nike, the Goddess of Victory surmounts the arch, in a triumphal car drawn by six horses, sculpted by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg, instead of the traditional Quadriga.

Neither the arch nor the Russian Admiralty were protected from artillery bombardments during the Siege of Leningrad. A small military museum was opened in the upper part of the arch in 1989. At the beginning of 21st century the gate was capitally restored and according to experts, is in a fine condition as of August 2009.

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Details

Founded: 1827-1834
Category: Statues in Russia

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michail Savchenko (4 months ago)
Gorgeous!))
黃梓瑜 (5 months ago)
Good
Aleksei Petrov (7 months ago)
It looks like a silent island among the heavy traffic
Globe Trotter (14 months ago)
Historical
Dr Nicholas Exadaktylos (3 years ago)
Impressive structure. The Narva Triumphal Arch was erected in 1814 to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon. The structure was constructed on the Narva highway with the purpose of greeting the soldiers who were returning from abroad after their victory over Napoleon. The material used was wood and a weather-resistant plaster that was never intended to be permanent. Between 1827 and 1834 Vasily Stasov redesigned and rebuilt the gate in stone. After the bombardments during the town's siege in WWII where it suffered a lot, it was restored (works finished in 2009) in its original (stone) condition. A visit is recommended.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.