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.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.