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:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.