Millennium of Russia

Veliky Novgorod, Russia

The Millennium of Russia is a famous bronze monument in the Novgorod Kremlin. It was erected in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of Russian history.

A competition to design the monument was held in 1859. An architect Viktor Hartmann and an artist Mikhail Mikeshin were declared the winners. Mikeshin's design called for a grandiose, 15-metre-high bell crowned by a cross symbolizing the tsar's power. The bell was to be encircled with several tiers of sculptures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists active during various periods of Russian history.

Mikeshin himself was no sculptor, therefore the 129 individual statues for the monument were made by the leading Russian sculptors of the day, including his friend Ivan Schroeder and the celebrated Alexander Opekushin. Rather unexpectedly for such an official project, the tsars and commanders were represented side by side with sixteen eminent personalities of Russian culture: Lomonosov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Karl Brullov, Mikhail Glinka, etc. As for the Russian rulers, Ivan the Terrible is famously absent from the monument due to his role in the 1570 pillage and massacre of Novgorod by the Oprichnina. Alongside with the Muscovite princes, the medieval Lithuanian dynasts as Gediminas or Vytautas the Greatwho reigned over the Eastern Slavs of the present-day Belarus and Ukraine are represented.

The most expensive Russian monument up to that time, it was erected at a cost of 400,000 roubles, mostly raised by public subscription. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the huge sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod, each weighing in excess of 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons.

During World War II, the Nazis dismantled the monument, and prepared it to be transported to Germany. However, the Red Army regained control of Novgorod and the monument was restored to public view in 1944.

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Founded: 1862
Category: Statues in Russia

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4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

C C (9 months ago)
a bronze monument sculptures hundreds of iconic Russian people.
Ivan Alekseichuk (2 years ago)
How come this is called Millennium of Russia, if such country was established by Peter I in 1721?
Merlene Botha (3 years ago)
An historic masterpiece in a beautiful town of Novgorod
B S (3 years ago)
Beautiful place, the main park works till 11 or 12 but not 24 hours as its mantioned in web sites... Beautiful ???
Oleg Zaboronski (3 years ago)
A thousand years of Russian history beautifully encoded in sculpture. Download an audio guide if you can
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