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.References:
Tyniec Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer probably around 1044. Casimir decided to rebuild the newly established Kingdom of Poland, after a Pagan rebellion and a disastrous Czech raid of Duke Bretislaus I (1039). The Benedictines, invited to Tyniec by the King, were tasked with restoring order as well as cementing the position of the State and the Church. First Tyniec Abbot was Aaron, who became the Bishop of Kraków. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the foundation date as 1040, some historians claim that the abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer’ son, King Boleslaw II the Generous.
In the second half of the 11th century, a complex of Romanesque buildings was completed, consisting of a basilica and the abbey. In the 14th century, it was destroyed in Tatar and Czech raids, and in the 15th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style. Further remodelings took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Baroque, then in Rococo style. The abbey was partly destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland, and soon afterwards was rebuilt, with a new library. Further destruction took place during the Bar Confederation, when Polish rebels turned the abbey into their fortress.
In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.