National Monument Thousand Years of Russia

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The monument

The National Monument Thousand Years of Russia ( Russian Тысячелетие России ) is a monument in front of the St. Sophia Cathedral in the Novgorod Kremlin , which was inaugurated in 1862. It marked the millennial anniversary of the beginning of Rurik's rule in Novgorod , which is commonly considered to be the beginning of Russian history and statehood.


The author of the project was Mikhail Osipovich Mikeschin , who is also famous for the monument to Catherine the Great in Saint Petersburg (1873) and Bohdan Khmelnytskyi in Kiev (1888). 40 sculptors and architects initially took part with their projects in an invitation to tender issued in 1859. The choice fell on the 24-year-old and at that time little-known draftsman Michail Mikeschin, who had just completed his studies at the art academy a year earlier . His submitted project consisted of a large number of partial drawings of the individual fragments of the future monument.

Inspired by the unexpected award and the responsible commission, Mikeschin showed remarkable organizational skills and drew many other well-known sculptors of his time, including Wiktor Hartmann , Schreder , Tschischow , Saleman , Opekuschin , Lyubimow and Michailow . For the creation of the monument, government circles and Tsar Alexander II demanded a proper presentation of both the history of Russia and the role of the ruling house of Romanov . In addition, the project reflects the contemporary transition from classicism to realism . While the upper part with the angel and the allegorical personification of Russia still follows the classical style, the lower part is characterized by realistically depicted people.


The Festivities 1862, a painting by Bogdan Willewalde

The monument was opened on September 8, 1862. The preparations for the celebrations had been going on since spring. Novgorod, which until then had been a quiet provincial town, experienced a noticeable revival: thousands of workers appeared everywhere to restore houses and repair the streets and squares. The Novgorod Kremlin was also renewed and restored. An important motivation was the expected visit of Tsar Alexander II to the opening of the monument.

About a week before the celebrations, military units moved into Novgorod to ensure the security of the royal family and to take part in the parade on the opening day. They consisted of the infantry, cavalry and artillery regiments of the guards. About 6,000 soldiers came from Saint Petersburg alone, a total of about 10,000. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich was appointed as the chief commanding officer . The large number of military personnel was due, among other things, to rumors of a planned assassination attempt on the Tsar. In 1881, Alexander II actually fell victim to an assassination attempt.

The millennium monument in the late 19th century

The festivities began with five artillery volleys from 62 cannons. The invited guests sat on specially constructed stands. The tsar was presented with an artistic album depicting the history of Novgorod. After a cross procession and a liturgy in the St. Sophia Cathedral, a military parade was held in Kremlin Square and the monument was solemnly unveiled. Towards evening the city, which was decorated with flags, was festively illuminated and there were fireworks. There was a street festival for the people with music and entertainment. The festivities lasted a total of three days.


After the October Revolution , in 1925, an order came from Moscow to demolish the “Monument to Orthodoxy and Tsarism”. However, the local authorities decided to "hide" the monument. A construction made of wooden boards was erected around it, on which various revolutionary posters and banners hung. It also served occasionally as a speaking platform at local gatherings. So the monument survived until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War .

On August 15, 1941, Novgorod was occupied by the German Wehrmacht . General von Herzog from the staff of the army that was besieging Leningrad ordered the monument to be dismantled and the individual parts shipped to Germany. In December 1943, the Germans began to saw the monument, but Novgorod was liberated by the Red Army on January 20, 1944 . At this point the monument was a sad sight. The pedestal was absolutely empty except for the lower remains of the orb, the large damaged figures on the middle level were scattered in the snow across the Kremlin Square. The three meter high cross lay bent on the ground. Many details such as swords, sceptres or shields had disappeared without a trace.

Immediately after the city was liberated, it was decided to rebuild the monument quickly. An important role was played by the fact that patriotic and historical models were used in a targeted manner in the course of the war in order to increase the fighting morale of the troops, so that the relationship to the monument changed significantly compared to the pre-war period. The Leningrad Architecture Committee was commissioned with the reconstruction. In the course of the restoration, 1500 missing details had to be remade. The memorial was ready on November 2, 1944 when its second grand opening took place.


The monument is characterized by a multitude of interlinked symbolisms. It is built up like a gigantic orb , which is on a bell-like pedestal . From its outlines ago the monument combines the Cap of Monomakh , the symbol of the autocratic tsar power, with the Novgorod veche bell, the symbol of democratic self-government, an expression of since 1861 onset of liberal reforms. From top to bottom, the monument is divided into three segments or levels, which reflect the national motto widespread in the Russian Empire : Orthodoxy, autocracy, folkism ( Православие, самодержавие, народность ).

On the imperial orb or the upper level are the figures of an angel holding a Christian cross and a kneeling woman who embodies Russia (the country name Rossija is female) and is blessed by the angel. Around the orb, six thematic groups of sculptures with a total of 17 larger figures are set up on the middle level, representing six important stages in Russian history. The imperial orb, which symbolizes the power of the tsar, is covered with an ornament made of crosses, which means the unity of the church and autocracy . In addition, it is adorned with an old Slavic stylized lettering “To the completed millennium of the Russian state in 1862”. In the lower level of the monument there is a frieze in which the reliefs of 109 historical figures of Russia can be found. They represent the Russian society that sustains the tsar's autocratic power. The monument contains a total of 128 human figures.

The total height of the monument is 15.7 m, of which the pedestal is about 6 m, that of the imperial apple 6.7 m and that of the cross 3 m. The diameter of the monument is 9 m, the Reichsapfel 4 m and the entire circumference is 27 m. The weight of the metal is 100 tons, while the entire monument weighs around 10,000 tons.

Middle level figures

image Surname Name in Russian Historic year description
1000 Rurik.JPG The Vocation of the Varangians in the Rus Призвание варягов на Русь 862 The figure shows the first Prince Rurik with a helmet and a pointed shield on which the words "in the year 6370" are written. The background is the counting method used in Russia up to 1700 from the biblical creation of the world. Rurik carries an animal skin on his shoulders, behind him the pagan Slavic god Veles can be seen. The figure looks towards Kiev , to the southwest.
1000 Vladimir up.jpg The Christianization of the Rus Крещение Руси 988 In the center is the Kiev Grand Duke Vladimir the Holy , who lifts a Christian Orthodox cross. Next to him is a woman holding her child up to him for baptism and a Slav overthrowing the pagan god Perun . The composition faces southeast.
Dmitry Donskoi (Millennium Monument in Novgorod) .jpg Beginning of the expulsion of the Tatars Начало изгнания татар 1380 Dmitri Donskoy , the victor in the Battle of Kulikowo , holds a Russian hexagonal mace in his right hand. At his feet lies Mamai , the emir of the Golden Horde . In his left hand, Dmitri Donskoy holds a captured Buntschuk , the Tatar symbol of power. The composition is on the east side.
1000 Ivan III 2.jpg Establishment of the independent Russian tsarism Основание самодержавного царства Русского 1491 Ivan the Great is depicted in the Byzantine tsarist robe and with Monomakh's cap . In his hands he holds a scepter and an orb. A Tatar kneels in front of him, next to him lie the defeated Lithuanian, who represents the Grand Duchy of Lithuania , and a German-Baltic knight with a broken sword, who stands for the Teutonic Order . The group faces northeast.
1000 Mikhail F Romanov.jpg Accession of the Romanov dynasty Начало династии Романовых 1613 The young Tsar Michael Romanov ascends the Russian throne after overcoming the time of turmoil . Prince Dmitri Poscharski , representing the nobility, protects him with his sword, while Kusma Minin , who stands for the people, hands him the monomach's cap and the scepter. In the background is the figure of a Siberian, the symbol of the coming development of Siberia .
Millennium of Russia 2.6.jpg Emergence of the Russian Empire Образование Российской империи 1721 Peter the Great in the wreath is shown by an angel the way to the northwest, to the place of the future city of Saint Petersburg . At the feet of Peter lies the defeated Swede who defends his torn flag (symbolic of the Russian victory in the Great Northern War ).

Figures of the lower level

Enlightenment :
( Просветители )
1000 Prosvetiteli.jpg
Statesmen :
( Государственные люди )
1000 gos cheloveki.jpg
Military people :
( Военные люди )
1000 Voina cheloveki.jpg
Writer and artist :
( Писатели и художники )
1000 type cheloveki.jpg
1000 Kirill i Mefody.jpg Cyril and Method , missionaries of the Slavs Yaroslav the Wise , Grand Duke of Kiev 1000 Sviatoslav.jpg Svyatoslav , Grand Duke of Kiev 1000 Lomonosov.jpg Mikhail Lomonosov , polymath
1000 Olga.jpg Olga , Grand Duchess of Kiev 1000 Monomah.jpg Vladimir Monomakh , Grand Duke of Kiev 1000 Udaloi.jpg Mstislav , Prince of Novgorod and Galicia 1000 Fonvizin.jpg Denis Fonwisin , writer
1000 Vladimir Sviat.jpg Vladimir the Holy , Grand Duke of Kiev 1000 Algirdas.jpg Gediminas , Grand Duke of Lithuania 1000 Galitsky.jpg Daniel , Prince of Galicia 1000 Kokorinov.jpg Alexander Kokorinov , architect
1000 Avraam.jpg Abraham of Rostov , Bishop of Rostov 1000 Gediminas.jpg Algirdas , Grand Duke of Lithuania 1000 Dovmont.jpg Daumantas , Prince of Pskov 1000 Derjavin.jpg Gawriil Derschawin , poet and statesman
1000 Antony Pechersky.jpg Anthony of Kiev , founder of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra 1000 Vitovt.jpg Vytautas , Grand Duke of Lithuania 1000 Aldr Nevsky.jpg Alexander Nevsky , Grand Duke of Vladimir 1000 Volkov.jpg Fyodor Volkov , actor
1000 Feodosy Pechersky.jpg Theodosius of Kiev , monk of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra 1000 Ivan III.jpg Ivan the Great , Grand Duke of Moscow 1000 Mihail Yarosl.jpg Mikhail Yaroslavich , Prince of Tver 1000 Karamzin.jpg Nikolai Karamsin , writer and historian
1000 Kuksha.jpg Kuksha of Pechersk , monk of the Kiev- Pechersk Lavra 1000 Silvestr.jpg New Year's Eve , clergyman and statesman 1000 Donskoi na frize.jpg Dmitri Donskoy , Grand Duke of Moscow И.  А.  Крылов на Памятнике "1000-летие России" в Великом Новгороде.jpg Ivan Krylov , fable poet
1000 Nestor.jpg Nestor of Kiev , chronicler of Russian history 1000 Anastsia Romanovna.jpg Anastasia Romanovna , first wife of Ivan IV. 1000 Keistut.jpg Kęstutis , Grand Duke of Lithuania 1000 Jukovsky.jpg Vasily Zhukovsky , poet and translator
1000 Kirill Belozersky.jpg Kirill von Beloosero , founder of the Kirillo Belozersky Monastery 1000 Adashev.jpg Alexei Adaschew , statesman and general 1000 Holmsky.jpg Daniil Cholmski , general 1000 Gnedich.jpg Nikolai Gneditsch , poet and translator
1000 Stefan Permsky.jpg Stefan of Perm , bishop and missionary of Greater Perm 1000 Germogen.jpg Hermogenus , Patriarch of Moscow 1000 Vorotynsky.jpg Mikhail Worotynski , general 1000 Griboedov.jpg Alexander Griboyedov , writer and diplomat
1000 Aleksy.jpg Alexius of Moscow , Metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow 1000 Mikhail Romanov.jpg Michael Romanov , founder of the Romanov dynasty 1000 Shenya.jpg Daniel Shchenya , general 1000 Lermontov.jpg Mikhail Lermontov , poet
1000 Sergy Rad.jpg Sergius von Radonezh , founder of the Trinity Monastery 1000 Filaret.jpg Philaret , Patriarch of Moscow 1000 Marfa.jpg Marfa Borezkaja , Novgorod governor 1000 Pushkin.jpg Alexander Pushkin , poet
1000 Piotr Mogila.jpg Petro Mohyla , Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia 1000 Ordin.jpg Afanassi Ordin-Naschtschokin , diplomat 1000 Ermak.jpg Yermak Timofejewitsch , Cossack ataman 1000 Gogol.jpg Nikolai Gogol , writer
1000 Zosima.jpg Sossima von Solowki , founder of the Solovetsky Monastery 1000 Matveev.jpg Artamon Matveyev , statesman and diplomat 1000 Skopin.jpg Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky , Prince 1000 Glinka.jpg Michail Glinka , composer
1000 Maksim Grek.jpg Maxim the Greek , ecclesiastical enlightener and writer 1000 Alex Mikh.jpg Alexei I , Tsar 1000 Pojarsky 2.jpg Dmitri Poscharsky , Prince 1000 Brullov.jpg Karl Brjullow , painter
1000 Savvaty.jpg Sawwati von Solowki , founder of the Solovetsky Monastery 1000 Petr I.jpg Peter the Great , Tsar and first emperor 1000 Minin.jpg Kuzma Minin , organizer of the People's Army 1000 Bortniansky.jpg Dmitri Bortnjanski , composer
1000 Iona.jpg Jonas of Moscow , Metropolitan of Moscow 1000 Dolgorukov.jpg Jakow Dolgorukow , statesman and general 1000 Palitsyn.jpg Awraami Palitsyn , monk and writer
1000 Makary.jpg Makarius of Moscow , Metropolitan of Moscow 1000 Betskoi.jpg Ivan Bezkoi , statesman and reformer 1000 Bogdan.jpg Bohdan Khmelnyzkyj , Hetman of the Cossacks
1000 Varsonofy.jpg Warsonofius of Tver , Archbishop of Tver 1000 Ekaterina II.jpg Catherine the Great , Empress 1000 Susanin.jpg Ivan Sussanin , folk hero
1000 Gury.jpg Gurius of Kazan , Archbishop of Kazan 1000 Bezborodko.jpg Alexander Besborodko , statesman and diplomat 1000 Sheremetiev.jpg Boris Sheremetev , general and diplomat
1000 Ostrojsky.jpg Konstantin Wassili Ostroschski , Prince and Voivode of Kiev 1000 Potiomkin.jpg Grigory Potjomkin , statesman and diplomat 1000 Golitsyn.jpg Mikhail Golitsyn , General Field Marshal
1000 Nikon.jpg Nikon , Patriarch of Moscow 1000 Kochubei.jpg Viktor Kochubei , statesman and diplomat 1000 Saltykov.jpg Pyotr Saltykov , General Field Marshal
1000 Rtishev.jpg Fyodor Rtishchev , founder of the charity in Russia 1000 Alexandr 1.jpg Alexander I , emperor 1000 Minih.jpg Burkhard von Münnich , General Field Marshal
1000 Rostovsky.jpg Dimitri von Rostow , church politician and writer 1000 Speransky.jpg Mikhail Speransky , statesman 1000 Orlov-Chesmensky.jpg Alexei Orlov , general
1000 Tihon Zadonsky.jpg Tikhon of Sadonsk , Archbishop of Ladoga and Voronezh 1000 Vorontsov.jpg Mikhail Vorontsov , General Field Marshal 1000 Rumiantsev-Zadunaisky.jpg Pyotr Rumyantsev-Sadunaiski , Field Marshal
1000 Mitrofan.jpg Mitrofan of Voronezh , Archbishop of Voronezh 1000 Nikolai 1.jpg Nicholas I , emperor 1000 Suvorov.jpg Alexander Suvorov , Generalissimo
1000 Konissky.jpg Georg Konisski , Archbishop of Belarus 1000 Barklai.jpg Michael Barclay de Tolly , Field Marshal General
1000 Feofan Prokopovich.jpg Theophan Prokopovich , Archbishop of Novgorod; Scholar 1000 Kutuzov.jpg Mikhail Kutuzov , General Field Marshal
1000 Plato.jpg Platon Levschin , Metropolitan of Moscow 1000 Senyavin.jpg Dmitri Senjawin , admiral and fleet leader
1000 Innokenty.jpg Innocent , Archbishop of Chersonese and Tauria 1000 Platov.jpg Matwei Platow , General
1000 Bagration.jpg Pyotr Bagration , General
1000 Dibich.jpg Karl Diebitsch-Sabalkanski , General Field Marshal
1000 Paskevich.jpg Ivan Paskevich , General Field Marshal
1000 Lazarev.jpg Mikhail Lazarev , admiral and fleet leader
1000 Kornilov.jpg Vladimir Kornilov , Vice-Admiral
1000 Nahimov.jpg Pavel Nakhimov , admiral and naval leader


The millennium monument on the 5-ruble note of the Russian Federation

The figures on the monument had to be personally accredited by Tsar Alexander II during the planning phase. An image of Ivan IV the Terrible is completely missing on the monument . This was done out of consideration for the citizens of Novgorod, as the city had suffered under his rule due to a massacre of the population in 1570. There were strong concerns about the admission of Nicholas I, whose reactionary policies stood in opposition to the liberal policies of Alexander II and led Russia to the defeat of the Crimean War . Ultimately, however, he was included in the list of characters with a view to still numerous circles close to him. Proper ideologically motivated disputes broke out around many of the characters, which particularly affected freethinking and critical authors such as Lermontov, Zhukovsky, Griboyedov and others. Mikeschin only managed to convince the Tsar of the need to take in Nikolai Gogol with difficulty. Antioch Kantemir , on the other hand, fell victim to censorship. Even Taras Shevchenko , who died during the construction phase and came as a supplement in question had to be omitted. Fleet leader Fyodor Ushakov is also missing from the other outstanding personalities .

Web links

Commons : Millennium of Russia  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • Смирнов В. Г. Россия в бронзе. Памятник Тысячелетию России и его герои, изд-во "Русская провинция", 1992.

Coordinates: 58 ° 31 ′ 16.1 ″  N , 31 ° 16 ′ 30.9 ″  E