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The History of the Round Square


The majority of the citizens of Petrozavodsk when asked about the location of the historical center of Petrozavodsk, will answer: "This is at the Lenin Square." And why? Historical center is the place, "whence there was a city", a place where its first buildings where were constructed, where the geographical point with the name Petrozavodsk was born. Peter's metallurgical, gun and weapon factories have given the name to our city, were incorporated on the coast of Lososinka river downstream - at the dam, on which nowadays the Lunacharsky street enters the Kirov Square. The settlement at Peter's factories soon became one of the largest settlements of the Northwest of Russia. But when Peter's factories, having worked with 1703 within thirty years, have stopped their existence, the population of the large village at once was reduced by nearly three times. The former factory settlement for a long time remained only a settlement. And only after construction and start-up of the Alexandrovsky gun factory (on the current the territory of the Onega Tractor Plant) in 1777, by the Decree of Ekaterina II the large village of Petrozavodsk has received the status of the city. The administrative center of the new city became the Round Square, the current Lenin Square.

The history of the Round Square is inextricably related to the name of the builder of the Aleksandrovsky factory, the chief of Olonetsky mining factories of those times, brilliant mountain engineer Anikita Sergeevich Yartsov. He was an educated person close on the sights to Lomonosov, Novikov, Radischev and to other advanced people of the second half of the XVIII century. Plans of Petrozavodsk of 1774 and 1782 developed by A.Yartsov due to construction of the Aleksandrovsky factory almost for one and a half centuries forward have defined the territorial development of Petrozavodsk, its scale and character. Drawing the plan of structures and dams of the factory A.Yartsov has offered the design decision of new quarters of civil building of the city. He has planned the site of the Round Square giving it such form, has connected it with two radial streets with the new factory and with the old city center. The matter is that on the place of the new square by the moment of construction of the Aleksandrovsky factory there was only pine wood on abrupt steep coast of the Lososinka river, while the center of the large village was placed in area of the current Kirov Square. There there were two churches, a school and a technical school, a market place (gostiny dvor), the birch grove planted by Peter I around his former palace, and at the same place A.Yartsov has constructed the "commander's house" for himself, having disassembled the rests of the deserted wooden palace.

The new square - the Round Square - Yartsov has constructed in immediate vicinity from the new factory. (A.Yartsov's plan, 1774) It was not surprising as in the new 8 cases forming a circle the factory office, the commander's house, archives, laboratory, joiner's and modelling, drawing schools, drugstore and everything that was necessary for administrating and operating the factory was located. Actually the Round Square was built not as the city, but as the factory administrative center in parallel with construction of the factory.

It was unprecedented architectural complex for that time, embodying the principles of "the educated management", put by Yartsov in the basis of all activity in Olonetsky territory. Among eight rather small beautiful buildings there was no dominant building of the factory management as it was usual. On each side of the square opened aside Lososinka where the factory was placed, stood three symmetrically located cases. The two central buildings with four-column porticoes had the form of slightly extended rectangulars, and the others determined the direction of streets, flowing in the square. Besides in the junctions of the square with the Petersburg path (nowadays the Engels str. on the piece from the Lenin Square up to the Lenin str.) two trapezoid wings were built. These wings named also cordeguardias (casemate premises at gate and entrances of the fortified points for the station of sentry), unique of all ensemble were kept up to now in the same kind as seen by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin arrived here as the deputy. Derzhavin notices in his notes: "... In Petrozavodsk there are ... six stone one-and-a-half-storeyed houses constructed in the fair architecture in 1775, in which after opening Olonetsky province the vicegeral board, chamber and other offices are placed..." Here it is necessary to pay attention to the expression " one-and-a-half-storeyed houses". Certainly, it was two-storeyed buildings, but in those times the second floors frequently were constructed much less on height than the first that found the reflection on the facades: the lower windows were made "in four glasses", and the top ones - "in two glasses" on height. Now it can be seen only in cordeguardias flanking the exit from the Lenin Square to the Engels str., in other cases the windows of the second floor were hewn in the middle of XIX century.

In the development of buildings of "fair architecture" the young architect Elizvoy Nazarov subsequently building a lot in Moscow, the follower of the great Russian architect of XVIII century V.Bazhenov, the good friend of A.Yartsov was engaged.

From the moment of the announcement of Petrozavodsk as the provincial city in 1784 Aleksandrovsky factory and the Round Square cease being the uniform complex. Eight buildings of the factory administration are transferred for accommodation of provincial offices in them. Certainly, these small cases did not satisfy the new purpose at all - be the central establishments of the huge province. G.R.Derzhavin, being the first civil governor of our land, at once upon his arrival has decided to reconstruct the buildings on the square. The provincial architect Michael Kiselnikov has executed the project of reconstruction, which was carried out in 1787-1789. It is necessary to tell that this reorganization was executed with the great tact and testifies to the significant endowments of the author facing the positions of Russian classicism. Having united angular cases with the central, he has received two big semicircular wings embracing the square. Southwest one has become the residence of the governor and the vice-governor, and in the other the offices and judicial establishments were placed. The trapezoid wings have not undergone the reconstruction. In such shape the ensemble of the square has lived up to now almost without changes, and always it was an administrative center of the city and the territory.

At the end of XVIII century our central square was almost moved to Golikovka (one of the areas of the city)! There is a plan of Petrozavodsk, the first officially authorized and confirmed by Ekaterina II general plan of our city, on which the central institutions of the province are transferred to the right coast of Lososinka. The effective direct highway, continuing the Petersburg path, "shoots" from the Round Square past Aleksandrovsky factory through Lososinka and is finished by the new rectangular square, where in the center the factory church was projected (nowadays it stands there - the Alexandro-Nevsky Cathedral), and on perimeter buildings of offices should be placed. This plan was made at the time of the general-governor T.I.Tutolmin, who wanted to leave the Round Square only for the residence of the governor and the vice-governor, having moving the restless "presence" far away across Lososinka and as it is called now, actively lobbied it in the supreme state circles. But this plan could not be executed in nature as it is that case about which they tell: "It was smooth on the paper, but they have overlooked the ravines". Indeed, Lososinka has lots of ravines! And instead of moving the square everything was limited by reconstruction of existing buildings. The Round Square has settled down among other city buildings too convenient and somehow very central!

In 1830 after graduating from the Moscow architectural school the architect V.V.Tuhtarov comes to Petrozavodsk. During his stay in the rank of the provincial architect by he has done a lot for revival of quite decayed buildings on the Round Square. Works were conducted on strengthening architectural designs, construction of stone sidewalks, the fence, which has connected cordequardias with semicircular cases, lengthening of angular wings, partial re-planning of premises. The interiors executed under projects of Tuhtarov in 1840-s were kept till now: the two-colored hall of nobiliary assemblies, the governor's study, the round drawing room. In the center the square was arranged and acacias planted.

In 1873 due to the 100-th anniversary of Aleksandrovsky factory on the Round Square under the project of sculptor I.N.Shreder monument to Peter I was raised, the square was reconstructed has received the new name of Petrovskaya. With installation of the monument to Peter I the ensemble of the square has received, at last, its completion - you see on the first detailed plans of Yartsov in the center of "compasses" the place for an obelisk was provided.

After the revolution the square was officially began to be referred as to the square of October 25, 1917. Instead of offices and residences of the governor in the ancient buildings the new institutions of the new country were placed - the executive committee of the council of workers, country and Red-Army deputies of the Karelian Labour Commune and its departments, the court and the Revolutionary Tribunal, the branch of the State Bank and the military commissariat. Within the Soviet authority the great works on accomplishment of the square were carried out. In the center of it on demolished bronze Peter's place the grandiose monument to V.I.Lenin cut from granite by one of the leading sculptors of the Soviet Union M.G.Manizer was established on November 7, 1933.

The size of this monument appeared to be too great for the modest two-storeyed ensemble of the square, therefore the Lenin's sculpture looks out-of-scale here.

In 1969 after the reconstruction of the existing communal grave on the square already bearing the name of Lenin the memorial complex "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" was constructed. The authors of the memorial (architects E.Andreev and E.Voskresensky, sculptors E.Akulov and L.Davidian) have created the non-standard composition, using basically only planning techniques. Rich landscape opportunities of the site - its disclosing from abrupt breakage on the flood-lands of Lososinka - have allowed to connect the memorial complex with the natural environment closely. The avenue of old poplars on the square is kept for some isolation of the memorial from transport and foot transit streams. The memorial complex became the integral part of all ensemble of the old square. For realization of this project in nature the collective of authors has been awarded with the State premium of the Karelian ASSR.

From the beginning of 90th years of the past XX century the Round Square has begun to master the new "trade". In 1992 by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the KASSR it was offered to exempt all buildings of the ensemble of the architectural and historical monuments of the XVIII century on the Lenin Square (the former Round Square) from various institutions and offices. After stage-by-stage restoration and reconstruction, which project was developed in "Karelproject", in all four buildings the Karelian state museum of local lore, history and economy should be located. These are constant and time expositions, which general area is up to two thousand square meters, fund depositories equipped in the latest engineering fashion, studies for scientific employees, lecture and cinema halls, archive, library and many other premises necessary for functioning of the modern museum complex.

Accommodation of the museum on the square is quite fair, as in 1873 in one of the halls of the governor's house on the Round Square the natural and industrial historical and ethnographic museum was open. Now it comes back having increased the collections by dozens of times to the place of its birth, in the buildings, which are main historical "exhibit" of Petrozavodsk. The old Round Square that has celebrated the 225-th anniversary last year begins completely new life.

The material is published in the newspaper "Karelia" N71 from June, 30 2001


Created November 16, 2000
Last Updated June 17, 2003
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