Narva Triumphal Arch in St. Petersburg, Russia
Narva Gate

Today we’ve explored one of the most impressive monuments of St. Petersburg – Narva Triumphal Arch. My daughter and I signed up for a special tour for kids. For both of us it’s been the first time inside. Yes, quite correct: the first time INSIDE the arch. We literally went in one of the  supports (there’s a tiny door that can hardly be seen from a distance), then up the narrow winding staircase and into a quite spacious room inside the attic.

The exhibition in the Narva Triumphal Arch is dedicated to the history of the monument’s construction, so basically it’s a museum about this monument. Interesting pictures and engravings tell the viewer about where, when and how the Triumphal gate was created, what talented architects and sculptors participated in the construction, and, of course, what was the reason for such a grand monument.

The kids enjoyed their interactive lesson a lot. Dedicated to military symbols of the past and period uniforms of various regiments, the lesson though was interesting for girls too. They watched a short video, learnt how to tell one regiment from the other, drew and coloured. Those boys who stayed a little longer were lucky to be allowed to try on some ring-mails and helmets – reproduced for medieval originals.

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Interactive tour for kids
Interactive tour for kids

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The name “Narva” dates back to the early days of our city’s development: in the 18thcentury this was the site of a city gate. It was called Narva Gate due to the road, leading to the Estonian city of Narva. Later the whole district that took shape around the gate in the 19thcentury, came to be called the Narva District.

The first wooden Triumphal Arch was put up by Giacomo Quarenghi in 1814 to honour the Guards’ regiments’ return from France after Napoleonic War. Quarenghi used as a model triumphal monuments of ancient Rome. When the wooden arche became dilapidated, it was decided to replace it with a stronger structure.

The composition of the New Triumphal Gate designed by Stasov was somewhat similar, although the new gate was built in brick and faced with copper sheeting. The arch is 23 metres high and the opening of the arche is over 8 metres wide. Two pylons of the arch are decorated with high colonnades with figures of warriors between the columns. The massive attic serves as the base for the sculptural group “The Chariot of Glory” pulled by six galloping horses. The sculptures were created by  Russian sculptors Pimenov, Demuth-Malinovsky, Klodt, Tokarev and Krylov. The names of the Guards’ regiments that participated in the war against Napoleon’s army, and the places of decisive battles are engraved in gold on Narva Triumphal Gate.

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The first display in the attic room opened in 1987, it was dedicated to the War of 1812-1814.

Narva Triumphal Gate

Narva Gate: Visitor Information

As a rule, visitors to St. Petersburg are limited to 2 or 3 days here and there are much more popular landmarks and museums to visit. But I bet a short off-the-beaten-track deviation from a conventional route will be interesting.

Opening Hours

The Museum of Narva Triumphal Arch is is open Wednesday – Sunday. On Thursday – Sunday it’s available to visit from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m. On Wednesday it’s open from 2 p.m. till 7:30 p.m. The ticket office closes 30 minutes earlier.

Tickets and Tours

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Anna Artyushina

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