The monument to Emperor Peter the Great in St. Petersburg has long been one of the main attractions of the city on the Neva. It was opened in August 1782 and became the first monument in the city. Despite the fact that it was made of bronze, the name "The Bronze Horseman" is firmly entrenched behind the monument.
A huge number of traditions, signs, legends are associated with the creation of the French sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falcone. For example, already in 1803, next to the Bronze Horseman on Senate Square, a solemn ceremony was held dedicated to the 100th anniversary of St. Petersburg. Even a 107-year-old soldier who still remembered Emperor Peter the Great was present at the celebration.
In Soviet times, newlyweds developed a tradition to lay flowers at the monument to the founder of the Northern Capital on their wedding day. Many newlyweds pay tribute to Peter in our time.
But one of the main legends about the Bronze Horseman is associated with the Patriotic War of 1812. The threat of an invasion of Napoleonic troops loomed over St. Petersburg. Russian Emperor Alexander the First ordered to send the Bronze Horseman to the Vologda province. Preparatory work has begun to evacuate this huge monument.
A certain major Baturin lived in Petersburg at that time, who began to be haunted by the same obsessive dream. In Baturin's night visions, Peter the Great rode his horse off the pedestal and galloped to the imperial palace on Kamenny Island.
Having met with Alexander the First, Peter threateningly asked: “Young man, what have you brought my Russia to? But while I am in place, nothing threatens my city. " After these words, Peter turned around and went back to Senate Square.
It is not known how, but Alexander the First became aware of Major Baturin's dreams. The impressionable emperor ordered to cancel the evacuation of the monument, leaving it in its usual place. By the way, Napoleon's troops did not enter Petersburg, indeed.
During the Great Patriotic War, the Bronze Horseman also stayed in the city. It was covered with bags of earth and sand, sheathed on top with boards and logs. But the monuments to the great commanders Suvorov, Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly stood open throughout the blockade. Leningraders believed that as long as their monuments were in place, the enemy would not be able to take the city. It is interesting that for all 900 days of the siege of Leningrad, not a single shell or splinter touched these monuments.