From Tverskaya Zastava Square to Kutuzovsky Prospekt: How the Triumphal Arch has been moved around the city

January 2
Social sector

The Moscow Triumphal Gate, or the Triumphal Arch, is a cultural heritage site of regional significance. This is not just a decoration, it is also a symbol of victory in the Patriotic War of 1812. The arch has a rich and difficult history — the Main Archive Directorate presents a story about how one of the most beautiful monuments in the capital was erected, dismantled and restored again.

The first Triumphal Arch that was erected on Tverskaya Zastava Square in 1814 was made of wood. It was built for the return of Russian troops from Paris after their victory over Napoleon's army. The wooden structure was not to survive long and began showing noticeable signs of decay after only 12 years. Therefore, Emperor Nicholas I proposed replacing the arch with a stone one. The design project for the new Triumphal Arch was commissioned to Osip Bove — The Russian Empire’s leading architect at that time. The monument was opened in 1834 and stayed in tact for just over a century — until 1936.

Due to frequent car accidents near the Belorussky Railway Station Square (former name of Tverskaya Zastava Square in 1932-1990), the Presidium of the Moscow City Soviet decided to demolish the Triumphal Arch on 8 July 1936. The government intended to solve the problem with car accidents by opening direct traffic across the square.

Before dismantling the monument, it was measured and photographed in detail, after which the sculptural and architectural parts were disassembled and transported to the Donskoi Monastery for storage. Later, thanks to these efforts, future restorers managed to recreate the historical appearance of the Triumphal Arch.

For the 150th anniversary of victory over Napoleon, it was decided to restore the Triumphal Arch. In addition, the Battle of Borodino panorama museum was opened for this date in 1962.

In 1965, the Council of Ministers issued a resolution On the Restoration of the Triumphal Arch of the Patriotic War of 1812 in Moscow. In the same year, the Executive Committee of the Moscow City Soviet decided to restore the monument, but in a new location. The reconstructed Triumphal Arch was erected on the entrance square of Kutuzovsky Prospekt and, together with the panorama museum, formed a single historical and memorial complex. The construction of the new arch was to be completed by 1 October 1967.

The arch was restored by architects I.P. Ruben, D. N. Kulchinsky and G.F.Vasilyeva under the guidance of architect-restorer V.Ya. Libson. The main façade of the single-span arch faced the entrance to the city and was surrounded by double columns, between which figures of Russian soldiers were placed. On the entablature restorers placed a female figure riding on a chariot drawn by six horses, which was to represent victory.

The restorers opted not to use some of the elements remaining from the 1834 arch, which have been included in the exposition of the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture. The grand opening of the Triumphal Arch took place on 6 November 1968.

The arch underwent another restoration in 2012, when Moscow marked the 200th anniversary of Russia's victory in the Patriotic War of 1812. The adjacent territory was also improved: new flower beds were laid out and the lighting system was upgraded. The monument was reopened for Moscow City Day, at which time the project received awards in seven categories from the Moscow Restoration competition, including for the best project and for the quality of work performed.


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