Memory of victories: Main Archive Directorate tells the story of the Triumphal Arch on Tverskaya Zastava

August 13

The wooden Triumphal Arch was built near Tverskaya Zastava in mid-1814 to welcome Russian troops returning from Western Europe. It was decided to install a stone monument in 1826, 12 years later, after the wooden structure fell into disrepair.

Architect Joseph Bove, who was actively involved in restoring residential buildings in Moscow following the Great Fire of 1812, designed the stone arch and compiled its cost estimates. His other famous projects include the 1st City Hospital, Bolshoi Theatre and many other buildings.

The discussions on building the Triumphal Arch began in 1827. Moscow Governor-General Dmitry Golitsyn, the Ministry of Finance, the Commission for Moscow’s Buildings and the Imperial Court Ministry exchanged letters about the construction project. Their correspondence is stored at the Moscow Archive.

On 20 April 1829, Emperor Nicholas I approved the proposal of Governor-General Dmitry Golitsyn to establish a committee headed by the Moscow Commandant for building the Triumphal Arch near Moscow’s Tverskaya Zastava. Architect Joseph Bove also joined the committee.

The arch was mostly ready by early 1834. On 5 March 1834, the Emperor approved the Governor-General Dmitry Golitsyn’s suggestion to improve the territory between the Tver Road and Petrovsky Palace Park by building pedestrian alleys on both sides of the road.

The Moscow Triumphal Arch on New Triumphal Arch Square, called Belorussky Railway Station Square since 1932. Author unknown. The early 1930s. Courtesy of the Moscow Main Archive Directorate

The Triumphal Arch was unveiled in a formal ceremony on 11 October 1834. Taking part in the ceremony were units of the Moscow Garrison and officers of the Moscow Police Department. Some of them were veterans with medals commemorating the War of 1812 and the capture of Paris: six generals, 34 headquarters officers, 65 senior officers, 301 warrant officers and 846 privates. Four regimental priests and a choir performed a divine service. After that, artillery systems deployed on the motorway fired 101 rounds of ammunition, and a parade also took place. On Golitsyn’s orders, the participants in the ceremony were paid handsomely for attending. Each warrant officer received three roubles, and each private received two roubles from the assets left after the payment of all cholera treatment expenses in Moscow.

The Triumphal Arch decorated Tverskaya Zastava for 102 years. The square was rebuilt in 1936, and the Arch was dismantled. In 1966, the Arch was relocated to Kutuzovsky Prospekt by decision of the Moscow Soviet of People’s Deputies.


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