The victory of cleanness: the main monument on Poklonnaya Gora washed after winter

March 26
Municipal services

The Victory Monument on Poklonnaya Gora is one of the tallest monuments not only in Russia but in the world too. It is 141.8 meters high: every 10 centimeters of the obelisk symbolize one day of the Great Patriotic War. The monument on Poklonnaya Gora is higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the monument “The Motherland Calls” and the Statue of Liberty.

Every spring municipal utility service specialists wash all engineering structures in the capital, including the monuments. Due to its height and challenging relief the monument on Poklonnaya Gora is one of the most difficult to clean. An article at is about how this complex architectural structure is cleaned after winter.

Dealing with weather

There are no strolling townspeople or tourists on Poklonnaya Gora in the early morning: instead of them, the majestic and austere Victory Monument is surrounded by special equipment, and specialists in orange suits similar to divers’ clothing are preparing for work. The only difference is that they will not be diving, but ascending.

While one team cleans the equestrian statue of St. George slaying the dragon, the second team slowly moves upwards on a lift, where a small anemometer spins — a device for measuring wind speed. Such devices are normally installed on most lifts to ensure safety.

Oleg Mashoshin, deputy head of the State Budgetary Institution”"Gormost” for the operation of engineering structures.

“When washing the main monument, we use two hydraulic elevators with a height of 40 to 70 meters. We engage two manual washing teams of 10 people each and two watering machines. The whole process takes up to 12 hours. Washing the Victory Monument, takes about 20 cubic meters of water and five liters of detergent,” comments Oleg Mashoshin, deputy head of the Gormost State Budgetary Institution for Operation of Engineering Structures.

To avoid damaging monuments, Gormost starts cleaning operations in March when the temperature rises above zero. This prevents the formation of ice that is dangerous for monuments. When planning work, specialists adjust to weather conditions and cooperate with forecasters: The Moscow Hydrometeorological Bureau makes forecasts for 12 hours, 24 hours and for a week to come twice a day.

Special equipment and industrial climbing

As soon as the lift reaches the middle of the monument (70 meters), a person in overalls takes on a job. The obelisk is preliminarily washed with a water jet and then its surface is foamed with white detergent. From afar, it might look like the monument covered with snow.

Several years ago, a special agent for cleaning monuments with a neutral ratio of acids and alkalis was developed by request of the Gormost State Budgetary Institution. It is completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly. At the same time, the agent gently affects the material of the monument preserving its original appearance.

“We have polished granite and bronze here,so it is undesirable to use any other agents, because we can damage the natural color of the monument. If the patina is washed off, the metal will not have the desired appearance and the architect's idea will be ruined. Accordingly, polished granite will look different if stronger chemicals with high acidity is used. We could burn the polish, and the material will deteriorate,” emphasizes Oleg Mashoshin.

By the way, the elevation of 70 meters where the worker stops, was not chosen by chance. Experts note that this is the maximum height of the object's contamination. Exhaust gases, dust and dirt that settle on the monument usually do not rise above this elevation. Strong winds prevent pollution up there.

Nevertheless, the upper part of the Victory Monument can also be cleaned, if required. Its state is monitored 24/7 by a special team at the facility. If the obelisk needs cleaning, industrial climbers take over the work. They go up using an elevator inside the monument, and get outside through special observation windows.

Clean Moscow

Gormost's specialists will pay attention to the rest of Moscow's facilities as well. Not only the Victory Monument will be washed — there are more than two thousand engineering structures on the list.

“We wash engineering structures and bridges, underground and glazed pedestrian crossings, quays, embankments, monuments and monumental art objects. Over 250 specialized washing vehicles and more than two thousand specialists and workers are involved in the work,” said Oleg Mashoshin.

All facilities are treated with brushes and special solutions after winter. Engineering structures are washed with alkaline detergent of low acidity, and monuments and monumental art objects — with neutral one.

Gormost also cleans concrete and metal surfaces before spring: removes old and peeling paint and cleans away corrosion and dirt. After cleaning all structures will be re-painted.

The work is carried out 24/7 and is expected to be completed by the end of April.


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