Tiles, open arcade and Russian fleet: Bridge Tower on Izmaylovo Island has been restored

May 2

Massive restoration of external decoration and facades of the Bridge Tower of the Tsars estate on Izmaylovo Island has come to an end. An outstanding example of Moscow architecture of the last third of the 17th century is located at: 1/4 Bauman Township. The restoration lasted for two years during which time the experts fully restored the original appearance of the building. All work performed was controlled by the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage.

Bridge Tower is a cultural heritage site of federal significance. The construction of the bridge and the tower was first mentioned in the documents of the Prikaz Tainykh Del (Bureau of Secret Affairs) for 1673. The construction was accompanied by the erection of Pokrovsky Cathedral and lasted till 1679. A three-tier brick structure was built be several architects, including M. Ivanov, I. Kuznechik, T. Makarov, K. Mymrin, A. Fomin and Ya. Yanov.

“The restoration of external decoration and facades of the Bridge Tower of Izmaylovo Estate has been completed. The final stage was a copper eagle serving as a weathercock mounted and installed at the height of 32 meters. The eagle is constructed the way that the bird itself turns with the wind, while the crown and cross which crown it remain motionless. Its recreation took about a year. It was recreated using undamaged fragments of the eagle which earlier crowned Sukharev Tower constructed in the same period the Bridge Tower was, engravings, historical notes and photos. 60 grams of gold were used to gild it”, Aleksey Emelyanov, Head of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage said.

The restorers recreated doors and gates, windows, window grating, restored white-stone basement, porches and canopies above them, stairs and all decorative elements as well as the floor of the open arcade, this is how the gallery which surrounds the building is called. The said gallery is one of the typical elements of the Russian architecture.

The most challenging was preservation and recreation of lost multicolored tiles which symbolize a heavenly garden. The work was time-consuming and meticulous. The Bridge Tower has 384 tiles (288 of them are located on top of the first tier, 96 — between the second and the third tiers). It was found during the restoration that the tiles of the first tier were recreated and installed by Konstantin Ton in 1840-1850 as well as during later restorations in 1950-1980. It was also found that the tiles located between the second and the third tiers are original tiles of the 17th century. They were restored in situ.

Besides, the experts fixed up the blockwork of the tower facades, recreated the historical puddling of the facade (which was omitted during Soviet-era restorations).

Izmaylovo Island is a former Tsars estate, the Romanov’s ancestral territory. The tower once was a part of the stone bridge across Serebryany (Izmaylovo) Pond which served as a driveway to the estate from Vladimir Road (present-day Entuziastov Highway). The bridge fell into decay with time and was demolished in 1767. Nowadays, the island is part of Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve (Izmaylovo territory).

The Bridge Tower was the first meeting place of the Boyar Duma. There is another remarkable historical fact. It is here, in Izmaylovo, in the Bridge Tower, on the banks of Serebryanka River and Serebryano-Vinogradny Pond, that the decision on creation of the Russian fleet was made.

The Bridge Tower is made of red brick and its facades are decorated with white fixtures. Each tier has its own design. For example, the corners and gate arches of the first tier have triple semi-columns with flat capitals. Parapet walls of the open arcade and the third tier are decorated with a frieze (ornamented band) with colored tiles. The tiles show birds of paradise among trees, fruits and flowers. Eight windows of the second tier have prominent decorative features: their side linings represent carved semi-columns made of cut bricks while upper linings are made as white-stone corbel arches. Window arches are decorated with dangling drop ornaments.

Source: mos.ru

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