Admiralty

Glavnoe Admiralteistvo

Established in 1704, the Admiralty was designed as the main Russian shipyard on the Baltic Sea and was reconstructed on several occasions. The drafts of the first Admiralty building were created by Emperor Peter I himself, while the first ship was floated off already in 1706.

The first comprehensive redesign of the Admiralty building took place in 1711, an in 1719 Dutch architect Harmen van Bol'es set a spire with a small sail ship atop of it, which became the symbol of the city. A legend has it that three flags on the ship's masts were made out of pure gold, while the snout was hiding Peter's own azimuth compass. It is supposed that the creator of the small ship was inspired by Russia's first battleship, Oryol frigate.

Between 1723 and 1738 architect Ivan Korobov designed the stone building of the Admiralty with a gilded spire, which was nick-named "the Admiralty needle". A small ship-shaped weather-vane was put on the height of 72 meters, however later it was lost. Today we can see an exact replica of it on the spire.

In the early 19th century the Admiralty saw another reconstruction by architect Adrian Zakharov who left intact only the tower and the spire. The exterior of the building had to be coherent with the nearby Winter Palace and other imposing architectural groups. The 407 meter long façade of the building was decorated by numerous sculptures and bass-reliefs that promote the image of Russia as a sea power. On the gambles of the side porticos you can see depictions of Greek goddess of Justice, Themis, while the central arch features depictions of glory and an allegorical bass-relief Fleet establishment in Russia by Ivan Terebenev.

The shipyard produced sailing ships up until 1844, later on the building housed Navy institutions. Interiors of the Admiralty still preserve the original entrance hall with the grand staircase, congress hall and a library. The metal ball of the Admiralty contains reports on small ship and spire repair works carried out throughout the history of the building. During the Second World War the spire was covered for it not to suffer any damages. Since 2012 the Admiralty has been home to the headquarters of the Russian navy.

Address: Admiralteysky drive, 1 (Admiralteysky proezd, 1)
How to reach: Admiralteyskaya, Nevskiy Prospekt metro stations
Coordinates: 59.937472, 30.308439