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On the south-east edge of the Catherine Park stands a monumental cast-iron gate that was erected to the design of Vasily Stasov in 1817 to mark Russia’s victory in the Patriotic (Russo-Napoleonic) War of 1812. The words inscribed on the gate – “To my Dear Comrades in Arms” – are those of Alexander I.

Of the three suggested versions of the gate, in Pudost stone, granite and cast iron, the last was approved. Stasov wanted to embellish the gate with statues and groups of trophies (arms and armour), but that idea was not implemented. The appearance of this majestic structure consisting of four pairs of iron Doric columns supporting a heavy entablature reflected this Classical architect’s leaning towards the austere, bold, clear and succinct forms.

The 5.7-metre-long columns were cast at the foundry in Petrozavodsk on Lake Ladoga and delivered to St Petersburg by water, and from there by land to Tsarskoye Selo. The entablature and roof of the gate were made at the St Petersburg State Iron Foundry. Altogether the monument weighs 100.6 tonnes. It was assembled and set in place by craftsmen of the St Petersburg foundry; all the work took 92 days and was completed on 17 August 1817.

In 1828 a cast-iron railing decorated with shields, masks and swords and placed on a low granite base was added. The railing was designed by Stasov and the project was implemented by the architect Adam Menelaws. The models for casting the ornamental details were created in wood by the master-carver K. Scheibe.