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Architecture composition of Round square

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Architecture composition of Round square
Address: Oktyabrskaya street.

One of the most attractive objects of tourist routs around Poltava is the architectural complex of the Round Square. In March, 1802 Poltava became the center of the same province and at this very time there was an idea to build this square. New province status needed a new city center. Former historical center – Red square, – couldn’t locate all necessary administrative institutions of Poltava province, because of space shortage. A very talented Moscow architectural school graduate, whose name was Michael Amvrosimov offered Poltava governor-general A. Kurakin to place office buildings in a circle to the West of the historical city center on a new square, where, according to historical notes, Poltava people met Peter the Great after Poltava battle.

Architecture composition formation lasted during 1805 -1840 thanks to the famous Maecenas - Semen Kochubey. M. Amvrosimov (architect of the square) took as a future structure basis, so-called “model” projects of the famous Petersburg architect – Andrian Zacharov. During specified time there were built such institutions as: Malorossiiskiy post office, 1809 (now – Malaya Academy of Arts, named after R. Kirichenko), Nobility Association building, 1810 (now – cinema, named after I. Kotlyarevskiy), Province offices, 1811 (now – executive committee of Poltava city council), governor-general house, 1811 (trade unions building), civil governor building, 1811 (Organized crime combating Department), vice-governor building, 1811 (residential house), District offices, 1811 (Post Office), Petrovskiy military school, 1840 (former anti-aircraft, rocket high school, named after M. Vatutin). There are only eight buildings in province classicism style of the beginning of ХIХ century.

The main square symbol – Glory monument – had to be opened to Poltava battle centenary, in 1809, but construction works were not finished up to the date. The monument’s inauguration day was on the 27th, June, 1811. This monument was erected thanks to donations given by the emperor Alexander I and his family; the lion's share was given by the local citizens who participated in charitable contribution. Such famous and leading architectures of that time as: G. Toma de Tomon, A. Amvrosimov, F. Shchedrin, I. Martos, G. Ugryumov, F. Gordeev and P. Yakimov also took an active part in this monument’s project. The two-level monument’s pedestal holds the cannon, raised to the sky – cast-iron column of Tuscan order that crowned with the eagle, made of bronze and gilt. The eagle symbolizes victory of Peter I army and it turns to the North-West direction – to Poltava battle field. There is a laurel wreath in its beak – Glory symbol. Bronze high relieves of the granite cube, on which the column stands, are mold in St. Petersburg and the cast-iron column is from Lugansk (city in Ukraine). In the basis of the monument’s first level there are 18 cannons that are built in it. The total monument’s height is 16,61 m, the column’s height – 10,35 m, the eagle’s height – 2,11 m, his wing span is about 3 m.

If you stand near the Glory monument, you can notice that there are eight radial streets that go from the monument towards old Poltava, mainly to the churches. In 40th of ХIХ century of those days Alexander square was planted by exotic trees for the first time. These trees were brought from abroad and they were called Lombardy poplars. In 1842 according to “the main decree” Alexander garden was given to Petrovskiy military school and from that time it has a new name – Korpusniy park (sometimes – Korpusniy garden). In 1880 this park was given to the city. It was the only public park in Poltava of that time without entrance fee and where on weekends one could see brass band playing. During Ukrainian National Republic times (UNR) the park got the name “Mazepa Gui” (Gui in Russian means a small grove), in 20th of ХХ century – it has the name “Oktyabrskiy park”.

Taking into account large value of a great victory in Poltava battle (27th June, 1709), with time Soviet historians started to identify and look for generality between Poltava Round square and Petersburg Dvortsovaya square. The bravest identify Poltava with “small Petersburg” or “Petersburg in miniature”. At the same time these people absolutely ignore the chronology of both squares development. They “forget” different conceptual approach in the central part design plan of both cities, conditioned by landscape factors.

Exceptional peculiarity of Poltava Round square is the project, designed by professor of architecture A. Zacharov, of “perfect” province cities building, that are brought together only in Poltava, representing unique – the only in the CIS countries composite complete architectural complex of province classicism epoch.