Mythical creatures

Mythical creatures living in St. Petersburg

Griffins near the water

In the myths of some peoples of the Ancient East, griffins were considered fantastic monsters with the body of a lion, wings and the head of an eagle with sharp claws and, as a rule, snow-white wings. The most famous griffins were set up by the sculptor Sokolov on the Bankovy Bridge in 1826. Animals were made in many ways to close the cast-iron cantilevers to which the chains supporting the bridge were attached. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the griffins of sculptor Gede were also on the embankment near the Academy of Arts, but soon disappeared without a trace. They were restored in the 1950s. They say that if you put your hand in the mouth of one of them and make a wish, it will come true.

Location: Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment, near the Academy of Arts.

Griffins in the wall

But griffins are present not only in urban sculpture, but also in the design of buildings, especially those that are made in the classical style. For example, the figures of griffins are present in the sculptural decoration of house 27 on Kirochnaya Street, built in 1898 by the architect Khrenov, the author of many residential buildings in St. Petersburg at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and preferred eclecticism to modernity. That house is just a good example of eclecticism with elements of Ampire and Classicism. From there, and griffins, which they liked to put and sculpt to the place and not very early in the XIX century.

Location: Kirochnaya Street, 27.

Dragons on pillars "Pale Piano"

The house was named after the famous Paris square in honor of the huge ground floor windows that resembled buildings on the Palais Royal. It was built by architect Ivanov, who created the National Hotel in Moscow. Actually, in the house on Pushkinskaya there was also a hotel, according to the memoirs of the poetess Gippius, “not first-class, but also not so much so shabby. For some reason, the writers loved her and lived there, especially non-family, for months, and even for years ... ”. According to the fashion of that time (1876), Ivanov created eclecticism with a strong eye on classicism. Because there and "settled" dragons, supporting a single bay window. Over the years, the house has not changed much - only it has greatly deteriorated. For example, large lanterns disappeared from the "paws" of the monsters.

Location: Pushkinskaya Street, 20.

Dragon Bridge in Tsarskoye Selo Park

Right in the middle of the  Alexandrovsky Park there is a bridge with four figures of winged dragons mounted on granite pedestals. It was built in 1785 by Charles Cameron in the wake of the then fascination with Chinese culture (for example, the Chinese Theater is located nearby). At first the figures of dragons were made of plaster and were, according to the memoirs of a contemporary, "monstrous." Replaced them with bronze copies only in the middle of the XIX century. They were made at the factory Moran on the model of the sculptor Schwartz.

Location: Alexandrovsky Park, Tsarskoe Selo.

Bats in the building at the crossroads of Sadovaya and Voznesensky

At the beginning of the 20th century, the authorities decided to build the so-called “House of City Institutions” at the intersection of Sadovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospect - something like the current MFC or Document Center, only smaller and simpler. Construction was engaged architect Lishnevsky. It turned out colorful eclecticism with an eye on the Gothic. But the house turned out very roomy. By the beginning of the First World War, the Central Branch and the Office of the City Pawnshop, the Statistical Division of the City Government with the archive and book storehouse, the City Charity Commission, six peace magistrates, and the Hospital Commission were located there. National Education Commission, women's four-year school, two two-grade elementary schools (that is, PTU), Trade Deputation, City presence for military service (that is, military registration and enlistment office), the Capital Water Commission (that is, city water distribution channel), City Printing House, City Museum, and two dozen stores and several service apartments. The building was decorated with owls and sculptures with meaningful names “Freedom” and “Labor”. All of them were lost (only owls were restored), but vampire figures were preserved right under the roof - a kind of medieval echo in the gray Petersburg architecture.

Location: Sadovaya Street, 55-57; Voznesensky Prospect, 40-42.

Demon on Lakhtinskaya street

Lishnevsky, who built a house on Sadovaya, generally loved to decorate his buildings with all sorts of monsters. The most famous - at the top of the wall of the house on Lakhtinskaya street. The building is decorated much simpler than the House of City Institutions — Lishnevsky ponastated monsters literally at every turn. But here one is enough, yes what! A smiling demon looks at the citizens, spreading his wings wide. And so - the usual apartment house beginning of the XX century: whether the "northern modern", or "overripe gothic".

Location: 24, Lakhtinskaya Street.

Chinese lions Shih Tzu on Petrovskaya Embankment

A rare case of imported monument in St. Petersburg. In 1907, the mythical lions - frog were brought from the Amur region. The governor-general of the region Grodekov delivered them to St. Petersburg at his own expense. The lions were presented to him by the administration of the Manchzhur town of Girin, where the sculptures were located at the beginning of the century and were originally intended for the local church. These lions are sometimes referred to as sphinxes, but this is a rather conventional comparison: there were lions with a human face, and here a lion crossed with a frog.

Location: Petrovskaya Embankment, at Peter the First Lodge.

“Metaphysical sphinxes” opposite “Kresty”

Of all the monsters of St. Petersburg with the paws of a lion and the face of man, these created by Mikhail Shemyakin – the most terrible. That part of them, which is turned in the direction of the main St. Petersburg prison, is terribly disfigured in memory of all those who fell victim to the repressions of the 1930s and 1940s. And two parts of one person are like two Russia, who did not know about the existence of each other.

Location: Robespierre Embankment, opposite the Kresty SIZO.

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