Monument to Minin and Pozharsky

The Monument to Minin and Pozharsky is a bronze statue on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky
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The statue commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who gathered an all-Russian volunteer army and expelled the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from Moscow, thus putting an end to the Time of Troubles in 1612.

Parade on opening of the monument to Minin and Pozharsky. Engraving of the XIX century
pinterest button Parade on opening of the monument to Minin and Pozharsky. Engraving of the XIX century unknown, Public Domain

The monument was conceived by the Free Society of Lovers of Literature, Science, and the Arts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of those events.

Upper Trade rows in 1818s
pinterest button Upper Trade rows in 1818s Uknown lythographist for Daziaro printhouse, Public Domain

Construction was funded by public conscription in Nizhny Novgorod, the city from where Minin and Pozharsky came to save Moscow. Tsar Alexander I, however, decided the monument should be installed on Red Square next to the Moscow Kremlin rather than in Nizhny Novgorod.

  

Patriotic manifestation in Moscow on the Red Square, near the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, in first days of WWI
pinterest button Patriotic manifestation in Moscow on the Red Square, near the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, in first days of WWI А. Савельев, Public Domain

The competition for the best design was won by the celebrated sculptor Ivan Martos in 1808. Martos completed a model, which was approved by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in 1813.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky
pinterest button Monument to Minin and Pozharsky Јакша, Public Domain

Casting work using 1100 lbs of copper was carried out in 1816 in St Petersburg. The base, made of three massive blocks of granite from Finland, was also carved at St Petersburg. Moving the statue and base to Moscow presented logistical challenges and was accomplished in winter by using the frozen waterways. However, in the wake of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the monument could not be unveiled until 1818.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, rear view
pinterest button Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, rear view   shakko, CC BY-SA 3.0

The front of the base carries a bronze plaque depicting a scene of patriotic citizens sacrificing their property for the benefit of the motherland. On the left is an image of the sculptor Martos giving away his two sons (one of whom was killed in 1813)

Originally, the statue stood in the centre of Red Square, with Minin extending his hand towards the Moscow Kremlin. However, after the 1917 Revolution, the Communist authorities found the monument was obstructing parades on the square and discussed its demolition or transfer to some indoor museum. In 1936, the statue was moved closer to the Saint Basil’s Cathedral where it remains to the present day.

Useful Information

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky
Russian: Па́мятник Ми́нину и Пожа́рскому

Admission

free

Opening hours

  • 24/7

Contacts

Moscow, Red Square

Replica in Nizhny Novgorod

On the first celebration of the Day of People's Unity (November 4, 2005) an almost exact copy of this monument by Zurab Tsereteli was erected in Nizhny Novgorod. The copy is only 5 cm shorter than the Moscow original.