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Rostral columns renovated in 4,5 months


One of St. Petersburg’s symbols – Rostral Columns – will enter the high tourist season in a renovated state. Restoration workers have completed works on their foundations and revamped inner spaces. It took them 4,5 months.


Such haste was necessary – the base of the city’s symbol was on the brink of crumbling. Alexandra Lee found out which technologies were used to save the column and how many steps one must climb to light the cauldron at the top.

Alexey Kharitonov, deputy director on science and restoration technology: “We put in a maximum effort to make the rock and granite look natural, and, among other things, we used a stronger coating. There are several layers of water-proof materials here. I won’t look into centuries ahead, but im sure this coating will last for decades”

The foundation of the Rostral Columns was the first to be renovated. These usually are the first to make it into tourist camera shots, and that’s where the entire construction’s hydro isolation rests. But since not long ago – due to aging and repeated stomps of heels on them – they lost integrity and have been failing to do their job. SO bad that the brick insides have started to rot. 

Brick by brick, 14 men were restoring it – clearing it from surrogate asbestos coating, which was put by money-strained restoration workers of the 1990s. 50 specialists worked alongside project designers and spray operators. They began the work in November and finished it by March. Such haste was necessary: it would not have taken long for the foundations of the city’s symbol to start crumbling. 

Alexey Kharitonov, deputy director on science and restoration technology: “First of all, this is a relatively difficult work to restore the brick layers. Quite a big volume of work and the condition was severe. The most pressing matter was to establish dry climate inside the columns to stop corrosion and prevent it from happening in the future”

Alexandra Lee, reporter: “The southern column has 127 steps – both have a total number of 256. Some of those were lost. But now they have been restored – and one can see them with a naked eye”

A lone gas man will have to count all these steps before ascending to the top and light the cauldron. So that the city at the Neva could see the “greatness of Peter’s creation”