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St. Petersburg.)

FOUNDATION OF THE CITY.

227

other part of the empire was forbidden whilst the new capital was in progress. To assist in keeping up the supply of building materials, no vessel, large or small, was permitted to sail

up the Neva, and no peasant's cart to enter the city, without bringing a specified quantity of building stones. After Peter's death, Catherine I. continued the work, though less vigorously. Peter II. preferred Moscow, and resided there till his death. The Empress Ann did much to adorn St. Petersburg, which henceforth became the settled residence of the Court. Various edifices and monuments have been since erected by successive monarchs. The Empress Catherine lined the left bank of the Neva with a granite quay, which has not, however, prevented several serious inundations since that time. As the result of so much imperial energy, and so much toil and suffering on the part of the wretched labourers, a vast and beautiful city has replaced the dreary marshes amidst which Peter dwelt and planned his future capital. But its maintenance, like its foundation, is a constant struggle with nature. It rests upon a substructure of piles, without which it would sink deep into the marshes below. All large buildings, the granite quays, the very foot-pavements, rest on piles. The district produces nothing except fish from the Neva, and for six months in the year the harbour is inaccessible. The winter is so severe that it is only by the assiduous labour of a host of workmen that the city can be annually restored, in readiness for summer visitors. Half a century of neglect would insure for St. Petersburg its complete destruction.

But the city is also liable to sudden dangers, that may at any time overthrow it. When westerly winds roll back the waters of the Gulf of Finland, the lower parts of St. Petersburg are submerged. Then alarm-guns are fired with increasing frequency

the water rises—and the dwellers in the low districts are rescued in boats, and carried elsewhere till their dwellings can be again approached. In spring, when for a fortnight the Neva is flooded with the accumulated water and broken ice pouring down from Lake Ladoga, the occurrence of a westerly wind for twelve hours would produce results indescribably disastrous.

One of the most destructive inundations to which the city has been subjected occurred in November, 1824, when 15,000 lives were lost, and property destroyed to the amount of £1,000,000. It is said that Peter the Great was aware of the liability of the site to foods, but that he nevertheless persisted in his enterprise. Whilst the first piles were being driven into the soil, he happened to notice a tree conspicuously marked at a certain height from the ground. He called a Finnish peasant, and asked him what the mark signified. The man said it was the height to which the waters had risen in 1680. “It is a lie !” cried the angry Czar; "the thing is impossible !” With bis own hand he cut down the tree that dared to foreshadow an obstacle to the attainment of his wishes.

St. Petersburg, as approached from the Neva, presents a most imposing aggregate of gilded domes, tall spires, and immense palaces and other public buildings. All is vast, and arranged on a plan so gigantic that even the loftiest buildings seem dwarfed. The

. immense edifices side by side become monotonous for want of grouping and variety. The most important part of the city is the southern portion ; here are the principal buildings and finest streets; the Court, the nobility, and half the population reside

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Germany and the North. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it reached the height of its wealth and prosperity. As a free city, it had sovereign rights over a territory measuring twenty-three German miles in extent. Its form of government was similar to that of Venice. At times the patrician families usurped all power; at other times the democratic element marle its influence felt, and there were frequent struggles between the two parties. Its history is associated with Charlemagne, Henry the Saint, the fair Cunegonda, the Conrads, Barlarossa, and Maximilian. When necessity required, it would send to the imperial armies 6,060 sturly men-at-arms. Its wealth was not only realised from commerce, for its manufactures also won for it a wide renown. Earope knew no more cunding and skilful craftsmen than the artizans and artists of Vuremberg, especially the workers in metals—the smiths, armourers, cutlers, casters in bronze, and goldsmiths. Almost equally celebrated were its dyers and cloth-weavers. In the fourteenth century playing-cards were manufactured (some say invented, there. There also, about the same time, rose the first paper-mill in Germany. A century later, the first watches, known as Suren berg eggs, came from this town, whese citizens became renowned for their inventions. The first cast cannon, the first gunlock, the first wire-drawing machine, brass (as used by the moderns), the air-gun, the clarinet, certain descriptions of pottery and glass-painting: all were invented by citizens of Nurembery. Well might the city boast,“ Vürnberg's hand geht durch alle land” (Nuremberg's hand goes through every land).

Only three or four generations back it was one of the richest and most famous towns in Europe. The well-known saying of Pope Pius II., that a Nuremberger citizen was better off than a Scottish king, is quite verified by the accounts that have come down to us of the town and its burghers. We hear, for instance, of a cutler and other tradesmen giving in charity as much as £1,360-a truly enormous sum in those days. In respect of wealth and commercial importance, only Genoa, Venice, or Antwerp could vie with Nuremberg.

But Nuremberg, besides being commercial and inventive, was also a city of artists and poets. In each of these departments a few chosen spirits rose to eminence, but the spirit of poetry and art seems to have been stirring in the whole community. The home, the chur«lı, the town, all felt its influence, and the result is a city of rich, quaint beauty: one of the most precious relics that the Middle Ages have bequeathed to our days. It still stands before our eyes a perfect picture of the old castle-crowned, walled, and moated city of the fourteenth century.

Peaceful market-gardens now cover the bottom of the moat, a hundred feet broad and fifty deep, that surrounds the old city. Here and there tall trees rise amidst the luxuriant growth of beans, and peas, and beets, and even tobacco. Inside the moat stands a double wall, upon which 100 towers once raised their heads. About two-thirds of these have perished; but the steep red-tiled roofs of those that remain form a striking and pirturesque feature in the various views of the town. Some of them are of very early date. but most of them belong to the system of fortifications planned by the noted painter, sculptor, engraver, mathematician, and engineer, Albrecht Dürer (born, 1471; died, 1525), who was one of the greatest in the galaxy of Nuremberg worthies.

The Königs-Strasse enters the city by the Königsthor, under one of Dürer's massive watch-towers, and leads to the Königs-brücke, the bridge across the Pegnitz. This river

St. Petersburg.)

ST. ISAAC'S CATHEDRAL.

229

Amongst the civil portion of the populace a great variety of costumes are seen, both native and foreign. English, French, Americans, Chinese, Persians, Arabs, Finns, Kamschatkans, and many more varieties of human life mingle in the crowd. The Russian peasant, or mujik, moves about everywhere—noisy, dirty, a great cheat, and a great drunkard, but whether sober or not, a thoroughly good-natured fellow. It is as an isvóstchik, or driver, that he comes most in contact with visitors, for distances are great in St. Petersburg that nobody walks who can help it. The isvóstchik eats, drinks,

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and sleeps in his vehicle, and is very merry with his fellows whilst waiting for a fare. All sorts of vehicles now ply for hire in this city, as in more western places, but the indigenous carriage is the drojki, a small four-wheeled carriage of a very primitive type, constructed to carry sometimes one, sometimes two persons. In winter the drojkies disappear, and are replaced by the sledges, gliding smoothly and noiselessly over the frozen surface of the streets.

Near the western end of the large open space a mile in length, contiguous to the Admiralty, stands the Cathedral of St. Isaac, the most magnificent church in the Russian Empire. The design is extremely simple, but its grand proportions and immense masses of costly material produce an imposing effect. Peter the Great planted a wooden church here in the infancy of the city; Catherine II. began another in 1766, which was replaced by the present splendid structure, commenced in 1819, and consecrated in 1858. To make towards the light, till crowned at last with the proudest laurels. The son of an obscure jeweller, the scorn and derision of his jealous companions, he struggled painfully through years of trial, till he won for himself not only imperial regard, but still prouder honour as the great master of art in Germany." Dürer was the last and greatest of the Franconian school of painters. His death marks the period of the temporary decline of both

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poetry and art in Germany. The bards of the Niebelungenlied and the Minnesingers had given place to the guilds of the Master-singers, who, in the great Free Cities of South Germany, made poetry a civic institution. Their poetry was never worth much; but it is a striking fact that when upper and lower classes were alike wallowing in a slough of sensuality and ignorance, the craftsmen and burghers were devoting themselves to poetry and song as congenial recreations. These guilds met in town halls and churches to recite or sing their compositions, and receive the rewards of merit. At Nuremberg

St. Petersburg.)

THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF KAZAN.

231

The adjacent fortress was intended to protect St. Petersburg, but the city has developed in such a way that the guns could only be used for the suppression of domestic revolution. The principal use of the citadel has been as a State prison. Here perished the unfortunate Prince Alexis. Being in disfavour with his father, Peter the Great, the young prince had fled to Germany. The Czar wrote to him : “If you obey me, I promise before God that I will not punish you, but that if you return I will love you better than ever ; but if you do not, I give you my eternal curse; and as your sovereign, I shall find means to punish you." The Emperor of Germany and King of Naples had received promises from Peter that the young man's past offences should be pardoned, and through their influence Alexis returned to Russia. He was at once imprisoned, tried by a servile Senate, and condemned to death. In a dungeon of this fortress he was visited by his father, and here expired. There seems good reason to believe that he was poisoned by the Czar's orders, and, according to some historians, he was put to the torture more than once during his imprisonment. Within these walls also were immured, and in several cases executed, the ringleaders in the attempted revolution of 1825, when the Emperor Nicholas ascended the throne.

The celebrated boat which belonged to Peter the Great, and which is designated “the Grandfather of the Russian Navy,” is kept in a brick building near the church. It formerly belonged to Peter's grandfather, Nikita Romanoff, having been constructed by Dutch carpenters in 1668. Peter found it lying neglected in a shed, but had it repaired and launched. There is no doubt but that his experiments with this boat developed his taste for naval affairs, and so led to the future creation of the Russian navy. The boat is carefully kept in the same condition it was in when Peter used it. It was carried with great honours to the Moscow Exhibition of 1872, and then reverently restored to its ordinary resting-place.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan stands beside the Nevski Prospect. It is a large cruciform church, reared, on a foundation of piles, at the commencement of the present century, and cost altogether about £600,000. The cross over the cupola is 230 feet above the ground. The outer colonnade of 132 columns is an imitation of the exterior of St. Peter's at Rome. Within, there is a colonnade consisting of 56 monolithic columns of Finland granite, with bases and Corinthian capitals of bronze. The Ikonostas and balustrade in front are of silver—the precious metal used in such vast quantities being (as an inscription records) “ a zealous offering of the Don Cossacks” after the campaign of 1812. On the centre of the principal door of the screen, surrounded by a golden glory, is the name of the Almighty in precious stones. In this cathedral is a reputed miraculous image of the Virgin, brought in 1579 from Kazan—that powerful Khanate by the Oural Mountains that for centuries had been a terror to Russia, till Czar Ivan conquered it. This wonderful image is covered with fine gold and precious stones, to the value of about £15,000. A floor of coloured markle, steps of jasper, a marble pulpit, silver candelabra, and numerous paintings by Russian Academicians, are amongst the other notabilia of this gorgeous place of worship.

There are altogether over 200 churches in St. Petersburg, of which 165 belong to the Russo-Greek Church, 15 are Protestant, 6 Roman Catholic, and the remainder belong

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