The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum - St. Petersburg

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The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

Throughout the years, several memorial museums in honor of artists or people who gave services to the country established in Russia. Though in some situations to honor a person, only their name would be used in a museum, in most cases, the memorial museum completely dedicated to those people. For example, there are several Alexander Pushkin museum in Russia, one of them only used the poet's name for a contemporary art museum, and the other is completely dedicated to the poet works and life.

People don't need to be an artist so they get their memorial museum, most of the time, you’ll get your memorial museum because of the services you gave to the public or governments. The fun fact about the memorial museum in Russia is that the first memorial museum in this country built at the northwest part of the city of St. Petersburg in Kirochnaya street to honor one of the greatest generals of the Russian military, Alexander Suvorov.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

Alexander Suvorov was born to a military family. His grandfather was the chief secretary of the Preobrazhensky order and in charge of political investigations, and his father was serving as the servant of Peter the Great at first, and after a few years he became prosecutorial. His father was also actively involved in the coup of 1762, and because of the Catherine II’s trust, he became the chief general in only a few years after the coup.

The exact birth date of Alexander Suvorov is unknown, but historians determine it was either 1729 or 1730.  When Alexander Suvorov was only 12 years old, he was enlisted in the Life Guards Semenovsky regiment as a private in 1742, though he studied science at home until he started to give services as a corporal when he turned 18. He joined the army in the Seven Years War as a lieutenant.

Suvorov was promoted to the colonel rank in 1762, and he managed the Infantry Regiment until 1768. He also organized the famous regiment institute during these years. He fought and won several battles during his active years including the war with Polish confederation, the first war between Russia and Turkey, the occupation of Yemelyan Pugachev, the Crimea and Kuban war, the second Russ-Turkey war, and several more. Beside some disagreements with Emperor Paul I, he promoted to Generalissimo by the emperor in 1799. He died because of illness in 1800 in his apartment in St. Petersburg and buried in Alexander Nevsky cemetery.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

The first-ever memorial museum in Russia was built by the direct command of Tsar Nicholas II between 1901 to 1904 in St. Petersburg. The funds for building this museum came from various contributors including several military regiments, but the main sponsor of the project was Emperor Nicholas II himself. The architecture of this place was after the design of Von Goguen and following the style of ancient Russian fortresses. The building resembles the watchtowers as well.

The most eye-catching things about this construction are the two mosaic artworks on both wings of the building. These mosaic artworks were created by Zoshchenko, Maslennikov, and based on a painting of Popova. The east wing painting presents the “Suvorov’s departure for the campaign of 1799”, and the west wing pictures “Suvorov’s Crossing the Alps.” There’s also Suvorov Coat of arms on the top of the building with a sculpture of a two-headed eagle decorating it.

Following the October Revolution, the museum closed for some times and its collection transferred to other museums in Russia. The Suvorov Coat of arms along with the eagle sculpture took down from the building. The museum was kept close until 1951 and started to work again in that year as the historical military museum. The museum went under massive reconstruction in 1988 which continued until 1998.

The museum returned to its original standing as The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum in 1991 following the recognition of Suvorov medal of honor. The Coat of arms and the eagle sculpture were returned to the watchtower on the 100th anniversary of the museum in 2004.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

The collections of this museum mostly came from the gifts and donated items from Suvorov’s admirers. However, there are three collections in the museum that are highly more valuable than the others. The first collection was donated by the relatives and decadents of Suvorov, and it includes uniforms, flags, medals, personal telescope, and even his first tombstone. The second collection came from Emperor Nicholas II’s collection of documents and paintings. Nicholas II donated all the documents on Suvorov in his collection, and the famous “Suvorov’s Crossing the Alps” painting to the museum, which currently is in the hands of Russia State Museum. The third collection which is a valuable collection donated to the museum by the astronomer and huge admirer of Suvorov, Vasily Engelhardt was included 955 kilograms of reliefs about the Swiss campaign which was collected by him. The collection was named Engelhardt’s Suvorov collection and included weapons and tools that collected from the battlefields, medals, memorials, and monuments that erected in Swiss, and also a portrait of friends and enemies of Suvorov in the middle of the war.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

The museum includes five halls plus the entrance hall. There’s a beautiful glass coloring artwork of Suvorov in the style of the 18th-century portraits in the middle of the hall, and in front of this artwork, there are medals, icons, and personal weapons of Suvorov display for the public. There are also replicas of Suvorov’s rooms from Konchesky village, St. Joseph's Monastery reconstructed in the main hall that kept personal items, medals, flags, and other original things in those rooms as well.

The large left hall is dedicated to the personal life of the commander and the battles he fought and won. There’s also a massive French cannon in the middle of the hall which was used in the battle of 1799 and taken as a winning trophy to Russia.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

The small left room of the museum is entirely dedicated to the relatives and decadents of the commander. In this hall, one can find portraits of the wife of the commander and his close relatives. There are also several documents about his personal life regarding his wife and relatives as well.

The large right hall of the museum is dedicated to the talent and art of battle strategy of the commander. This room has several miniature version of the battles that Suvorov commanded. There are also some uniforms, weapons, and the tools that Russia military used during its battles in this hall.

The small right room is left for temporary exhibitions.

The Alexander Suvorov Memorial Museum – St. Petersburg

In this museum, one can find a massive collection of weapons, banners, flags, maps, documents, tools that used in the battlefields, uniforms, miniature versions of battles, huge reconstruction of commander’s places, and also several massive panoramic pictures of wars the commander fought.

In your travel to St. Petersburg and visiting the historical attractions of the city, you can visit this museum as well if you were interested in the story and fate of one of the greatest commanders in Russia history. This museum is not usually included in the St. Petersburg tour programs, but if you are interested to see the museum individually, you should fix an appropriate time with your Russia tour administration, so it wouldn’t conflict with the rest of your Russia tour routine.