Semenovsky Platz

Pioneer Square

The territory of the former Semenovsky Platz occupies a large area between the modern Zagorodny Avenue, Zvenigorodskaya Street, the Obvodny Canal and the Vitebsk Railway.

At the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries the Moscow, Egersky and Semenovsky regiments were stationed in this area. As a result of the barracks building, a huge area was formed - 26.5 hectares, one of the largest areas of St. Petersburg at the beginning of the XIX century.

From the middle of the 19th century, besides parades and drill exercises, public executions began on Semenovsky Platz. It was here that the execution was carried out over the members of the Petrashevsky circle, among whom was F.M. Dostoevsky. On December 22, 1849, on Semenovskiy parade ground, the Petrashevists were sentenced to “death by execution”, but at the last moment, when the convicts were already preparing for death, they were pardoned, replacing the execution with hard labor. Dostoevsky conveyed the feelings that he experienced before his execution in one of the monologues of Prince Myshkin, the hero of the novel Idiot.

On April 3, 1881, the execution of the “First March citizens” took place on Semyonovsky Platz. Before the assembled public, five organizers of the murder of Emperor Alexander II — Andrey Zhelyabov, Sophia Perovskaya, Nikolai Kibalchich, Nikolai Rysakov and Timofey Mikhailov — were hanged. This penalty was the last public penalty in St. Petersburg.

Gradually, the Semenovsky parade ground became a place of folk festivals. In 1862, trade stalls were placed here, and in the 1880s, a racetrack was built according to the design of Leonty Benoit. The first races were held here in the winter of 1880–1881, and in 1893, the first football match in St. Petersburg was held at the racetrack.

Semenov Hippodrome continued to work until World War II and was destroyed during the blockade. Today, it is reminded of by a pedestrian Hippodrome Bridge across the Obvodny Canal.

In the early 1950s, the Semenovskiy park was set up at the site of the destroyed hippodrome, and by the beginning of the 1960s a new building of the Leningrad Theater for Young Spectators was built, in front of which a monument to A.S. Griboedov by sculptor V.V. Lishev.

On September 7, 2012 in the southern part of the former Semenovsky Platz, behind Marata street, a monument to the hero of the War of 1812, General, Prince Pyotr Bagration, who commanded the Semenov regiment was opened. The authors of the monument are the sculptors Jan Neyman and Murat Annanurov and the architect Gennady Chelbogashev. A bronze sculpture with a height of 4.5 meters is placed on a pedestal of Priozersk granite. The square around the monument was named Bagrationovsky.

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