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Gorgeous architecture of Imperial Russia by Carlo Rossi

The buildings of Carlo Rossi, a famous Russian architect of Italian origin, gave St. Petersburg its distinctive imperial luster. Many of them are still trademarks of Russia's northern capital.
By Alexey Mosko
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Carlo Rossi is one of those architects without whom it's impossible to imagine modern St. Petersburg, Russia's true cultural gem.// The General Staff Building and the Alexander Column on Palace Square

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The city was created from scratch amid barren swampland in the early XVIII century as the breathtaking showpiece of the new Russia.// Triumphal Arch of the General Staff Building. View from Bolshaya Morskaya street

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The finest architects of the day worked on the look of the young, ambitious city on the Neva. In the XVIII century Bartolomeo Rastrelli’s impressive late Baroque creations filled the new capital with elegance. // Triumphal Arch of the General Staff Building

In the XIX century it was Carlo Rossi who added imperial grandeur to it. // Carlo Rossi street in St Petersburg

Rossi's most recognizable work is the General Staff Building on Palace Square. The Russian army still commands part of the building. The other part is used by the Hermitage Museum.

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Rossi's neoclassicism was a perfect fit for governmental buildings. Like the General Staff Building, the Senate and Synod Building was meant to depict the might of the Russian Empire. Today it still performs significant ceremonial functions, being home to Russia's Constitutional Court and the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library.

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Rossi's other masterpiece, Mikhailovsky Palace, is a gem of the imperial style. The architect not only created the building itself, but also engineered the inner garden, the square in front of the palace and two nearby streets. Since the late XIX century the building has been government property and hosts the State Russian Museum.

Apart from building tsarist residences, Rossi enriched Petersburg's cultural scene. The Alexandrinsky Theater on Nevsky Prospect has seen plenty of legendary theatrical performances.

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Rossi also co-designed the Russian National Library, commissioned by Catherine the Great.

Yelagin Palace, an earlier work by Rossi, served as a tsarist summer residence. The palace was destroyed during the Siege of Leningrad and later reconstructed.

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A St. Petersburg genius, Rossi actually began his career in Moscow. His St. Catherine Church of Ascension Convent inside the Kremlin was a magnificent example of pseudo-gothic architecture. But Rossi's only creation in Moscow did not survive the turbulent times: it was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1929.

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Rossi's mark can also be found outside Russia’s capitals. One such place is Tver, home to the so-called En-Route Imperial Palace. This neoclassical tsarist stopover was reconstructed by Rossi in the mid XIX century.

Rossi even tried his hand at traditional cross-in-square architecture. He constructed the bell tower of Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod, the oldest in Russia, dating back to the XI century.

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