Blacksmiths from Suzdal strike while the iron is hot

We've visited the unique forge shop, located in the Suzdal affiliate of the St Petersburg Institute of Art and Culture, where students of architectural restoration study metal working.

No other such institutions exist in Russia any more. Besides architectural metal (usually quite large objects), they learn how to restore museum metal (often items of jewelry), wood, textiles, stone, and easel paintings.

Metal restorers study for four years, but not every year sees an intake of students, as unfortunately there are very few teachers and low demand. The only city in Russia where it is needed is St Petersburg. This is because it was built by Peter the Great, who was awestruck by the architecture of European cities. And in Old Europe there is a fair amount of metal-forged fencing, signage, etc. For Russian architecture, though, it is not that common.

Some graduates move to St Petersburg to work as restorers, others become involved in artistic forging.

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