Senate Square

One of the oldest squares of St Petersrburg

One of the oldest and well-recognized squares of St Petersburg.

Senate Square started to form already in 1704, as a part of glacis next to the Admiralty which was initially planned not only as a shipyard, but also as a fortress. That’s why it was necessary to create free space around it. The western part of the space was defined in the middle of 1710s by the Menshikov house (currently: the building of Constitutional Court).

St Petersburg panorama Senate Square

In 1710 there, on the shore of Neva river, the first wooden building of Isaac church was built. It was visited by the Admiralty servants and sailors. That’s where Peter the Great and Catherine I engaged.

In 1717 the southern part of the future Senate square was washed by the Admiralteysky canal, that was at first used for storing construction forest, and later for transferring woods from New Holland island. From there in 1720 a new perpendicular canal towards Neva was dug. It was laid along the western side of the square, and later became a place for Synod building. Initially this canal served as fire safety attribute to the Admiralty.

In place of wooden Isaac Church a huge stone temple was built in the 1730s. It stayed approximately at the place of currently well-known Bronze Horseman. The first official name of the square related to the cathedral – Isaac’s. It was given on April 20, 1738.  Later the area to the south from the current Isaac cathedral got the name of Isaac’s square.

After Menshikov’s death, his land was given to vice chancellor Ostermann, and in 1744 – to chancellor Bestuzhev-Rumin. A baroque-style palace was built for a new owner. After the enthronement of Catherine II, the Senate moved there. Also in Catherine’s times in the 1760s the Isaac cathedral changed its place. The foundation of the cathedral on the shore of Neva was not secure, so it was moved further from the river. That’s when it was moved on the shore of the Admiralty canal to the south of the Square.

A monument to Peter the Great was established there in 1782. Since then the Square was called – Petrovskaya square.

bronze horseman at the Senate Square

The adjoining part of the Admiralteysky canal was piped in the beginning of the 19th century. The branch of the canal towards Neva was swamped at that time.

The eastern part of the Senate square formed with the construction of a new Admiralty building in the 1820s. In 1834 a magnificent building of Senate and Synod was finished. 

On December 14, 1825 the regiments lined up  at the foot of Peter the Great monument. They refused to take the oath to a new tsar Nicolas I. Around 3000 rebellions were standing on the square, being surrounded by the troops. The uprising was crushed. These events took place in front of the forth Isaac cathedral under construction, that was finished only by 1858. Since then, the layout of Senate square has not changed.

In 1874 Senate Square became a part of the Admiralty Garden. Next to the monument to Peter the Great, beautiful lawns and flowerbeds were places. From the side of Isaac Cathedral oak-trees were planted. Between the monument and the Admiraly an alpine hill was decorated. In 1890 a part of a garden next to the Bronze Horseman was cut away. That free space was again reconstructed into a square and paved with cobblestones. 

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Dekabrist uprising, in 1925 the square got its new name – Dekabristov Square. On July 31, 2008 the square was given its historical name back and became Senate Square.

In order to learn more about this and other sights of St Petersburg, book a private tour.

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Information About the Excursion


Open All year round

Public Transport

Senate Square
Metro / Subway
Ulitsa Yakubovicha5, 22
Ulitsa Yakubovicha70, 100
Konnogvardeisky bul'var3, 22, 27, 71, 100
Minibuses (marshrutka)
Admiralteysky ProspektK-252
Ulitsa YakubovichaK-169, K-306

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