The 156-foot-tall centerpiece of Ploschad Dvortsovaya (Palace Square) is a memorial to Russia's victory over Napoléon, commissioned in 1830 by Nicholas I in memory of his brother, Tsar Alexander I, and designed by Auguste Ricard de Montferrand. The column was cut from a single piece of granite and, together with its pedestal, weighs more than 650 tons. It stands in place by the sheer force of its own weight; there are no attachments fixing the column to the pedestal.
When the memorial was erected in 1832, the entire operation took only an hour and 45 minutes, but 2,000 soldiers and 400 workmen were required, along with an elaborate system of pulleys and ropes. Crowning the column is an angel (symbolizing peace in Europe) crushing a snake, an allegorical depiction of Russia's defeat of Napoléon.
Pl. Dvortsovaya, St. Petersburg, 191186, Russia