Field of Mars

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Field of Mars


a square in Leningrad, an important element in the design of the city center. The structures surrounding the square include the Marble Palace (now the Leningrad branch of the V. I. Lenin Central Museum; 1768-85, architect A. Rinaldi) and the barracks of the Pavlovskii Regiment (now the Lenenergo building; 1817-20, architect V. P. Stasov). The Engineers’ Castle, the Summer Garden, and the Mikhailovskii Gardens border on the square.

In the early 18th century the Great Meadow, which was used for various fetes, occupied the present site of the Field of Mars. In the late 18th century, the area was renamed Tsarina’s Meadow. In 1818 it received its present name, which was derived from the Campus Martius in ancient Rome. The name “Field of Mars” was chosen because the field was the site of military parades and monuments to the military commanders P. A. Rumiantsev (Rumiantsev Obelisk; marble, granite, 1798-99, architect V. F. Brenna; since 1818 on Vasil’evskii Island) and A. V. Suvorov (bronze, granite, 1799-1801, sculptor M. I. Kozlovskii).

On Mar. 23 (Apr. 5),,1917, 180 individuals who had fallen in battle against the autocracy during the February Revolution of 1917 were buried in a mass grave in the center of the Field of Mars. On Apr. 18 (May 1), 1917, V. I. Lenin delivered a speech at the square. In June 1917 the square was the site of a mass demonstration by workers and soldiers against the Provisional Government’s policies, which were not in the interests of the people. In 1918, V. Volodarskii and M. S. Uritskii were buried in the square, as were the Petrograd workers who fell during the Yaroslavl Rebellion of 1918. Among those buried here in 1919 were the workers who fell heroically defending Petrograd against the troops of General N. N. ludenich. Between 1917 and 1919 the monument To the Fighters of the Revolution (granite, L. V. Rudnev; A. V. Lunacharskii wrote the inscriptions) was erected in the center of the Field of Mars. Between 1920 and 1923 a parterred garden was laid out (I. A. Fomin). In 1957 an eternal flame was lit. The modern memorial complex, with its expressively concise forms, fits in well with the classical architectural monuments.


Smirnov, N. I. Marsovo pole. Leningrad-Moscow, 1947.
Slobozhan, I. I. Marsovo pole. Leningrad, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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