Place: Spit of Vasilyvsky Island
Construction time: 1811
Designer: Jean-François Thomas de Thomon
Name Origin: The columns are decorated with four pairs of bronze ship prows, so called “rostra”. The Romans were the first who used the prows of conquered ships to decorate their monuments. Since then the rostra considered as symbol of naval victories.
Initial purpose: In Imperial period, the columns functioned as the lighthouses: oil was poured in the bowls, mounted on the top of the column. After sunset the oil lamps were lighted up to guide ships to the port. Nowadays you can see the fiery torches on the main holidays and city events.
Remarkable features: There are the statues of two ladies and two elders which are situated at the base of the columns. Guides say that those are an allegory of main rivers of the European part of Russia: Neva, Volkhov, Volga and Dnieper. However, there is no evidential matter of such allegorical references.
Interesting facts: The Rostral columns are represented on the 50-ruble banknote with a dubious image of the Neva River