Десять "львиных" мест в Санкт- Петербурге

IX Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
Старт в науке

Десять "львиных" мест в Санкт- Петербурге

Захарченко А.А. 1
1ГБОУ СОШ №291
Осипова Н.Е. 1
1ГБОУ СОШ №291
Автор работы награжден дипломом победителя II степени
Текст работы размещён без изображений и формул.
Полная версия работы доступна во вкладке "Файлы работы" в формате PDF


There is a huge number of monuments and statues dedicated to various animals in St. Petersburg. The urban fauna is rich and diverse. On the streets of St. Petersburg we can find monuments to animals of various sizes, from the tiny Chizhik-Pyzhik to the gigantic horse of the Bronze Horseman. Among the architectural wildlife of St. Petersburg, bears, horses, dogs, cats, bulls, snakes, pelicans, camels, eagles, hares, owls, stickleback which were made of granite, cast iron, copper, wood, steel and bronze coexist peacefully side by side. At the head of this beastly kingdom is its majesty- the Lion.

The topic, «Lion sculptures in Saint – Petersburg’s architecture», was the subject of my research. I have chosen this theme because I live in a great citythat everyone should visit, but many people when they travel face the problem of choosing out of hundreds of sights and attractions the best and the most interesting places for them to visit. I hope my guide through the 10 most “lion” places of the Northern capital will help in planning a perfect trip to St. Petersburg.

Research question: Why are lion sculptures are so popular in St. Petersburg architecture?

The aim of my work is to find interesting and unique facts about lion sculptures in St. Petersburg’s architecture.


- to explore information sources;

-to expand knowledge and research on St. Petersburg’s architecture;

- to explore interesting facts about lion sculptures in St. Petersburg;

- to highlight city sights with lion sculptures;

- to carry out the online survey to identify the level of knowledge among students, English language learners, on St. Petersburg’s architecture;

- present a project at the conference;

- create a google map guide through the 10 most “lion” places of the Northern capital;

- create a tourist booklet “Lion sculptures in Saint – Petersburg’s architecture” with elements of augmented reality.

Subject of research: Lions are extraordinary animals in St. Petersburg’s architecture.

Hypothesis: Lion sculptures have a great impact on St. Petersburg’s architecture.

Research methods: analysis of literature and video material, problem-finding method, research method, systematization and generalization of knowledge method, the usage of Internet.

Practical relevance: this work can be used on English lessons to get acquainted with the architecture of St. Petersburg.

To confirm the relevance of the chosen topic, an online survey among 104 students was conducted at the school, which showed the importance of this work for educational activities, for highlighting city sights with lion sculptures. The questionnaire and the results of it can be seen in diagrams 1-4. There were several questions to answer which helped us to distinguish that all of our classmates choose Nevsky prospect, Palace square, the Peter and Paul fortress and Summer Garden as their favourite places. Most of them choose lions as popular animal sculptures. The majority of the students claimed that lions were widely used in St. Petersburg’s architecture because they became an allegorical attribute of the figured Pride, Courage, Anger. But most of them have a difficulty in choosing places in Saint – Petersburg with lion sights. That was the starting point for our project work.

Lions are extraordinary animals in St. Petersburg’s architecture

St. Petersburg is literally flooded with lions and sphinxes, how many are here, it is difficult to count, they say, almost a thousand. Lions in St. Petersburg are very different - marble and plaster, copper and cast iron, brought from China and Israel, Italy and created in Russia. The time of their appearance is also different - from the XVIII century, the time of Peter the Great, to the present day.

Lion is the king of animals and therefore it is a symbol of courage, strength, power and greatness. The fashion to decorate houses, parks and squares with lion sculptures came from Europe during the time of Peter the Great: lions appeared at palaces and public buildings, in parks and on embankments, some of them lay or sat, and many rested their paws on a ball.

In ancient and medieval times, it was believed that lions slept with the open eyes and therefore they were ideal guards, protecting the house from evil spirits. Lion statues were installed at the entrance of temples and palaces, many guardian lions kept their paws on the ball so as not to fall asleep. If the lion fell asleep, the paw would roll off the ball and it would wake up.

The fashion for sculptures of lions went from the time of Peter the Great: it was the time when the king of animals began to decorate houses, parks, squares in the Northern capital.

In the Ryazanov film "The Incredible Adventures of Italians in Russia", one hero, having lost hope of finding a treasure, sighed that there were more lions in St. Petersburg than inhabitants. This, of course, is exaggerated, but hundreds of sculptures of powerful animals are actually located in the city on the Neva River. I will tell you about the most interesting of them.

2. Places with lion statues in Saint – Petersburg

Lions at the Dvortsovaya pier

Lions from the Admiralty Embankment are quite popular among tourists due to their proximity to the Hermitage and the Admiralty. The Lions are two lion sculptures in bronze placed at the Admiralty embankment in Saint Petersburg since 1832. The lions are copies of the late 16th century Italian Medici lions in Florence. The sculptures were created by the German craftsman, Johan Gottlieb Prang to designs by sculptor Ivan Prokofiev.

Lion’s Bridge

Lion’s Bridge is considered one of the most famous bridges in St. Petersburg. Suspended pedestrian bridge decorated with sculptures of lions, attracts many tourists.

The bridge was built over the Griboyedov Canal near Podiacheskaia Street. The bridge was designed by prominent engineers V. Tretter and V.Christianovitz who participated in the creation of another famous pedestrian Bank bridge. P.P.Sokolov, is person who was made sculptures of griffins for Bank bridge, created sculptural decoration of the Lion bridge. 

Inside of statues of lions are situated supporting mechanisms which hold the chain of a suspension bridge. V. Trettera developed an original pattern of the iron railings of the bridge, which subsequently used in the design of Ioannovsky bridge leading to the Peter and Paul fortress. Despite of the technical complexity of the project, the bridge was built in a short time. The festive opening ceremony took place in July 1826. For the first time citizens called the bridge "The Bridge on the Four Lions” and only later the bridge got its present name. Bridge width is 2.5 meters, and its length is about 27 meters.

In 1838, a small copy of the bridge (length 17.3 m, width 2 m) was built by Borsig company on the territory of the Berlin Tiergarten. It was built by German architect L. F. Hesse. Bridge "Levenbryukke" (Loewenbruecke Hesse) became the first suspension bridge in Berlin. Unlike the original bridge in St. Petersburg, superstructure and bridge railings of Lion bridge in Berlin are still wooden.

If standing between two lions you will reach them with your fingertips, your wish will come true. 

Cast iron lions in front of the Russian museum

On the pedestals at the entrance of the building of the Russian Museum are twin brothers of sculptures installed on the stairs leading to the park of Elagin Palace. This is explained by the fact that the same architect worked on both palaces - Karl Rossi, who with enviable constancy installed lion pairs on the front entrances of his buildings. The sculpture was created in 1822 and it was the first cast-iron lion statues in Saint Petersburg.

Sculptures of lions near Kushelev-Bezborodko's estate

On the Sverdlovskaya embankment opposite the estate of A. Bezborodko, in the late 1790s, a section of the pier was ennobled. 29 lions, holding a cast-iron chain in their mouths, hospitably parted before the guests of the estate, inviting them to go inside.

Lions in the Garden of Friendship

Another eastern pair of lions is located in the Friendship Garden on Liteiny Prospect. These sculptures of mythological guards were donated by Shanghai, the twin city, to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg in 2003. Stone balls are embedded in the jaws of a lion and lioness standing in the Garden of Friendship. The interesting thing is that the same figures are installed in Shanghai near the temple of Confucius.

Shi Tsa Lions on Petrovskaya Embankment

Shi Tsa Lions are two granite mythological lions in St. Petersburg were brought from China. They were placed on Petrovskaya Embankment in 1907. Shi Tsa granite lions were made in China, in the Manchurian city of Girin, for the general Chang’s chapel, but after his death, the new governor of the city gave these statues to  the governor-general of Priamurye, the ethnographer and the writer, N. I. Grodekov as a present. Actually, Shi Tsa are not lions, but fantastic creatures, half-lions, half frogs.  Following the Chinese tradition, their sculptures were usually put at the entrance to a temple or a cemetery. One of Shi Tsa lions holds a small ball in its paw, which symbolizes knowledge, and another Shi Tsa has a little young lion beside. Statues were brought to St. Petersburg and placed on Petrovskaya Embankment at Nikolay Grodekov’s  in 1907. They say that the ball of Buddhist knowledge, which one of the lions holds in a paw, can grant one’s wishes.

Winged lions-griffins on Bank Bridge

The centerpiece of the Bank Bridge is its golden-winged griffins (lion-like creatures) that hold the chains of the bridge and provide support. The four creatures are representative of mythical beings who were said to be the guardians of treasure. The griffins were designed by Pavel Sokolov. The choice of these mythical creatures is not accidental, because at the time of the design and implementation of the plan of the sculptor and architect, there was the Assignation Bank that flourished not far from the bridge in those days.

Masks of Lions on the Strelka of Vasilievsky Island

For almost 300 years, lions with rings in their teeth have been guarding the main area of foreign trade. Previously, they were used for shipping: for tying barges and boats. Today,there is a kind of belief that a newly married couple should hold the ring together on their wedding day. This promises a strong and happy marriage.

2.9 Lion sculpture on stairs in Pavlovsk park

The large stone staircase descending from the Pavlovsk Palace is one of the main structures of the Pavlovsk Park and was intended for communication between the palace and the park. There are two cast-iron lions on the lower steps of the stairs, and “smiling” marble lions at the top.

2.10 Lions in Peterhof
The image of a lion, as an attribute of the palaces of the rulers, is actively present in the sculptural decoration of the Peterhof ensemble. 150 lion mascarons guard the entrance to the Upper Garden, "Egyptian Lions" await visitors at the Voronikhinsky Colonnades. "Lion" is a modest house in Peterhof Alexandria, which has become the "family nest" of the Romanov dynasty. And the very emblem of the sea residence of Peter I - Peterhof - is a sculptural group " Samson tearing the lion's jaws". During the Second World War  the sculpture of Samson was stolen by the Nazis. Through the surviving photographs it was re-created by sculptor V. Simonov and in the season of 1947 powerful figure of Samson tearing the lion's jaws again appeared on its pedestal in the bucket of Sea channel.

The results of public opinion

We carried out an online survey among the students using google form which showed the importance of this work for educational activities, for highlighting city sights with lion sculptures. We asked 104 students. Here you can see the answers and the results of our poll.

Diagram 1. From the pie chart we see that the majority of respondents choose Nevsky prospect, Palace square, the Peter and Paul fortress and Summer Garden as their favourite place.

Diagram 2. This graph chart shows that the major part (94 %) of respondents know lion sculptures, 45 interviewees answered that horses are popular statues in Saint- Petersburg.

Diagram 3. This pie chart shows that the major part (54 %) of respondents claimed that lions were widely used in St. Petersburg’s architecture because they became an allegorical attribute of the figured Pride, Courage, Anger, 38 interviewees answered that Lions are bold and majestic. It can be seen that 22 interviewees (21%) suggest that lion sculptures are a fad.

Diagram 4. From this graph you can see that 3,7% of interviewees answered that lion statues are situated on the embankment, in the city centre, at bridges.

In conclusion it is evident that a large proportion of students still have little knowledge of the city sights and have a difficulty in choosing places in Saint – Petersburg with lion sights. These figures may reflect that a significant number of teenagers should be informed about the topic which was revealed in the project.


Thus, we have profoundly studied interesting facts about lion sculptures in St. Petersburg and discovered their immense influence on Saint – Petersburg’s architecture. During our studies we have analyzed literature and video material on the research problem, visited “lion” places of the city. We have also conducted an online survey, analyzed its results and represented them in the form of presentation. So, our research work helped to widen the horizons of the students of our school. We created a google map guide through the 10 most “lion” places of the Northern capital and a tourist booklet to help travelers in planning a perfect trip. We have also noted that lion sculptures play a significant role in creating a unique atmosphere in the city.These grandiose creations serve as a memory of significant events in Russian history, and are worthy ornaments giving the city a special charm.

Appendix 1 Booklet “Lion sculptures in Saint – Petersburg”


Львы в Санкт- Петербурге [Электронный ресурс] /( https://www.spb-guide.ru/page_19932.htm )

Нестеров В. В. Львы стерегут город / Послесл. Л. Успенского. - Л.: Художник РСФСР, 1971. – 470 с.

Новый большой англо-русский словарь: Ю.Д. Апресян, Э.М. Медникова, А.В. Петрова и др.; Под общ. Рук. Ю.Д. Апресяна и Э.М. Медниковой. - 7-е изд., стереотип. - М.: Рус. Яз., 2002, с. 832.

Онлайн опрос [Электронный ресурс] /( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeh5JibBTEJa2ZTzqeg9_g4uS7sz1Go5Gt3wn6tVXlRzLJNlA/viewform)

Aims and objectives [Электронныйресурс] /(http://www.erm.ecs.soton.ac.uk/theme4/aims_and_objectives.html)

Best places to visit in Saint- Petersburg [Электронныйресурс] /(https://stingynomads.com/places-to-visit-in-st-petersburg/)

Guide to 10 “lion” places in St. Petersburg [Электронныйресурс] /( https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1RVufXOCwmiHr3EzaTJlVoDnA96Pf3_cp&usp=sharing )

Formulating Research Aims and Objectives [Электронныйресурс] /(https://research-methodology.net/research-methodology/research-aims-and-objectives/ )

Visit Petersburg [Электронный ресурс] /( http://www.visit-petersburg.ru/en/)

Writing about survey results [Электронный ресурс] / (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/writing-skills-practice/writingabout-survey-results )

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