1. The period of 1703-1914
As already noted above, the first and main natural stone for building and facing in St.Petersburg proved to be platy or flaggy limestone from quarries of the Putilovo Hill and deposits situated on banks of the Tosna, Izhora and Volkhov rivers. The stone had been used for construction of ancient fortresses and churches long ago, so that its exploitation coincided the city development. The Karelian marbles likewise had long been employed by Karelians and Novgorodians to obtain lime for local needs. At the period of 1704-1725, already up to 480 tonnes of that calcareous rock from different deposits of the Onega and Ladoga regions were delivered to the Olonetz iron-works. The Karelian granites were equally well-known. Glacial granite boulders were employed in the building of the Solovetsky Monastery. Undoubtedly, in the XVIII-th century local inhabitants were also acquainted with rocky outcrops of granites exposed along banks of lakes and rivers of Karelia. A knowledge of the resources of the area, as well as convenience of water transport allowed it to become the major contribution of building stone for St.Peterburg.
The history of exploitation of stone used for development of the new capital is discussed in the book by P.A.Borisov “Stone building materials of Karelia” published in 1963, and in the monograph by V.I.Lebedinsky and L.P.Kirichenko “Stone and man” issued in 1974. Interesting information can be found in the earlier works by Yu.Azancheyev, S.Alopeus, P.Stolpyansky, et al. Referring an inquiring reader to them, it is worth noting that during the first third of the XVIII-th century, Karelian stone did not serve as a material for building of St.Petersburg, it was used for other needs. Refractory brick linings of blast-furnaces at Olonetz and Petrozavodsk, for instance, were made of Shoksha quartzitic sandstone, whereas limestone from regions of Ladoga and Onega Lakes was utilized as flux stone in blast-furnaces. By the end of the XVIII-th century, lime produced from marbles of the North Onega would be brought from Kyappeselga and Perguba (Per Bay), as well as from the Bolshoy Zhiloy (Large Inhabitated) Island Lake on Lizhmozero (Lake Lizhm). In the North
Sites of stone quarrying in the XVIII-th and XIX-th centuries.
Ladoga area, lime was burnt in the vicinity of the villages Rusceala (historical name was Ruscola) and Ioyensu. In 1791 the output of that stone was as much as 800 tonnes per annum.
Demands for building stone were so rapidly increasing that Peter I gave orders to encourage people for any new discovery of stone. Even more important was an edict of Anna Ioannovna. It announced marble and other building stones should not to be ordered from abroad but be searched, for found and used from local sources. She enjoined to build a mill at the Academy of Sciences. The enterprise was to replace an one destroyed in Peterhof and was intonded for the grinding and polishing of jaspis (old term for jasper, or any another stone resembling jasper) discovered in the country. At that time, a contract with the foreigner Jackob Stein was made for “prospecting, exploration and sampling of stones of all sorts found in Russia.”
The first to be developed were deposits of decorative marbles at Tivdiya and Rusceala villages. There is no doubt that local inhabitants knew and used those marbles for building and, primarly, as a material for lime production in pre-Petrine times. Near the village Tivdiya, decorative marbles were found in 1757 and shortly after, quarrying of marble at the Belaya Gora (White Mountain) on Lizhmozero (Lake Lizhm) got under way. Already in 1768 significant exploitation of stone for building of the capital was organized there, and starting in 1809, a factory sawing marble began to work at the White Mountain. Stone was transported on land or by a system of small lakes to the Kondopozhskaya Guba (Kondopoga Bay) of Lake Onega and then it was barged to St.Petersburg. Later, marble was delivered to the Kondopoga Bay by a railway line of local importance.
In the course of exploration for stone at Sandal and Lizhm Lakes, a number of quarries were opened and many deposits were developed. The more important of them are given in Table 1 and shown in Fig. Some quarries still exist. The largest quarry -100-200 metres in length and 8 metres in depth – is situated at the Lizhm Lake deposit. In the XIX-th century stone produced from the deposits of that group was used in facing of the Marble Palace, Princess Yurievskaya’s Mansion, Mikhailovsky (Engineers’) Castle and for inner decoration of St.Isaac’s and Kazansky Cathedrals, Mariinsky Palace and the Ethnography Museum. Both small and large blocks or slabs were quarried there. Blocks of size 6.4 x 1 x 1 m for columns of the Ethnography Museum and even monoliths as large as 26 x 6 m were also cut out. Some varieties of marble went into the manufacture of vases, pedestals and other small goods; others were used for fine home-made handicraft wares. However by the end of the XIX-th century all those quarries remained underused. In 1902-1905, stone from those deposits was used only for interior decoration of the Ethnography Museum, and in the Soviet Period it was once used in lining of the “Baumanskaya” station of the Moscow Underground Railway. According to a present estimate, none of these deposits is included in the basis of resources of the building stone industry.
The first blocks of decorative marbles from the Ladoga deposits near Rusceala and Ioyensu villages were sent to St.Petersburg in 1766. And shortly after it, in 1767 marble quarries at Rusceala were developed and a sawing mill was opened. Both massive grey and banded grey-white Rusceala marble was used for revetment of walls of the Marble Palace. Especially extensive development started with the erection of St.Isaac’s Cathedral. The work on decorative stones and marbles for pilasters was carried out till 1830. At that time blocks weighing up to 16 tonnes could be cut. Since 1830, upon exhaustion of the most beautiful and solid marble, the quarry began to mine material for lime production. Nowadays it has been neglected and flooded with water, but its proportions are striking: the length is ranging from 300 to 500 m and the depth varies between 30 and 50 m. The trench is surrounded with underground excavations. Today the stone is extracted from adjoining lenses and beds. It is used now as a source for lime and murble cuttings. Only a limited amount of the rock is applied in facing. But this stone differs rather substantially in its pattern, colour and composition from the former varieties. The St.Petersburg Metro Station “Primorskaya” (Seaside station) is clad with it.
Exploitation of granite from bedrock exposures started in the first third of the XVIII-th century. Already in 1730, Finns took granites on the north-western shore of Lake Ladoga at the settlements Jakkima, Tiurula, near the small lake Kuoreyarvi. However application of granite in the building of St.Petersburg was made difficult by the lack of the practical skills of working of such a hard rock: up to that time, all stone building in Russia was performed in limestone, marble and other rocks which are softer and more workable than granite.
Grey granite, known as Serdobolsky, came to be brought in St.Petersburg in the 1740s, but initially it was used only for the masonry of foundations. The heyday of granite works had followed in the 60-s of the XVIII-th century. Since that time, grey and greyish-pink Serdobol Granite from environs of Sortavala town (previously Serdobol) had widespread application in building. The rock was worked at quarries of the Tulalansaari, Riekkalansaari, Vanisensaari, Janisaari islands and in different places on the western shore of Lake Ladoga from whence it was easily taken by barges to St.Petersburg.There, the stone was used not only in foundations, as previously, but also for monuments, sculptures, plinths of edifices, columns of porticoes, in decoration of the Neva Gate of the Sts.Peter and Paul Fortress, or for building and ornamentation of the fountain in the garden of the Winter Palace.
Since 1784, red granites were transported to St.Petersburg from workings of the Valaam Monastery situated on the Island Puutsaari (Puutsalo), or St.Sergius’Island located near the north-western shore of Lake Ladoga. At first, granite in the form of large blocks went into foundations. For example, it was used by A.Rinaldi who built the third St.Isaac’s church at that time. There after the stone came into wide use as a facing material too.
In last decades of the XVIII-th century, another red granite - rapakivi (rotten or decayed stone in Finnish) appeared in the building of St.Petersburg. It was exploited abroad - in Finland. The best known deposit of the rock was located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland at Fredrikshamn town (Hamina) – it is the Piterluks quarry. From that point the stone was carried by sea. Furthermore, Finnish deposits of another red granite existed at Antrea village and near Kovantsaari Lake. Stone from there was transported by the system of the Vuoksa River and Saimensky Canal to the Gulf of Finland and then by sea to St.Petersburg. In the beginning, the red rapakivi-granite was little used in building. The most remarkable samples of it are the wonderful columns standing inside the Kazansky Cathedral. In 1809, Finland was made a part of Russia, and in 1811 the country joined up within the Russian customs system. Goods, including building materials, came to be imported into Russia duty free. Simultaneously tsarist government had revoked taxes on mining in Finland. After that and for a long time, rapakivi-granite began to play a leading part in the building of St.Petersburg. Made of this granite are the columns, stylobates and steps of St.Isaac’s
Cathedral, as well as the Alexander Column, slabs of pavements and lining of embankments. Rapakivi-granite was also used for pedestals for the majority of statues and monuments in the city.
From the middle of the XIX-th century onwards, the development of another red granite took place. It was worked by the Valaam Monastery on the Syuskyujansaari Island (St.Herman’s Island) not far from the northern shore of Lake Ladoga. That granite was applied for paving of roadways and facing of buildings and embankments. Besides, large monoliths for monuments were cut out of rocks on St.Herman’s Island. Preserved for a long time there was an unique block with a volume of more than 100 m3 which monks had made ready for breaking from the bed rock. In 1952 it was cut up into small blocks of volume ranging from 1 to 0,5 cubic metres or even less.
A deposit of the Karelian, decorative stone, in the true sense, is the crimson-red quartzite-sandstone, known in the Onega area from the end of the XVIII-th century. It is located at the village Shoksha. The stone itself came into general use as Shocksha Quartzite, or Shoksha Porphyry, and in the old days was called “Shokhan”. The deposit is unique; the stone does not occure in large blocks, therefore it is particularly expensive. It was used in rare instances and in small amounts - predominently for monuments. For example, the upper part of the pedestal to the equestrian statue of Nicholas I was fashioned from that stone, together with some marble. Equably unique Karelian stone is black schungitic schist that was called “slate” in days of yore. The only deposit of the rock is in the northern Onega area hear Lake Nigozero (Lake Nig). Slabs for window-sills, door-cases, plinths were made of this rock, but only rarely.
The development of railways gave rise to usage in the St.Petersburg building of the last decades of the XIX-th century of natural stones brought from afar. There were marble from Revel, Estonian limestone, sandstones from Radom (Szydlowiec), Bremen and Württemberg. The rocks listed here possess good decorative properties and are very workable. So the kinds of stone that until then were traditional in the city building were rapidly superseded, the tendency being increasing by the reduction of rates of railway transportations. In a short period between 1896 and 1914, were approximately 200 houses were built in the city the facades of which (sometimes to 5 or 7 storey height) were decorated with granites from Finland and Sweden, Polish and German sandstones, marbles and limestones of Baltic countries and granites from Antrea deposit located on the Karelian Isthmus. Of the former granites serving as the building materials in St.Petersburg, only Sedobolsky stone continued to be used, while rapakivi-granites was almost totally eliminated.
2. Soviet and post-Soviet periods.
During the first years after the Revolution of 1917, natural decorative stone had very limited use. The memorial to those who had fallen in the revolutionary struggle standing now in the middle of the Field of Mars was erected from remnants of monoliths of rapakivi-granites already available in the city. Stones from demolished buildings and constructions were also used. There were specific sources of stone at that time as well. Thus, in 1937 the unique stone monolith serving as a pedestal of the monument to Alexander III disappeared in mysterious way. According to some reports, a pedestal for a monument to F.Lassal was made from it. The latter was to be unveiled by the 20-th anniversary of the October revolution on the site of a chapel standing in front of the Portico in the Perinnaya (Feather-bed) Line. The chapel had been specially dismantled by then. But here is what the newspaper “Literator” (Literary man) reported in 1991 (N 14, 68): 26.10.1946. The Decision of the Lengorispolkom (Leningrad Municipal Executive Committee): “To oblige the management of the Museum of Urban Sculpture to transfer granite blocks from the monument to Alexander III to the Russian Museum.” “4.04.1950. There is the statement that the chief of the department of sculpture of the GRM (State Russian Museum) has delivered three granite blocks, representing parts of the monument to Alexander III for the installation of busts of Heroes in the Heroes Alley in the Moskovsky Park Pobedy (Moscow Park of the Victory in the War of 1941-1945) and for a pedestal to be arranged for the statue of Rimsky-Korsakov near the St.Petersburg Conservatoire” (several other blocks from the same source had been already used in a monument to Lenin and Stalin put up at the Srednyaya Rogatka - the southern “gates” to the city).
Only two big administrative edifices – in Liteyny Prospekt (N 4) and the Moscow Square – should be mentioned among prominent constructions built during the post-Revolution years. Plinths and portals of the houses are richly decorated with granites from newly discovered and developed in the 30s deposits located on the eastern shore of Lake Onega, in areas of Lake Vanozero (Lake Van) and Kashina Mountain. And another rather rare sample of the usage of stone at that time is the facing with slabs of Ukrainian labrodorite of a plinth of the Fashion Atelier in Voznesensky (Ascension) Prospekt (N 46).
Since the beginning of the 1950-s, natural stone – an expensive material – returns gradually in the decor of buildings of different functions, for the city sculptures and memorials. However the sources of stone development change radically. Dolomite from the Saarema Island has a dominent role. Owing to its low cost and workability, the stone is finding increasing application. For instance, it has been used for revetment of such varied buildings as the Theatre of Young Spectators, bath-house with a sauna in Marata Street, Concert Hall Oktyabrsky (October), mechanical-bakery in Ligovsky Prospekt (N 73) and so on. Unfortunately, the stone facing of these featureless buildings produces an equal impression of monotony. Other kinds of stone are represented by Karelian granites, used as facing, and decorative material. Nowadays they are quarried at three sites of the Karelian Isthmus: by the railway station Kuznechnoye (Karlakhta deposit), in the vicinity of Kamennogorsk town (Stone Mountain town) – Kamennogosk deposit, near the railway station Vozrozhdeniye (Renaissance) – Vozrozhdeniye deposit. The most recognizable is a pinkish-grey granite from the Vozrozhdeniye quarry. Monoliths of this stone make up the Obelisk to the 40-th anniversary of the Victory of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 put up in the middle of Ploshchad Vosstaniya (Uprising Square), in front of the Moscow Railway Station. Excellent samples of the Karlakhta Granite use are pedestals to the monuments to V.I.Lenin in the Moscow Square and to M.V.Lomonosov in Mendeleye’s Line on Vasilyevsky Island.
Two more kinds of stones traditional for St.Petersburg return gradually at building sites of the city. One of them is platy limestone produced today at the Putilovo deposit and in quarries in the suburbs of Gatchina. The second rock is the decorative granite from Syyskuujansaari Island situated in the northern part of Lake Ladoga.
A special field of the stone use are the underground halls and surface buildings of the Metro. We will not deal here with this important use and a subject in its own right. The first stations of the Leningrad underground were comissioned in 1955. The tradition of rich stone decoration of underground halls has been continued since that time. Marbles and granites from the Karelia, Ukraine, Urals, Altai, Caucasus, Uzbekistan and Lake Baikal areas all can be seen here.
In the 1990-s, the market of stone changed radically. First of all, usual for Leningrad building sites the dolomites from the Estonian Island Saarema failed. Deliveries of stone from distinct regions of Russia and other republics of the former USSR became sporadic and insignificant. Quarries of granites from the deposits Syysskuujansaari and Vozrozhdeniye remain as before the primary source of stone. Secondly, a buying a stock of stone for restoration works was organized. Those stones were granites from Finland and marbles from Italy. Thirdly, numerous foreign companies and joint Russian-foreign corporations provide access to St.Petersburg of stone for building and facing from different countries from all over the World.