Common grave of the Russian warriors

The first monument built on the Poltava Battle field is a common grave of the Russian warriors. The day after the Battle of Poltava, Tsar Peter I ordered the burial of the dead officers and soldiers in two separate graves close to each other. According to legend, Tsar Peter I himself mounted a large wooden cross on the top of the mound.

The first, unrealized attempt to create a monument on the common grave of Russians was carried out on the eve of the centennial of the battle. In 1809 a competition for the best project proposal for the Monument to the Killed Russian Warriors was announced. Many famous architects, among others Giacomo Quarenghi, Luigi Ruska, Petr Pyatnitsky and Vasiliy Stasov took part in the competition. First place won the project by architect Vasіliy Stasov, who used an idea to erect a mausoleum over the last resting place of the fallen warriors, expressed by Poltava local architect Mikhail Amvrosimov. For this project Vasiliy Stasov was awarded the title of academician. However, due to the Franco-Russian war (1812), this project was not implemented.

The monument on the common grave of the Russian warriors was reconstructed in 1828 and 1856, but the most significant reconstruction of the monument took place in 1894. The monument by design of Nikolai Nikonov was manufactured in the Andrew Barinov’s stone cutting workshop in Saint Petersburg. All manufacturing costs were paid by the rich landowner Joseph Sudienko who donated 100,000 roubles on beautification of the area around the common grave. Unfortunately, due to the poor quality of construction, heavy granite cross made of Finnish granite began to subside, so in 1906 it was decided to open the burial mound, reinforce the foundation of the memorial, and build an inner chapel with a spherical vault. In the following year the burial mound was rebuilt, and a small chapel in the name of St. Peter and Paul was constructed inside of the mound. Wall paintings in the inner chapel were created under the supervision of the artist Alexei Sokol. The final reconstruction of the memorial was completed in 1909 on the eve of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the battle. The chapel was consecrated on September 3rd, 1907.

During 1930s the inner chapel was used by Poltava Pig Breeding Institute as a warehouse for the storage of fuel and lubricants.  Due to misuse of the chapel, the wall paintings, altar, and waterproofing were destroyed or seriously damaged. The granite cross cracked at the foot and blackened after the fire in the chapel. The mound was partially reconstructed in 1959. The thorough restoration of the monument was donated by the company «Factor Capital» and completed by the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava in June 2009.

The 6,4 meter height mound is crowned with the 7,5 meter height  light gray granite cross, mounted on the pyramid, on the western facet of which there is an inscription on the Old Russian language: “Pious warriors shed their blood here on June 27th 1709”. The eastern side of the pyramid bears the following inscription: “Brigadier Felengheim, Colonels Nechaev and Lov, Lieutenant Colonel Kozlov, and Majors Kropotov, Erst and Geldt are buried here. 45 officers, 1,293 privates and corporals, all in all 1,345 Russians are buried here.” A carefully crafted granite stairway leads to the top of the monument. This is only common grave of those who were fighting in the Battle of Poltava.