Saturday, July 19, 2014

Statues of Historic Figures: Tsar Alexander II Monument - Helsinki, Finland

Tsar Alexander II Monument
Helsinki, Finland

GPS: N60° 10.162; E024° 57.136

Quick Description: 

The large monument to Tsar Alexander II is located in the center of Senate Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Long Description:

The monument of Tsar Alexander II was sculpted by Walter Runeberg and unveiled in Senate Square on the anniversary of the Tsars birthday, April 29, 1894. During his lifetime, Alexander II was the Tsar of Russia, the King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland. He was well loved ruler who is most famous for the emancipation of serfs in 1861. This action gave him the name Alexander the Liberator.

In 1863, Alexander II In 1863, initiated a series of reforms in Finland. He re-opened the Diet of Finland and granted Finland greater autonomy. Finland was able to create its own currency and established a railway system under Finnish control. He also sanctioned making the Finnish the national language, along with Swedish.

Alexander II became a national hero in Finland. After his assassination in 1881, he was replaced with much less tolerant Tsars. The Finnish people would quietly protest Russian rule by venerating the statue of Alexander II in Senate Square, as the good Tsar. He is still considered the good Tsar to the present day in Finland.

A 7' bronze figure of Tsar Alexander II is on top of a large multi-tiered red granite pedestal. The Tsar of a is depicted giving a speech to the Parliament in 1863. He is wearing the uniform of a commissioned officer of the Finnish Guard. A uniform always wore on visits to Finland. He stands with a sword on his left side while gesturing with his right hand. Below Alexander II, around the pedestal, are several, about 7' high, bronze figures representing the law, culture and the peasants.

On the front of the pedestal is inscribed ALEXANDER II. Near the bottom of the base is the date 1863, the year he re-opened the Diet of Finland.

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