POINTS OF INTEREST
Swiss architect Thomas de Thomon designed these columns, which were erected between 1805 and 1810 in honor of the Russian fleet. The monument takes its name from the Latin rostrum, meaning "prow." Modeled on similar memorials in ancient Rome, the columns are decorated with ships' prows; sculptures at the base depict Russia's main waterways, the Dnieper, Volga, Volkhov, and Neva rivers. Although the columns originally served as lighthouses—until 1855 this was St. Petersburg's commercial harbor—they are now lit only on special occasions, such as City Day (May 27). The columns were designed to frame the architectural centerpiece of this side of the embankment—the old Stock Exchange, which now holds the Naval Museum.