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EMPEROR ALEXANDER II
March 2 (February 18, old style) in 1855, Alexander II entered the throne of the Russian Empire. He entered Russian history as a vehicle for large-scale reforms; in Russian pre-revolutionary historiography he was called the Liberator. But, despite all the merits, Alexander II was very disliked by the Russian revolutionaries. They declared a real hunt for the king. Six attempts were made on the emperor. Two of them: the first and the last, which ended in the death of Alexander II, made a number of changes to the Summer and Mikhailovsky Gardens.
Alexander II often walked around the Summer Garden. In April 1866, Dmitry Karakozov shot the emperor at the central gate of the garden, but missed. In memory of the emperor’s salvation from death on the assassination site, it was decided to erect a chapel. In 1867, on the site of the central gate, a chapel appeared in the name of St. Alexander Nevsky, designed by architect R.I. Kuzmina. To enter the Summer Garden, the side gates of the Neva fence were moved to the chapel.
In 1930, the chapel was demolished, but the central gate was not restored. Throughout the 20th century, the Neva fence stood in an altered form – the side gates were located at the central alley of the Summer Garden. In 2012, the Neva fence regained the central gate, and the side gates took their historical places.
The Mikhailovsky Palace, in which the cousin of the emperor Ekaterina Mikhailovna lived, Alexander II visited often. In March 1881, after breakfast with a cousin, the emperor was mortally wounded on the embankment of the Catherine Canal near the Mikhailovsky Garden.
At the place where the blood of Alexander II was shed, they build the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on Blood. The Mikhailovsky Garden is separated from the church by a wonderful wrought-iron fence in the Art Nouveau style, designed by architect A.A. Parland. This architectural ensemble, to date, serves as an adornment of St. Petersburg.
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