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Updated: 29.10.2003

The Baltic Sea battleship of Peter the Great

The young Tsar Peter had a vision of a new Russia. One of his dreams was of a powerful Russian navy. After travelling extensively around Europe, he spent time in Britain and Holland learning shipbuilding skills and techniques. In 1703, back in Russia, he commissioned his first navy ship, the frigate Shtandart.

The original was designed by Peter the Great himself and completed at the Olonet shipyard on the Svir river in August 1703 by the Dutch master Vibe Gerense. The ship was named Shtandart after a new royal standard which showed all four seas Russia now had access to. It was in service during the First Northern War and for 16 years it was the flagship of the Russian navy. After being retired, it remained in the Kronverk Canal behind the Peter and Paul fortress in St.Petersburg. By 1728 it had deteriorated so much that further preservation was impossible. Orders were given for a replica to be built, but they were never carried out.

Only in November 1994, 275 years after it sailed for the last time, the actual reconstruction of the Shtandart finally could take a start thanks to the donations of several companies and institutions. Six years of hard work in all seasons followed, even in frosts of -25 C. The team, rapidly becoming professional, used the same materials and methods as the original flagship. For planking they used timber from a forest planted by Tsar Peter to supply his navy. To fasten the planking, 8000 massive 8-inch nails were made by hand.

The replica Shtandart was named on 30 May 1998 by the ship's two patrons, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, and the Governor of St. Petersburg Vladimir Yakovlev. On September 4 1999, Shtandart was launched. An enthusiastic crowd of 40.000 people came to see the ceremony as Shtandart was picked up by a giant crane and lowered into the Neva.

Related links: Official site

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