Catherine Park in details and symbols
From idea to its implementation
The Catherine Park of Tiraspol is one of the large-scale and ambitious projects implemented in Pridnestrovie on behalf and under the direct supervision of the PMR President Vadim Krasnoselsky. The main park of the republic was built in honor of Catherine the Great. The Sredinnaya fortress was laid in 1792 by the order of the empress, around which the future capital of Pridnestrovie developed over time.
The fortress was designed by a Dutchman in the Russian service, Franz De Volan, while the construction was inspected by the outstanding Russian commander Alexander Suvorov.

The construction of the fortress lasted three years and on September 20 (old style), 1795, the Russian imperial standard rose up as a sign of the completion of work on it. In the same year the fortress outer settlement was granted the status of a city. At that time the place was first mentioned as Tiraspol.

The bust of Franz De Volan
Plan of the Sredinnaya fortress and outer settlement. Archive of Evgeny Smolin
The Catherine era has called the golden age of the Russian Empire. This was a time of significant strengthening of Russia's international authority, major territorial acquisitions, and the resolution of long-standing foreign policy issues. At that time, Pridnestrovie was affiliated with Russia, the formation of the Pridnestrovian community of peoples began, which was facilitated by the policy of the Russian authorities.

It is no coincidence that the coat of arms of Russia is one of the main decorative elements of the Catherine Park.

Stylistically, the elements of the park as hypertext refer us to the Catherine's era, to the origins of the Pridnestrovian multicultural identity. Let's give a short story about what can be read in arches, sculptures, miles of time and other aesthetic elements of the Catherine Park.

The monument to Catherine II in the de Volan Square
The idea of ​​creating the Catherine Park belongs to the President of the PMR Vadim Krasnoselsky. The Head of State announced it in 2018. The project, which at first seemed impossible to many, was successfully implemented.
The President supervised the project personally. For the short time a waste land in the Tiraspol’s center was converted into a modern rest place. The park became a favorite place among Pridnestrovians. There have never been so many people in center even on holidays.
“Anyone should be proud of their history and develop it. Tiraspol has its own history. But unfortunately we were only able to talk about this history. We talked about the fortress: there was some kind of something. Nobody really saw the layout of this fortress. We talked about the city founding by Catherine and Suvorov, about the soldiers of the Catherine era, about the history of Tiraspol in the context of the Russian Empire ... Everyone was just talking and it was all in theory. But, unfortunately, we could not see or feel anything. And so the idea was born to create a complex called the Catherine Park, which, in essence, would become a tourist attraction for residents of Pridnestrovie and for foreign citizens.”
— Vadim Krasnoselsky, the President of the PMR
In 2018, there began the development of a master plan for the future park in Tiraspol, the main symbol of which was the monument to the empress. In general, the park is made in the Baroque style with elements of classicism inherent in the Catherine era. Its total area is more than 19 hectares of land; de Volan Square and Suvorov Square became its component parts. Locals have already called this place the Pridnestrovian Versailles.
Development plan of the Catherine Park
Chief architect of Tiraspol, Vitaly Goncharov undertook the design of the park. The first object on the specialist's technical drawing was the statue of Catherine II. The architect immediately determined its location - in the center of the de Volan square opposite the bronze monument to Alexander Suvorov. For the first time, this symbolism was voiced by the Head of State Vadim Krasnoselsky as the author of the idea.
“The historical action takes place in the very center of the square. The Field-Marshal Suvorov is riding a through the triumphal arch to Catherine the Great with a report on the formation of the Sredinnaya Fortress.”
— Vadim Krasnoselsky, the President of the PMR
The monument to Alexander Suvorov in the center of the Catherine Park
The monument to Catherine II in the de Volan Square
The main symbol of the Catherine Park is a monument to the Russian empress. It is 4.5 meters high (from ground to top). The majestic one and a half ton bronze monument depicts Catherine II on the throne of the Russian Empire. Its base is made of gray-black granite. Initially, several options were offered. This particular color scheme was the final choice. In her right hand, Catherine the Great holds the symbol of the monarch's state power - orb; in her left hand, the queen holds a document on the construction of the Sredinnaya Fortress.

The monument was made by the Kiev workshop according to the sketches of the chief architect of Tiraspol.

The monument was officially opened on September 1, 2020. The solemn ceremony was attended by the President of the PMR Vadim Krasnoselsky and his wife Svetlana. Sharing his impressions with other participants in the event on the opening day of the Catherine Park, the Head of State spoke about his personal feeling that he was familiar with every stone, every tile, every plate in the park.
Opening of the monument to Catherine II in the de Volan Square
September 1, 2020
Earlier, there was a bust to Catherine II in the de Volan Square. Now there is a bust to Grigorii Potemkin on this place. It’s located in front of the bust to Franz de Volan.

The bust to Catherine II stood in the de Volan Square till September, 2020
His Serene Knyaz Grigory Alexandrovich Potemkin-Tavrichesky was the husband of the Great Empress. "A friend of mine! My idol!"- that`s how Catherine called him affectionately. In the square of de Volan, Grigory Potemkin is historically at the right hand of his wife, being her support and a devoted person.

A talented administrator and statesman put forward a number of projects for the development of the newly acquired lands of the Northern Black Sea region and Crimea. Among his ideas are the creation of a network of fortresses on the Dniester and settlements of Christian peoples in Pridnestrovie. So in 1792, there was founded the Armenian city of Grigoriopol, the Black Sea Cossack army was created with a koshevoy residence in Slobodzeya at the suggestion of Potemkin.
The bust to Grigorii Potemkin-Tavricheski in the de Volan Square
Thus, in the very center of Tiraspol there are monuments to all outstanding historical figures who made their special contribution to the city of Tiraspol.
There are the entrance groups on the same line with them - triumphal arches that unite the two sides of the park into a single composition. They are like portals marking the entrance to the space of the Catherine Park.
The main central 12.5-meter arch is located at the entrance to the de Volan Square between the busts of Grigory Potemkin and Franz de Volan. Its load-bearing structures are made of granite, sandstone and chateaux stone. They are hollow inside and have entrances on the back.
The openwork metal arch was made at the Pridnestrovian Luchaferul souvenir factory. In the middle of the iron structure, there is a hallmark of the entire park: the letter E (Ekaterina) with the Roman numeral II (Second). These are elements of the personal symbolism of the Russian Empress.

There are two bronze empress's guards in the niches of this arch. They are soldiers of the elite units of the time of Catherine II. Each statue is 2.30 m high and weighs 800 kg.

Monogram of Catherine II on the arch the de Volan Square
Bronze statues of the empress's guards in the niches of the main central arch of the Catherine Park
The wooden grenadiers come to the aid of the bronze ones. A soldier of selected infantry and cavalry units is a monumental sculpture 1.5 m high and 80 cm wide. By the way, the project to make sculptures from old trees is included in the program for the Catherine Park improvement.
Wooden sculptures of grenadiers in the Catherine Park
To date, work in the de Volan square, which has become part of the Catherine Park, has been fully completed. There a modern playground and exercise equipment for workout training were installed by order of the PMR President Vadim Krasnoselsky. The once broken sidewalks and alleys are completely paved with colored sidewalk tiles. Lawns and ornamental shrubs have been planted.

Benches and lamp posts appeared in the park, on which there is also placed monogram of Catherine II.
De Volan Square is a cozy and quiet part of the Catherine Park. There mothers with small children walk, older people relax in the shade of trees, young people walk along the riverwalk.
de Volan Square
The bridge leading across the Dniester has also become stylized for the Catherine era. Now its sides are framed by openwork railings, and new lanterns are lit at night.
The busiest part of the Catherine Park is the part, located behind the monument to Alexander Suvorov.

The official entrance to this park area is the second triumphal arch, located along Karl Marx Street (on the Green Market side).
After passing through the arch, people walk on the alley of six fountains. They are relaxing sound of streaming water intertwines with a meditative panoramic view of the fountain group.

The fountains are designed as flat. The depth of the bowls is about half a meter. There are lighting and special sprayers in each of them.

This place looks especially magical at night.
Architect Vitaly Goncharov says that initially, there were designed four cascade fountains in the central part of the park. Each of them is 40 m long. However, there were certain difficulties with underground communications. As a result, it was decided to build six shorter fountains.

Ten arches are installed between the fountains. In the future, their light-footed openwork capitals create the appearance of one lightweight arch. Hardly anybody notices the image of a horse's head on the sides of these arches. Looking closely, it becomes surprising how you could have missed them before. And, perhaps, the lanterns on the arches have two functions at once. During the day, they look like vessels from which animals drink water.
If we consider the Central Park as a separate object, then it is also divided into several zones. Its central part was symmetrically divided and two rotundas were installed. They are round gazebos on columns. Such constructions is an attribute of many parks in the world. The Pridnestrovian designers chose the form of a covered gazebo, making the roof in the form of a dome.

One of the rotundas, at the suggestion of the Head of Tiraspol, Oleg Dovgopol, was made in the form of a falling fountain. This “crying” rotunda is children`s particular passion. It is impossible to just walk past it and not penetrate the waterfall into the inner space of the gazebo.
Not far from the “crying” rotunda, there has been set up a stage where official events and the city creative teams will perform.
Stage in the Catherine Park
The "crying" rotunda is placed near the lakeside promenade. The lakeside promenade is one of the picturesque places of the park. It is an ideal place for calmly walk, watching for swans. The birds are already so used to people that they have become almost pet. It is still planned to strengthen the coastal zone in the future, to plant willows.
"Last year, we have cleared the lake, this year we made a pier, removed about 50 trucks of silt, cleaned up the lake to 4.5 m deep."
— Vitaly Goncharov, chief architect of Tiraspol
Eparchial Lake in the Catherine Park
The pier is white and airy as the swans, living in the lake. Perhaps it is one of the favorite photo zones of the residents of Tiraspol and guests of the city. It is always crowded here: both in the daytime and in the evening.

On holidays, the State Symphony Orchestra performed at the pier. It enhanced the romantic charm of the location.
Pier on the Eparchial Lake
The Sredinnaya fortress in miniature
Alleys will bring you from the lake to the miniature model of the Tiraspol fortress. The church in the middle is surrounded by buildings. Everything is made of sawn stones. The goal of the designers of this object was not to recreate the fortress from authentic materials but to show the objects Tiraspol began from.

During the ceremony of Catherine park opening a symbolic key to the fortress was presented to President of PMR Vadim Krasnoselsky.
"I am convinced that this location will be the central place for everyone. There are no such fortresses models in the post-Soviet space. Everyone can come here and see where Tiraspol began from: army barracks, buildings, the first church."
— Vadim Krasnoselsky, the President of the PMR
"It was decided to build it, and as a result, the exhibition center fit well into the general concept of the park," Vitaly Goncharov, Tiraspol chief architect summarizes.
Not all the facilities of the Central Park were included in the initial development plan. So, the exhibition complex was added.

There will be hold art exhibitions and various cultural events. The republic created by the people first exposition is devoted to the 30 anniversary of the PMR. There are documentary materials showing the events preceding the creation of the republic, as well as illustrating the period of its further formation.
The exhibition center in the Catherine Park
Near the exhibition center, there is a decorative grotto. It was one of the first designed objects of the capital park complex.

This place is very popular on a hot day. Here you can relax, taste cool water.

It reminds numerous natural sources of the northern regions of Pridnestrovie.
The grotto in the Catherine Park
The designers of the Catherine Park transformed the old rostrum placed parallel to the City House of Culture. From the Soviet monument, it became a noticeable part of the Catherine Park. Moreover, an important element appeared at the rostrum. Now here there is a niche with the Wayside Cross.

During the reconstruction of the rostrum, the builders found retaining wall fragments of the Holy Virgin’s Protection Memorial Church of the end of the 18th century. There was a special niche with a Wayside Cross at the entrance to the temple. The church was destroyed during the church repressions of the Soviet period. The return of the cross to its historical place (we are talking about the modern cross) is a tribute to the past and Orthodox traditions.
Renovated rostrum situated parallel to the City House of Culture and the Wayside Cross in its niche
Vitaly Goncharov notes that in order to have time for the official opening of the park on September 2, eight contracting organizations have worked day and night.
"In this part of the park there are a relief terrain. Here you can find a sideway to Bochkovsky Lane (Hero of the Soviet Union - approx. Ed.). So we decided to make a health trail here to give athletes the opportunity to relax during the way down, and force them to use the effort when going up," architect Vitaly Goncharov says.
You can spend active time in a sports part. There are mini football, volleyball and basketball stadiums, a running track, playgrounds for workout and table tennis, a chess field with huge figures. The kilometer-long health trail, divided into several inclined sections is an object of designer’s special pride.

Young people were able to assess the new skating rink. According to the authors of the project, in winter it will be able to transform into an ice skating rink. Moreover, it is an excellent place for open-air circus performances.

After workout, you can have a rest in the shadow of garden-house in the sports area of the park.
According to the architect, this part of Catherine Park is only 80% completed. It was no time to complete the construction of a children's amusement park this year. To date, all concrete work has been completed: there has been made a foundation and a bowl for the future fountain. This fountain will be made in the form of a three-headed Zmei Gorynich.
"The head of the Russian hero Svyatogor with his luxurious mustache will be used as a climbing wall. It is known that the entrance group will be fabulous, but the most part of the locations of the future children's amusement park remains in secret. This will be a surprise to the citizens. Work is underway. I think we will launch this object next year,"
— Vitaly Goncharov, chief architect of Tiraspol
Construction of children's amusement park
External finishing work of the restaurant complex has almost been completed, internal works are planned to be finished only next year. This object is designed so that you can also rest on the roof of the building in a warm time. There is an amazing view on the entire Catherine Park.
The Restaurant complex and the view from its roof on the Catherine Park
Creation of the green maze with 660 meters long corridors is also in process. Last year, small bushes 150-200 mm were planted. During this time, they reached 1.2 m height.
"I think in a year and a half, we will see green walls higher than human growth which will form a real maze. There will be recreation areas with benches, flowerbeds. In its central part, there will be a pyramid and a bell. You should hit the bell to report the maze has been passed."
— Vitaly Goncharov, chief architect of Tiraspol
The future green maze
The lake behind the future restaurant complex is also landscaped. It has already been cleaned up. In plans to plant willows, strengthen the banks with stone, stoke a pond with fish.
The lake behind the restaurant complex
Landscape designers work in the park. They have yet to establish various elements of decor like large boulders brought from Kamenka quarry. In addition, in the park, there will be located amphorae and bowls in style of Catherine the Great’s era.
Do not forget that the creation of the Catherine Park started with the construction of a fountain complex near the Tiraspol cinema. Its official opening took place on September 2, 2019: on the Republic Day. Then tens of thousands of citizens gathered at the event. Since that time, the center of Tiraspol has become a popular place among citizens and foreign guests. Every weekend, up to the cold, Pridnestrovian artists performed near the fountain.
The fountain complex near the Tiraspol cinema
The roadway dividing lane, paved with original ornament tiles, has become one of the important elements of the Catherine Park.
"Yellow stripes in paving tiles are a kind of time marks which noted development and formation of Tiraspol. They end with pillars. Оn the right side there is the history of Pridnestrovie during the Russian Empire, and on the left side there is the history of the Soviet Union and modern Pridnestrovie. Different eras that unite the multinational Pridnestrovian people. And the national patterns laid out in tiles in the center of Tiraspol are essentially a symbol of the Pridnestrovian people, united the history. In this ornament there are composed traditions, culture, and customs of all Pridnestrovian nationalities living on the territory and making up the Pridnestrovian people."
— Vadim Krasnoselsky, the President of the PMR
It should be noted that the next 125 years after Pridnestrovie had become a part of Russia in the era of Catherine on our territory a single multi-ethnic sociocultural community had been formed. It formed the Pridnestrovian nation lately.
The Milepost Pillars of Time in some manner continues the yellow stripes. They are located on both sides of the carriageway. In total there are 34 pillars. The main events of the PMR history, from the period of the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and modern Pridnestrovie, are inscribed on them.
"The main periods of the Tiraspol’s life as the capital of the district center, the capital of Moldovan autonomy, and now the capital of Pridnestrovie are indicated on the Milepost Pillars of Time. The inscriptions start from the moment the fortress was laid, then showed the transformation of the city into a district center and the main milestones of its social life. For example, the visits to our region of the emperors Alexander I in 1718 and Nicholas II in 1904."
– Alla Melnichuk, the director of the Tiraspol Joint Museum
Верстовые столбы времени
"These pillars are installed also for those who only comprehend the history of Pridnestrovie. They can lern it not only from textbooks, in libraries and a museum, but also in everyday life. The earlier a person begins to comprehend history at such an ordinary level, the earlier he takes it for granted. This is important."
– Alla Melnichuk, the director of the Tiraspol Joint Museum
Honestly, the idea of pillars creation appeared lately. Initially, Milepost Pillars of Time were designed just as elements of the park. They must be part of the bus stops.
A bus stop designed in the form of a carriage
“This is painstaking work. Each part of a pillar was made separately, and each pillar consists of many separate details."
— Vitaly Goncharov, chief architect of Tiraspol
Separate architectural forms (carriages, pillars, horses on the arches) create one general picture of the road, personifying the symbol of moving forward.
"Initially there were proposed two variants of the bus stops. The first was in a passage style. Passage is a light building of the 18th and early 19th centuries, which has a transparent roof, a glass lantern resting on columns. But in the end, bus stops stylized as carriages were chosen."
— Vitaly Goncharov, chief architect of Tiraspol
Expansion of the park will continue. On behalf of the President, the embankment and the city beach will enter the park complex. These are the next stages of the common style landscaping of the Tiraspol center. In the meantime, welcome to the renovated center of Tiraspol!
“The projects could be bright and exact. But this always is something illusive. We set goals, pursue them, but we can’t predict a result. And now we can see a result of herculean task. Everyone who believed and worked on realization of the project and those who wasn’t sure, protested and criticized now could see it. The center of Pridnestrovian capital had infrastructural changes and this is fact. The ruins and empty places was replaced by comfort and beauty. Catherine park includes Suvorov and De Volans square and become not only leisure but also historical-cultural and educational center”
– the President Vadim Krasnoselsky told walking in Catherine park.
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