Monument to the legendary Cossack Ermak

The second monument erected in Novocherkassk was dedicated to the Don Cossack Ataman, the Siberia conqueror Ermak. The monument remained till present without any reconstructions and restorations, and has become the trademark of the town.
The Don Cossacks dreamt of erecting the monument in Novocherkassk to the legendary country-man since Don Cossack Army 300th anniversary (1870). But the local citizens’ donations were scarce, due to multiple military campaigns.

The monument project by V.A. Beklemishev was approved, and the grand laying of the monument took place at the Cathedral Square on May 6, 1903, on Emperor Nikolay II birthday. The festive occasion was guided by the Don Cossack Army ataman K.K. Maksimovich. The monument laying site of consecrated by the Assumption Cathedral archpriest G. Fedorov; the Cathedral constructor, military engineer, head of the Ermak monument construction committee, colonel K.H. Limarenko proclaimed the inscription on the inlaid plate, that was immured in a metal case in the monument's foundation.

The Ermak monument grand opening took place a year after that, on May 6, 1904. Early morning the Novocherkassk citizens were awoken by the cannon shots, announcing not only Emperor Nikolay's birthday, but the monument grand opening at the Army Cathedral square as well. The ceremonial procession of the Army circle with the regalia, military banners marched from the Don Museum to the square by the Don Cossack Ataman monument. After proclamation of the eternal memory to the Siberia conqueror, the Don Cossack Army Ataman K.K. Maksimovich opened the curtain on the Ermak monument and the audience could see the stately Ermak image, holding a military banner in one hand and the crown of the conquered Siberia lord in the other. The monumental Ermak image combined the features of the legendary hero Ilya Muromets and the Don Cossack ataman Ermak. The Ataman stood on the granite pedestal, risen up from the cliff, like Ilya Muromets, risen up from ground.

The pedestal was supplemented by a laconic golden inscription, shimmering in the sun: “To Ermak from the Don land citizens, 1904”.

The pedestal was surrounded by massive chains on granite supports, if you go around the monument, you can read the gilded words, written at the back of the monument “To the Don Cossack Ataman Ermak Timofeevich, the Siberia conqueror from the grateful posterity. In honor of Don Cossack Army 300th anniversary. He passed away in Irtysh waves on August 5, 1584”.

Below is the quotation of the Russian historian M.M. Karamzin: “Russia, history and church proclaim eternal memory to Ermak”.


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