HISTORY

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The predecessor of the St. Petersburg Committee for the State Inspection and Protection of Historic Monuments (KGIOP) was the Department of Museums and Landmark Protection, Russia’s first government agency in charge of landmark conservation, established November 15th, 1918.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
S. Chekhonin. Poster of the Society for research, Promotion and art protection of old St. Petersburg and Its suburbs. 1923
 
 

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Department catalogued landmarks, took steps to conserve property confiscated from churches when they were closed down by the government, and established historical lifestyle museums at the Stroganov, Sheremetev, Shuvalov, and other palaces. In 1935, the Department finalized its list of government-protected landmarks, a register that has retained its historical and field value to this day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
N. Trotsky. А. Sutugin House. Scale drawing. 1920
 
 
 

The Department was a highly productive research institution. Its landmark history findings, including measurements, photographs, and conservation and restoration correspondence, made up the bulk of the Landmark Conservation Archives, established in 1936.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leningrad during Great Patriotic War. St. Isaac’s Square. Photo by М. Trakhman. June 1942

 

The 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia became a watershed in the history of Leningrad’s landmark conservation effort. In the earliest days of the Russian chapter of WWII, the city moved to protect its landmarks by masking, hiding and building over. More measurements and photographs were taken, and emergency procedures were devised. An emergency trouble-shooting detachment was set up to promptly repair damaged architectural landmarks. Meanwhile, research continued, and careful records were kept of the war damage.

The Department of Museums and Landmark Protection was replaced by a Government Landmark Inspection Office (GIOP) in November 1943, the only difference being that the new body was part of the City Architecture Office, while its predecessor had reported to the Arts Committee.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
V. Serov. Poster «We’ve defended Leningrad. We will restore it!». 1944

 

After the war, GIOP joined forces with restoration artists to develop a methodology for restoring buildings and structures. GIOP also worked to expand the government list of landmarks and continued research on Leningrad’s historical and architectural heritage.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Catherine Palace. Work on the reconstruction of the Grand Hall ceiling. Photo. Early 1970s
 
 

It was in Leningrad that the expertise was developed to be subsequently used as the framework for many governmental organizational and methodological documents on conservation and restoration of historical and cultural landmarks.

On April 11th, 1988, GIOP was renamed Office for Government Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks, and re-subordinated to the Central Authority for Landmark Protection, Use and Restoration, a new body established under Resolution № 281 of the Executive Committee of the Leningrad City Council.

In 1996, the Mayor of St. Petersburg issued a directive under № 62р to re-designate the Office as an independent body. Under order № 10 dated January 24th, 1997, issued by the Governor of St. Petersburg, the body was reformed and renamed ‘Committee for  the State Inspection and Protection of Historic Monuments’ (KGIOP).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Employees of the  GIOP. Photo. 1969