Rostral Columns are two large columns that stand on a Strelka
('arrow' in Russian) of a Vasilevskiy (or Vasilievsky) Island. The name 'rostral'
comes from a Latin rostrum or nose of a ship. In the ancient times of a Ancient
Roman Empire bronze rams were taken from the rams of defeated ships and placed
on columns as a sign of victory. The same tradition continued in Imperial
Russia. Rostral Columns became a symbolic commemoration of Russian naval
These Rostral Columns were designed as a lighthouse in 1810 under
supervision of Thomas de Thomon. Originally oil lamps were placed on top to
bring light to ships. Later these were replaced by gas lamps. At the bottom of
Rostral Columns you can see four symbolic figures that represent four important
Russian rivers: Neva, Volga, Dnieper and Volkhov.