Deserted monument to tyrant,
The palace committed to oblivion.
Such was the castle that Pushkin would see 20 years later. But so far we see squares of infantry, the emperor with his family, prayer, and ceremonial salute. The inscription cut on the stepping stone said: “On February 26, 1797 the foundation for St. Michael’s Castle was laid.” February 26 under the Julian calendar stands for March 9. Emperor Pavel, not yet crowned, is in a hurry. He makes drawings that titled architects Bazhenov and Brenna would later take into account, and hastens the builders. The next morning, the pick axes and spades would bite into the frozen ground. He wants to die where he was born – for the sake of future Saint Michael’s Castle the Summer Palace of Empress Elizabeth built by famous Rastrelli, the one he was born in, has been brought down. If he could only know how close he was to the accomplishment of his desire! The tobacco box broke through the emperor’s temple on March 12, 1801 at night. The dawn of the fortieth day after the housewarming party was beginning to rise. After Pavel’s death his family returned to the Winter Palace, while the mob started plundering Saint Michael’s Castle. Alexander I put an end to disturbances. 20 years later he ordered to hand the building over to the Head Engineering School. After that people started calling the building Engineering Castle. The premises of the building were re-designed. Among the graduates of Engineering School there were many celebrities, though not all of them distinguished themselves in engineering. It was the alma mater of writers Dostoyevsky and Grigorovich, composer Cesar Cui. However, there were talented engineers among them as well – for instance, Eduard Totleben, famous military engineer and hero of Crimean War, or Pavel Yablochkov, inventor of the arc lamp, known as Yablochkov lamp, and other electrotechnical devices. There were scientists in this list as well – for instance, the founding father of Russian physiology, Ivan Sechenov.