The most famous monument in St Petersburg and one of its most recognisable symbols is the equestrian statue of Peter the Great which in English is known as the Bronze Horseman, although in Russian it is called the Copper Horseman, despite being made of bronze. The statue was immortalised in Pushkin's famous poem of the same name, from where the bronze/copper mix up started – Pushkin thought copper had a better ring to it in Russian.
The statue was unveiled in 1782 and commissioned by Catherine the Great. It is the work of the French sculptor Étienne Falconet, who spent 12 years working on it. The statue bears inscriptions in Russian and Latin stating "Catherine the Second to Peter the First, 1782" which was a deliberate attempt by Catherine to connect her rather illegitimate reign with that of her great predecessor. Peter stands on the massive 1250-tonne boulder known as the Thunder Stone, which was transported with difficulty to St Petersburg especially. During the Siege of Leningrad the statue was covered in sandbags and wooden scaffolding, which managed to keep it safe.