A new view at the symbols of Russia 14.01.2016

At the very end of last year, on December 30, the Bank of Russia announced issuing eight coins of the Symbols of Russia series - Kizhi,  Kremlin of Kolomna, Mamaev Kurgan, Baikal Lake, Peterhof, Kremlin of Pskov, Kremlin of Rostov and Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura commemorative coins struck at the Mints of Goznak in two variants.  
The coins continue the new Symbols of Russia series of commemorative coins of the Bank of Russia. The first coins of the series Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod and Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov were struck at the Saint-Petersburg Mint of Goznak and announced on September 28, 2015.  

Kizhi,  Kremlin of Kolomna, Mamaev Kurgan, Baikal Lake, Peterhof, Kremlin of Pskov, Kremlin of Rostov and Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura commemorative coins were produced in two variants. The ordinary relief variant was made using laser engraving, and the special variant repeating the images in colour, but without the application of relief.
The coins were produced with the face value of 3 roubles. The craftsmen of the Saint-Petersburg Mint struck them of sterling silver (the weight of the precious metal in purity is 31.1 g, the diameter 39 mm).  The number of coins struck in the ordinary variant was 4,500 of each kind, those in the special variant with the colour image 500 pieces of each kind. Elena Kramskaya, an artist and medalier of the Design Center of Goznak, managed the uneasy task of creating the design of ten coins, each of them in two production variants, successfully.  

According to Elena Kramskaya, it was very interesting to work upon the series, but there was very little time. She wanted to transfer the beauty of the wonderful Russian places to the sketches deliberately.  

The customers the Bank of Russia chose practically all the variants of images. The main criterion was recognizability of a city according to the monuments or architectural ensembles. Elena Kramskaya offered only a variant of an image of the Baikal Lake on the coin. One of the best-recognizable places of the lake was chosen after she had consulted many of her acquaintances.    

On the reverse of all the coins, there is an element, to which the artist paid special attention it is the image frame, the decorative contour. The pattern of the contour shows a fragment of painting, modelling or another decoration of the architectural ensemble or the monument the coin is dedicated to.  

The image of the burial ground of the State Historical, Architectural and Ethnographic Open-Air Museum Kizhi is enframed with elements of carving on the Church of Transfiguration.  
the panorama of the Kremlin of Pskov is enframed with a decorative contour depicting flowers from the ceramic coloured majolica on the facades of the Kremlin.

The façade of the Grand Palace in Peterhof was built in Baroque style. Therefore, the image of the palace and the Grand Cascade on the coin is enframed with a contour with design fragments in the style.
On the decorative contour enframing the images of the panorama of the Kremlin of Kolomna, an architectural fragment of its design is applied.  

On the coin with the image of Motherland is calling! monument of the memorial complex To the Heroes of the Stalingrad Battle on Mamaev Kurgan, the framing is much more modest and austere. The laurel twig on it is made using laser engraving.

The image of the Kremlin of Rostov is surrounded with an indented enframing. It is the contour of the carved wooden roofs of the fortress towers.

The decorative contour on the coin dedicated to Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Laura is with fanciful patterns, which can be seen in books of fairy-tales for children. The Laura itself is a magic place, and its architecture strikes with its fairytale beauty.    
The image of the panorama of the Baikal Lake in the bottom right part is enframed with a contour with the lake outline on a geographical map.

We would like to remind that the first coins of the Symbols of Russia series Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod and Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov were minted of sterling silver. The diameter of each coin is 39 mm, the weight of the precious metal in purity is 31.1 g. The coin dedicated to the Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod in the ordinary variant was minted in the number of 5000 pieces. The same coin in the special variant was minted in the number of 500 pieces. The coin dedicated to the Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov was minted in the numbers of 4500 and 500 pieces, correspondingly. The manufacturing quality of all the coins is proof.

On the reverse of the coin dedicated to the Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod, a part of the Kremlins wall descending to the river is depicted. Around the circumference in the top there is an inscription Symbols of Russia, and in the bottom Nizhegorodskiy Kremlin.

the reverse of the coin dedicated to the Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov in Grozniy is decorated with the image of one of the most beautiful and majestic mosques of Europe and the world, which is called Heart of Chechnya. On this coin, there also are inscriptions corresponding to the name of the series: around the circumference in the top Symbols of Russia, in the bottom Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov.  

As was planned, the coins were produced in both ordinary (relief) and special (coloured) variants. In the opinion of Alexander Baklanov, Head Artist of the Design Center of Goznak, it is not an easy task to create sketches for seemingly the same coins but in different variants.

It is necessary to make the image look advantageously in both relief and colour, said Alexander Baklanov. All details of the image should read very well in relief, and a high-quality coloured image with an interesting aspect angle should be found for the coin with colour printing. only such an experienced artist as Elena Kramskaya (the author of the coin sketches) could manage the task so excellently.  

In fact, if one looks at the Nizhegorodskiy Kremlin coin in ordinary variant, relief provides volume to the image. The Kremlin wall and the watchtower are surrounded with twiggy trees, in the bottom there is a dark river with islands of bushes on the other bank (they are depicted with the help of laser engraving). Even the grassy surface of the hill next to the Kremlin wall looks knobby and voluminous.  

The same image on the special variant of the coin is perceived absolutely differently. It attracts the eye with its colourfulness and colour shades, which create the visual volume. As if we were looking at a photograph or a picture through a round silver window. The impression is increased with a figured pattern containing a floral ornament in the bottom part of the coin, where the inscription Nizhegorodskiy Kremlin is located. It is the border of the window.

On the coin dedicated to the Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov the effect looks even more expressive. The relief orient pattern applied to the coin narrates about the national motifs of the local culture, on the one hand, and on the other, it looks even more like a window, through which we see Heart of Chechnya Mosque, vegetation surrounding it and mountain tops showing white in the background. On the same coin in the ordinary variant, the mosque with its relief shapes, domes and minarets attracts more attention than the general landscape.  

The language of plastics becomes more complicated, believes Alexander Baklanov. Different variants of execution of the same coin show how elegantly and finely one can transmit the general idea using various materials. The application of new equipment and new technologies, on the one hand, makes it easier, and on the other complicates the job of an artist and medalier considerably.

By the way,

The themes of the coins are 10 symbols of Russia chosen by the Russians within the framework of a multimedia competition Russia 10 held in 2013 by the Russian Geographic Society and TV channel Russia. The TV audience and internet users chose 10 most important natural sights and monuments of architecture, history and culture of Russia. Among them there are the Baikal Lake, Mamaev Kurgan and Motherland is calling sculpture, Peterhof, Kizhi, Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura, the Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod, Heart of Chechnya Mosque, the Kremlins of Kolomna, Rostov and Pskov.

The Kremlin is the main sight of Nizhniy Novgorod. The construction works were started at the beginning of the 16th century, and a whole city intended to protect the Russian borders from raids of the Tartars was erected. The two-kilometer-long Kremlin all was enforced with 13 towers -  Georgievskaya, Borisoglebskaya, Zachatskaya, Belaya, Ivanovskaya, Chasovaya, Severnaya, Tainitskaya, Koromyslova, Nikolskaya, Kladovaya, Dmitrovskaya and Porokhovaya (twelve of them remain now). There was a permanent garrison and a large armory in the Kremlin. As soon as the Kremlin lost its military importance, the power structures started to move there. Today there operate an arbitration court, a public prosecution office, the main Civil Registry office, the City Duma, a Philarmonic Hall, an Arts Museum, a post office, a few cafes Here one can bow at the Eternal Fire and walk along the Alley of Love the Kremlin is located at the place of confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers, on a high bank.  

Mosque named after Akhmat Kadyrov in Grozniy was opened on October 17, 2008 and named after the first President of the Republic of Chechnya. Its area is five thousand square meters. It can accommodate 10 thousand people. The same number of believers may gather in the summer gallery attached to the mosque and in the square.  

Heart of Chechnya Mosque is located on a picturesque bank of the Sunzha River, within the territory of a huge park and is a part of the Islamic Complex which also includes the Russian Islamic University named after Kunta-Hadji and the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of the Republic of Chechnya.

The mosue was built in the classical Osman style. The central hall is covered with a dome with the diameter of 15.5 meters at the height of over 23 meters. Each of the four minarets of the mosque is 63 meter-high, these are the highest minarets in Russia. The outer and inner walls of the mosque are covered with banded marble, the interiors are decorated with white marble.

Among the sights of the mosque there are 36 chandeliers made of a few tons of bronze, about 3 kilograms of gold and more than a million Swarovski crystals. The shape of the chandeliers remainds of the three main holy place of Islam -  27 chandeliers imitate Kubbatu-as-Sahra Mosque in Jerusalem, 8 chandeliers are made in the shape of Rovzatu-Nebevi in Medina, and the largest chandelier represents the shape of Kaaba in Mecca.  

During the work upon the first coins of the series, the specialists of Goznak mastered the technology of their unusual execution that was later applied in the production of the rest of the Symbols of Russia coins.
On the whole, all the new series of commemorative coins of the Bank of Russia is of great interest and an undoubted numismatic value.
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