The Watch

Mendeleev Tower

St. Petersburg, Russia

2008 World Monuments Watch

Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev is perhaps most celebrated for his development of the Mendeleev – or Periodic – Table, which categorized elements by their atomic weight. Another of his important legacies is the Mendeleev Institute Clock Tower, based on plans drawn up by the scientist and his colleague S. S. Kozlov and built in 1902. The tower, distinctive for its 24-hour clock face, is topped by an observatory and stands in the middle of the institute’s grounds. From the basement of the building Mendeleev determined “exact time” through calculations related to the rotation of the Earth. It was this clock that set the official time for Russia for many years, and it was the only public clock to remain operational throughout the Siege of Leningrad. The Mendeleev Institute’s buildings have had no major repairs in the past 40 years. As a result, there has been significant and steadily increasing deterioration. The institute cannot rely on any local or federal financing and does not currently generate any income. The clock tower and observatory are constructed of brick under a metal-sheeted roof, with wooden window frames and doors. The roof of the main building leaks badly, while that of the clock tower and observatory has partially blown away. This has allowed for severe water penetration to the top floors. The radioactive isotope storage bunker, adjacent to the front façade, is showing signs of deterioration; the impact of this is not fully understood at present. It is hoped that Watch listing will encourage support for the protection of this landmark of scientific discovery.

Since the Watch

Publicity generated by Watch-listing increased interesting in the building, securing funds for restoration, which finished in spring 2012. August 2012

Join us in keeping watch over mankind’s greatest achievements, and support this call to action.