The statue's pedestal is the enormous Thunder Stone, claimed to be the largest stone ever moved by man (1,250 t). Before carving, the stone weighed about 1500 tonnes. It was carved during transit to its current site.
For the pedestal, an enormous boulder known as the Thunder Stone was found at Lakhta, 6 km (3.7 mi) inland from the Gulf of Finland in 1768. The Thunder Stone gained its name from a local legend that thunder split a piece off the stone. Falconet wanted to work on shaping the stone in its original location, but Catherine ordered it be moved before being cut.
As it was embedded to half its depth in the ground and the area was marshy terrain, the Russians had to develop new methods to dig up and transport the colossal stone.
The Thunder Stone is sometimes claimed to be the "largest stone ever moved by man". This stone was large and heavy; it was effectively moved 6 km (3.7 mi) overland to the Gulf of Finland by manpower alone; no animals or machines were used. Transported by barge up the Neva River, it reached St. Petersburg. The entire effort is considered an historic engineering feat.