A rostral column is a naval monument glorifying victory at sea. They were first used by the Romans and Greeks during the Hellenistic period (323 BC to 146 BC). Two of the most famous are the pair on Strelka, the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. The beacons were created in 1811 to mark the channels for Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva, two armlets of the Neva River flowing through central Saint Petersburg. On special occasions, a gas flame rises 23 feet above the 105 foot red towers.