Thursday, July 10, 2014

St. Petersburg, more from the first day~~~~~~~~

St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world, with a vast gold
(220 pounds were used) cupola surrounded by statues of angels. It took 40 years to construct.  
It's not only an active church but also a museum housing artistic and religious treasures.
For services on major ecclesiastical occasions, the main area can accommodate
14,000 standing worshippers.

 Paintings beginning to fade have been made into mosaics.

Beautiful biblical scenes fill the cupola's interior making this one of 
St. Petersburg's most decorated churches.

The silver dove at the top, symbol of the 
Holy Spirit, although appearing small is actually 6 feet long.

Palace Square is the central square of St. Petersburg and the setting of many
worldwide events of significance including Bloody Sunday in 1905, and the
October Revolution of 1917.

The red granite column, Alexander Column (1830-1834), is the tallest of
its kind in the world, 47.5 meters, and weighs 500 tons.

 Leaving the beauty of ornate palaces above ground, we were taken into the
St. Petersburg metro system to view one of the many stops, Admiralty Station.
This is the deepest underground rail system in the world, 105 meters down, and we
were on that escalator for what seemed eternity.

Going down, down, down……….
then at the bottom were amazed at the station which was spotlessly clean, relatively
quiet, and decorated with ornate columns and beautiful mosaics depicting Russian history. 
There are stations even more elaborate than this one, and the fare to travel anywhere,
any distance, is the equivalent of just 93 cents, a huge travel bargain.


Architecturally, this cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city is
predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but this amazing place harks back to medieval
Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism, and resembles Moscow's
well known St. Basil's Cathedral.  I visited that wonderful place last year.
This church stands on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 13, 1881
as his carriage passed along the embankment of the Griboedov Canal.

This church reopened in 1997 after 27 years of restoration but has not been reconsecrated and
does not function as a full-time place of worship - it is a museum of mosaics. During the
Russian Revolution of 1917 the church was ransacked and looted, the interior badly damaged.
During WWII, when many people were starving due to to Siege of Leningrad, the church was
used as a temporary morgue, and suffered more significant damage.
Dedicated exclusively to the memory of assassinated Tsar, it is now one of the main tourist
attractions in St. Petersburg.

 The church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics - according to its restorers, more
than another church in the world. The walls and ceilings are completely covered in intricately
detailed mosaics - main pictures being biblical scenes or figures - but with very fine patterned
borders setting off each picture.

Top of the elaborate shrine constructed over the spot where Alexander was assassinated.
I certainly would have enjoyed more time here to view such splendor and detailed mosaic art.

Thank you for your comments on the beautiful places I'm enjoying sharing with you. Being on a 
tour is of course somewhat restrictive. If I'm ever able to return to this amazing city I would love 
to actually stay in the area and have more free time to see everything in more detail.

Next time……a perfect sunny day dawned and we were off on the waterways to Peterhof Palace.


  1. Wow, how beautiful the church is and it's wonderful if somewhat sad history....Love the tours and info.

  2. Unbelievable! I'm sure it is so inspiring in person. Enjoy and thank you for taking us on your adventures.

  3. Wow! The magnificence! It would take time to take it all in with such detail.
    It is amazing!

  4. This is why I love the Russians' sense of art with all that glorious color and detail all crowded together so magnificently. Just beautiful!

  5. Gorgeous photo's love your new header too,haven't checked in for awhile have lots of catching up to do.
    Hope all is well with you Mary?
    Annie x

  6. The cathedrals are amazing, the color, the mosaics, and the cleanliness of the metro system is quite unbelievable. Thank you so much for these splendid photos.
    Farm Gal in VA

  7. Incredibly awe inspiring imagery Mary. Almost like being inside a Faberge egg. I dream of St Petersburg.

  8. Mary, Thank you so much for sharing your amazing travels. These pictures are magnificent. B

  9. Unbelievable! Thank you so much for sharing these photos!


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