Cathedrals and Churches, Saint Petersburg

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  • The view from the fortress to the Rostral columns
    The view from the fortress to the...
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    Lutheran Church of St. Peter

    by Skillsbus Written Jul 26, 2013

    There is a church where in the soviet times the swimming pool used to be. It’s the oldest in the city Lutheran Church of St. Peter. The previous building (which is destroyed by now) was built in 1728 – 1730 by the architect Domenico Tresini.

    The current building was put in 1838. The architect is Alexander Bryulov.

    In 1938 the church was closed. First, there was the vegetable storage in here, but later the swimming pool of the Baltic Sea Steamship line was opened in the cathedral. The church has survived all of this, and was returned to the German Lutheran community in 1992. Nowadays it’s the major cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia.

    Next to the church in 1999 there was placed the bust to J. Goethe. It’s an expressive and unusual bust; do pay attention to it if passing by.

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    Peter & Paul Cathedral

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 1, 2013

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    Our visit was included in an afternoon tour of the city including the Peter & Paul Cathedral.

    Walking towards the cathedral it did not strike me as "anything special", however upon entry the "WOW" factor hit. Such a beautiful place full of history. beautifully restored.

    Easy to spend an hour or two here.

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    Peter & Paul Cathedral - Crypts

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 1, 2013

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    The Royal Family have been buried within the Cathedral for centuries. An impressive burial place which is seen and photographed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The banners and engraving are in Russian, it would be nice to have an English transcription.

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    St Petersburg mosque

    by Skillsbus Written Dec 25, 2012

    The Saint Petersburg Mosque, when opened in 1913, was the largest mosque in Europe. The mosque is situated in downtown St Petersburg, so its azure dome is perfectly visible from the Trinity Bridge across the Neva. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers.

    The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian capital exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. The architect Nikolai Vasilyev patterned the mosque after Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane in Samarkand. Its construction was completed by 1921.

    Worshippers are separated by gender during a worship service; females worship on the first floor, while the males worship on the ground floor. The St. Petersburg Mosque was closed and was made into a warehouse during the Second World War. At the request of the people the mosque was returned to the Muslim community of the city in 1956. A major restoration of the mosque was carried out in 1980.

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    St George Church

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 27, 2012

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    St.George's church is of modern constuction having been built in 1994. The temple became the first stone church built in the city since 1917.
    The temple was erected in memory of the great Victory, over its 50-years anniversary. It is interesting to note, what exactly on May, 6th, 1945 the government K.Denitsa's gross-admiral had declared for the whole world defeat of Germany and its readiness for capitulation.

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    Church of the Nativity of Christ

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 27, 2012

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    The Church of the Nativity of Christ is situated in the Sredniya Rogatka area not far from the Monument of the Herioc defenders of Leningrad. Its of fairly modern contruction having been built in 1999. The architect was A.M.Lebedev.
    Here also you will find other what i would call "picturesque churches".
    The attched website is in russian only.

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    Mosque St. Petersburg

    by Odiseya Written Nov 25, 2012

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    Mosque St. Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́ргская мече́ть), opened in 1913th . This building was the largest mosque in Russia. It have a 49 m high minarets and 39 m high dome. It can accommodate 5000 faithful. Author was architect Nikolay Vassilev. Model for his design was Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Timur in Samarkand. The construction was finished in 1921st.
    The foundation stone was placed 1910th to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of rule Agate Abdul Khan in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. At the time of the Russian capital's Muslim community numbered 8,000 people, and the mosque could accommodate most of them.
    Believers are separated during services by gender, women are on the floor, and the woman on the ground. The mosque was closed to the faithful since 1940 to 1956.

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    The Church of the Sign of the Mother of God

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 24, 2012

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    Buit in 1906-1908. Architect D.A.Krizhanovsky. Today, services are not held there, because now the center of design working is situated in this building.
    An intersting design of building and well worth a look.

    The Church of the Sign of the Mother of God The Church of the Sign of the Mother of God The Church of the Sign of the Mother of God The Church of the Sign of the Mother of God
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    Vladimirsky Cathedral

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    There are usually crowds of beggars and pensioners selling antiques at the entrance of this striking onion-domed church on Vladimirsky prospekt. The Icons on the second floor are worth seeing and the interiors are breathtaking. It’s said that in communist times, an underwear factory operated in this cathedral. In 1990, it reopened as a church.

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    Troitsky Cathedral

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    The enormous Classical dome of Trinity Cathedral is located just south from the gleaming Baroque cupolas of St. Nicholas' Cathedral. Trinity Cathedral is a fine example of Classical architecture built by Vasily Stasov. It can accommodate up to 3,000 visitors, but sadly has only recently begun to be restored to its pre-Revolutionary splendor, after years of neglect.

    Trinity Cathedral was the regimental church of the Izmailovsky regiment, one of the oldest guards regiments in the Russian Army. Named after the village of Izmailovo, near Moscow, the Izmailovsky regiment moved to Petersburg when the northern city was re-established as the Russian capital under Empress Anne.

    On July 12, 1733, a large field tent operating as a church was consecrated here, with icons painted on a dark blue satin. However, the church functioned only in the summer, and in winter the soldiers and officers had to attend other parish churches. In 1754-1756, a wooden church was built on the site on order of Empress Elizabeth. The church had two altars, the main one of which was consecrated in the name of the Trinity. It suffered heavy damage as a result of the flood of 1824 and had to be rebuilt, a commission given by Nicholas I to Vasily Stasov.

    Construction of the new church began in May 1828, and despite several accidents hampering the work, the cathedral was consecrated in May 1835. The cathedral rises to a height of more than 80 meters, and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area.

    Memorial plaques to regimental officers killed in battle were mounted on the cathedral's wall. After the cathedral's opening, flags, keys from forts and other trophies that the regiment won in campaigns in 1854-1855 and 1877-1878 were also housed in the cathedral.

    The Trinity Cathedral was renowned for its exemplary collection of icons. The main section of the cathedral housed the Nativity icon, while the southern section housed the Jesus Christ icon. Empress Elizabeth presented the church with the Beginning of Life Trinity icon in 1742. Other holy objects housed in the cathedral included a large ark made in the form of a cross in 1753 from silver, a large silver cross presented to the cathedral by Nicholas I in 1835, and two large Gospels in valuable bindings.

    Unfortunately, in 1922 most of the cathedral's valuables were looted, and the thievery continued for several more years until the cathedral was finally closed in 1938. There were rumors of plans to demolish the cathedral and use the remaining material for a district workers' theatre. However, the rumors never came true and the cathedral was transferred to the Soviet Ministry of Telecommunications, for which it became a warehouse. Only in 1990 did the cathedral return to the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church. when restoration began.

    The cathedral is now open and functioning once again, although the largely bare, Spartan interior is saddening when compared with the splendor and majesty of its pre-Revolutionary past.

    In honor of the victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 when the Russians liberated Bulgaria from a Turkish invasion a memorial column was constructed in front of the northern facade of the cathedral. Its foundation was 140 trophy cannon barrels used to beat back the Turks during the liberation of Bulgaria. The monument stood eight meters high, and was crowned with the winged figure of victory with a wreath made of oak leaves in one hand and palm branches in the other. An iron spiral staircase was located inside. Ten cannons surrounded the outside of the monument. Unfortunately, in 1930 the monument was dismantled and sold to Germany for cash.

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    Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    The golden Baroque spires and domes of St. Nicholas' Cathedral (known locally as the Sailors' Cathedral) rises among the trees at the bottom of Ulitsa Glinki and shines above the bland residential and commercial buildings in the area. It is home to a number of revered 18th-century icons and a fine carved wooden iconostasis. Its beautiful bell tower overlooks Kryukov Canal.

    The first church was built here in 1743, on the banks of Kryukov Canal, which links the Moika and Fontanka rivers just south of Teatralnaya Ploschad. The cathedral and green space in front of it are located in a bend of Kanal Griboedova in an especially picturesque part of the city.

    The area was originally settled by sailors in the time of Peter the Great, and the first, wooden chapel was built for them and bore the name of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker. As the area grew along with the new capital, Empress Elizabeth issued a decree to build a stone church for the regiments living here. Admiralty architect Savva Chevinskiy was commissioned to design and build it. However, before construction could begin, the ground where the church's foundation was to be built had to be raised by two meters to protect it from floods.

    Construction of the new stone church began in 1753, and the main altar in the current cathedral was consecrated in 1760 in the presence of Empress Elizabeth. The cathedral actually consists of two churches, an upper church and a lower church. The church officially became a naval cathedral in July 1762 by order of Catherine II. Today, it is one of the best - and last remaining - examples of Baroque architecture.

    The walls of the cathedral are decorated with scenes from the history of the Russian Navy. In 1907, two marble plaques were hung on the south wall of the upper church in honor of sailors who died in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-5. At the same time, in the square next to the cathedral a memorial was erected to all the sailors of the battleship Alexander III who lost their lives in 1905.

    The cathedral houses 10 spectacular icons in gold frame that were a gift from Catherine the Great. The icons portray saints who are celebrated at Russian Navy celebrations. One of the most revered places in the cathedral is the image of Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, given to the church by Greek sailors, which was taken from Russia by the French in 1812, and returned to Nicholas I by the Prussians in 1835.

    St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of a very few cathedrals in the city that was not closed in Soviet times. In 1941, it became the official residence of Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod Alexey (Simanskiy), who served in the cathedral from 1941 to 1944 during the 900-day siege of the city.

    Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas
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    Smolny Cathedral

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    The dazzling cupolas of Smolny Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg, rise majestically from its waterside location on the banks of the Neva River.

    Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who came to Russia as a boy with his father, who was invited to the country by Peter the Great and who constructed the Winter Palace and the palace at Tsarskoe Selo. Smolny Cathedral was one of Rastrelli Jr.'s last projects, and one that the great architect left unfinished.

    The cathedral was part of a complex planned by the Empress Elizabeth to include a nunnery and a new school for girls - the first and most famous girls' state school in the Russian Empire. Construction began on October 30, 1748, and by 1761 construction of the cathedral was complete. However, in December of that year, Elizabeth died, and work on the monastery came to a halt. Rastrelli was relieved of his duties at Smolny by Catherine the Great, and left Russia in October 1763.

    By the early 1830s, much of the cathedral had fallen into disrepair and was becoming overgrown. In 1832, Nicholas I commissioned Vasily Stasov to finish the building. Construction was officially completed in 1835, and the cathedral was on July 22 of that year.

    Originally, Rastrelli wanted to a put a bell-tower - designed to be taller than the Peter and Paul Cathedral, at that point the tallest building in the city - next to the cathedral, but his plans were never realized.

    A half-circle cast-iron tracery fence with meticulous posts and gates fenced in the entrance to the cathedral. The steps in front of the altar were decorated with a cut-crystal balustrade, while the walls and the columns of the cathedral were finished with white marble and covered with sculpted images. The regal throne was located on the right side of the cathedral under a canopy, while on the other side there was a pulpit carved of white Urals marble and decorated with various carvings. The cathedral's Ark of the Covenant was made of 180 pounds of silver. There were numerous icons and paintings including Alexander Venetsianov's famous Resurrection of Christ.

    After the revolution, the cathedral suffered a similar fate to most of the churches in St. Petersburg. In 1922, all of its valuables were looted, and in 1923 the cathedral was closed. For many years, the building was not even heated, had no electricity or water, and it slowly decayed.

    In 1972, the cathedral's iconostasis was taken out. Soon after, the cathedral became a museum for the city, and hosted exhibitions. It was later converted into a concert hall, which is still one of its primary functions today.

    A visit up the bell tower is a must as the views from the top are quite amazing.

    Admission 100-210Rbl, Bell-tower 100Rbl.

    Smolny Cathedral
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    Cathedral of St. Sampson the Hospitable

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    One of St. Petersburg's oldest surviving churches, this charming azure and white baroque cathedral with its striking belltower is both an active church and a museum run by St. Isaac's Cathedral, with a fully restored and richly decorated interior containing several historic works of religious art.

    The Cathedral's history dates back to 1709, when Peter the Great ordered the construction of a wooden church on this site to honour Russia's decisive victory over the Swedes at the Battle of Poltava, which fell on the feast day of St. Sampson - 27 June. One of the city's first cemeteries was established next to the church, and became the final resting place for some of St. Petersburg's most prominent foreign citizens, including the sculptor Carlo Rastrelli, the architect Domenico Trezinni, and Peter's private physician, Lavrentiy Blumentrost.

    The stone cathedral and belltower replaced the wooden church in 1740. Although there are no records of the name of the cathedral's architect, it is presumed to be the work of Domenico Trezinni. Initially built with only one central dome, the cathedral was altered in 1761 with the addition of four smaller cupolas in traditional Russian style.

    In 1909, on the bicentenary of the victory at Poltava, a memorial plaque was placed on the side wall of the belltower engraved with Peter's speeches before the battle and in memory of those who died. A statue of Peter by sculptor Mark Antokolskiy was erected opposite the cathedral.

    At the end of the 1930s, the cathedral was closed, its interiors ripped out, and the building turned into a warehouse for the storage of vegetables. The monument to Peter the Great was moved to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. However, in the 1970s, the Cathedral was taken over by the St. Isaac's Cathedral Museum, completely restored, and used to display historic works of religious art and church decoration. To this day, the museum's rich collection includes several splendid icons from the 17th and 18th centuries, a superb 18th century carved iconostasis, and a beautiful carved alter that was found during restoration, carefully hidden behind marble panels. The Cathedral is now still owned by the state, but since 2002 has been used for religious worship as well. In 2006, a copy of the monument to Peter the Great was erected in front of the cathedral.
    The Cathedral of St. Sampson is well worth a visit for those with an interest in Russian church architecture and decoration, although it does require a separate trip from the centre. The beautifully restored interior is packed with historical relics, and richly decorated with frescoes and ancient icons. As an official museum, the cathedral is also designed to cater for visitors, with plenty of information available and helpful personnel. Services are held at the cathedral on weekends and holidays. There is a small entrance fee for visitors to the cathedral.

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    Prince Vladimir Cathedral

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    Standing at the Eastern edge of the Petrograd Side, in an area that saw some of the earliest settlement in St. Petersburg, the Prince Vladimir Cathedral is one of the city's oldest churches, and also, thanks to the fact that it was closed for only one year in the Soviet period, one of its best preserved. An attractive, gleaming white, five-domed church, the design of which bridges the gap between late baroque and neoclassicism, the Prince Vladimir Cathedral took over forty years to build, and was eventually consecrated in 1789.

    The first wooden church, to St. Nicholas, was built on this site as early as 1708, and plans to build a stone cathedral were prepared on the orders of Empress Anna Ioannovna. However, it was not until 1766, in the reign of Catherine the Great, that work began on the cathedral to designs by Antonio Rinaldi, architect of the Marble Palace and the Gatchina Palace. He was instructed to follow the design of the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin, and the original plan was to name the new Cathedral after the Assumption of the Mother of God, too. However, a major fire in 1772 severely damaged the half-finished building, and it was not until 11 years later that work resumed on the project. The cathedral's completion coincided with the unification of Russia and the Crimean Khanate, an event which probably dictated the dedication of the Cathedral to St. Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles, the Kievan Prince who brought Christianity to Russia in 988 AD.

    The Prince Vladimir Cathedral has survived almost unaltered since then and, although much of the interior decoration was removed after the Revolution, the cathedral was officially closed only from 1926 to 1927. After that, the Cathedral continued to function, even through the blackest years of the Siege of Leningrad, and became a sanctuary for some of St. Petersburg's greatest religious treasures, including the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, returned to the Kazan Cathedral in 2001. Many others are still on display in the Cathedral.
    Although the western end of the Petrograd Side has little to draw visitors - unless you are planning to watch a football or hockey match, that is - this beautiful Cathedral could easily be combined with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is only ten minutes' walk away, or on the way to Vasilevsky Island. There are a number of interesting relics in the Cathedral, including a beautiful, jewel-clad Berlin Bible from 1689, a gift to Empress Elizabeth, and several historic icons.

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    St. Isaac's Cathedral

    by Skillsbus Written Nov 22, 2012

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    St. Isaac's Cathedral was originally the city's main church and the largest cathedral in Russia. It was built between 1818 and 1858, by the French-born architect Auguste Montferrand, to be one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial capital. One hundred and eighty years later the gilded dome of St. Isaac's still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Although the cathedral is considerably smaller than the newly rebuilt Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, it boasts much more impressive fades and interiors.

    The cathedral's facades are decorated with sculptures and massive granite columns (made of single pieces of red granite), while the interior is adorned with incredibly detailed mosaic icons, paintings and columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. A large, brightly colored stained glass window of the "Resurrected Christ" takes pride of place inside the main altar. The church, designed to accommodate 14,000 standing worshipers, was closed in the early 1930s and reopened as a museum. Today, church services are held here only on major ecclesiastical occasions.

    Foreign visitors should buy entrance tickets just inside the right-hand door in the southern facade (not at the street-level ticket booth). I also recommend that you climb the 300 steps up to the cathedral's colonnade, and enjoy the magnificent views over the city.

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