St Isaac's Cathedral
1 Isaakievskaya ploshchad 190000 St. Petersburg
Open: 11am - 7pm
Nearest metro stations: Nevsky prospekt, Sennaya ploshchad and Sadovaya
One of the beloved postcard views in St Petersburg is definitely an outstanding monument of Late Neoclassicism, St Isaac's Cathedral. The Cathedral which used to be the main city Cathedral before communist times, has a magnificent golden dome which can be easily seen not only from main parts of the city but even from some of its suburbs in sunny weather. By the way, the dome is one of the largest in the world with a diameter of 21.8m. Since 1937 it has also been home to the museum of history and art.
The history of the Cathedral dates back to 1710 when a tiny church dedicated to St Isaac of Dalmatia was built next to the Admiralty. This church was followed by the other one, made of stone. And finally the third attempt took place between 1768 and 1802, when the designs by A.Rinaldi and V.Brenna were used. But that church wasn't completed. Finally the present Cathedral was constructed by Auguste de Montferrand in 1818 - 1858.
Breathtaking architecture, unusual for those times engineering decision, unique dome design, monumental columns (each weighting 100 tones) and of course artistic decoration. Over 20 samples of decorative stone were used in construction making the Cathedral an unofficial museum of coloured stone.
Outstanding artists and sculptors of those times participated in making this Cathedral a real masterpiece. Karl Briullov, Fedor Bruni, Peter Basin, Vasily Shebuyev, Ivan Vitali, Nikolai Pimenov and Peter Klodt have eternalised their names by creating the murals and mosaics of the Cathedral. Over 600 sq m are covered in the Cathedral by the latest.
Visitors can get a better idea of the construction and restoration of the Cathedral from unique models and displays exhibited inside. And those who are not afraid of heights can admire a splendid view over the city centre from the upper colonnade located at a height of 43 metres. The colonnade is open at night during the white nights period making this experience even more thrilling.