St. Isaac’s Cathedral
On this tour of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, you will see one of the most astounding cathedrals in St. Petersburg Russia and the country as a whole. The first thing you will notice about this grand building is how it rises above the city skyline at a great distance, serving as a beautiful beacon for tourists and anyone in the city who has yet to see it in all of its glory. For the standards of the time it was built in, the St Isaac Cathedral was incredibly tall (over 300 feet), and maintains the status of one of the largest domed cathedrals in the whole world to this day. The St Isaac Church has an interesting history as well as plenty to loot at both outside and inside, making it a must-see on private St Petersburg Russia tours.
The St Isaac St Petersburg Cathedral was not an easy project to complete. During the reign of Tsar Alexander I, this popular location in the city was in need of renovation or reconstruction. Four different churches had previously stood in this often-visited spot, yet none of them were built to last, and Alexander sought to change this. After the previous structure was taken down, Alexander I commissioned a contest for some of Europe and Russia’s finest architects to present designs for a church of their vision, and these designs were subsequently discussed and voted on. Though he faced stiff criticism for his design, the offering of French architect Auguste de Montferrand was selected. It is believed that the tsar made the final decision in this contest, impressed by the size and scope of Montferrand’s vision. Construction began in 1818 and lasted forty years, requiring unprecedented building costs and applying the newest and most efficient technologies of the time. When the Soviets came to power, the cathedral was turned into a museum of religion and architecture, but in 1937, it became simply known as the Museum of the St Isaac Cathedral. Today, this is a popular place of worship (albeit limited to major celebrations), while the main body of the cathedral serves as a genuine and functional museum.
The building of the Cathedral is mostly made of grey and pink stone, giving it a light and timeless look that brings about comparisons to the U.S. Capitol Building and the Helsinki Cathedral. However, the most prominent exterior feature of St. Isaac’s is its gold-plated dome, decorated with 12 angel statuettes and reflecting bright, heavenly light on its surroundings when the sun is shining. The Cathedral is built in the neoclassical style with the influence of Byzantium prevalent. Apart from its dome, another very prominent aspect of the church’s exterior is the use of granite columns. There are a total of 112 columns supporting the building at ground level and higher up. However, the true beauty of the Cathedral is only revealed when you open its heavy bronze doors and step inside. The interior of this top Saint Petersburg sightseeing spot will treat you to a view of 600 square meters of mosaics, with many more gold, bronze, malachite, and lapis lazuli decorations, structures, and sculptures all around. This building truly comes to life when you take in the colors of its countless paintings, icons, and stained glass windows, which depict traditional Christian imagery. Even if this imagery does not interest you, you will still be astounded by the sheer volume of this cathedral, and the simple act of looking up can make your head spin. You can also ascend 300 steps to get a great view of the city from the perch of the cathedral’s colonnade.
Please contact me and we will discuss the details.
Duration 4-6 hours.
The cost of my guiding services is 20 US $ (19 Euro) per hour for a group of up to 10 people.