St. Isaac's Cathedral
Excursions with St. Isaac's Cathedral
St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of most famous Saint Petersburg's sights. Its predecessor was a small wooden church founded in 1710 near the Admiralty. The church had been built by order of Peter the Great and sanctified in honor of Isaac Dalmatian, Peter's saint patron. Here in February of 1712 the first Russian Emperor wed Ekaterina Alexeevna, future Empress Catherine I. Since 1723 sailors of the Baltic fleet had to swear allegiance only in this church.
After Peter's death St. Isaac's Church was reconstructed several times but without any success. Things proceeded till 1809 when Emperor Alexander I announced the contest for the best project of the cathedral. The winner was young French architect August Montferrand with his project of a five-domed cathedral in classic style.
The cathedral's construction began in 1818 and lasted for whole 40 years. In 1858 on May, 30 St. Isaac's Cathedral was finally opened and sanctified. The temple was declared to be the cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church. Here all important sermons were served and members of royal family were baptized. Unfortunately, August Montferrand didn't witness its creation's glory, for he died month after the construction's end.
The St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of the largest and most majestic Christian temples in the world. With its height of 101.52 meters and the total area of 4000 square meters the cathedral can host up to 12000 persons. The cathedral's interior is decorated with gild and jewels, numerous paintings, mosaics and sculpture. Its stained-glass window with area of 28.5 square meters — one of the biggest in Russia is especially remarkable. St. Isaac's Cathedral was decorated by many famous painters and sculptors, among them Bryullov, Klodt and Pimenov.
During Soviet time the cathedral was turned into the museum of atheism. The temple successfully endured Great War and the blockade of Leningrad. Nowadays St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of the most popular Saint Petersburg's museums with permanent exhibitions dedicated to the history of the monument and its significance for the city. Its visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the historical city from the colonnade's height of 43 meters.