Alexander Nevsky Laura
Excursions with Alexander Nevsky Laura
1 Monastyrka River Emb.
Alexander Nevsky Laura is one of oldest architectural ensembles of Saint Petersburg. The Laura's history began in 1710 when the monastery was founded on the Neva's bank, at the same place, where, according to the legend, Russian prince Alexander Nevsky defeated Swedish troops. Its first architect was D. Trezini. Construction of the monastery complex lasted with breaks till 1790 under the direction of other architects, but all of them preserved untouched the main idea of Trezini.
The compositional center of the Laura is the Holy Trinity Cathedral built upon the project of talented Russian architect I. Starov. The sanctification of the cathedral in 1790 became the end of Laura's construction. Its monumental building was crowned with a high dome drum. Most famous and most reverenced among icons of the cathedral is the Reverend Seraphim Sarovsky's image.
In 1724 remains of Alexander Nevsky, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, had been transferred to the monastery.
In 1797 Alexander Nevsky monastery had received the status of Laura. For many years Alexander Nevsky Laura had been the religious and cultural center of Saint Petersburg. As early as under Peter the Great the monastery hosted a hospital, a charity house, a printing house and a school for priests' children that later had been turned into the Theological Academy. Here priests were trained for the largest and most popular Russian churches. Many famous persons were buried at the laura's territory, among them field marshal Suvorov, prince Bezborodko, architects G. Quarenghi, A. Voronikhin, C. Rossi.
In 1917, after the October revolution the monastery and churches of the Laura were closed, numerous relics and works of art given over to Saint Petersburg museums including the Russian Museum and the Hermitage. In 1936-1937 a new museum — Leningrad Necropolis — was created in the Laura. In 1939 this museum was transformed into the Town Sculpture Museum.