In the height of the Russian Empire to signal eminence and prestige, the rulers of Russia did not spare any expenses when it came to constructing and decorating the many magnificent cathedrals in St. Petersburg. Today, these masterpieces are some of the best attractions in the second largest city in Russia:
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of St. Petersburg. This cathedral was built to remember and mark the spot of where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, hence its descriptive name. Alexander II was seen as a liberator as he set the peasants free and thus abolishing serfdom. Maybe the most impressive element in this cathedral is an extravagant shrine dedicated to the tsar.
The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood is an architectural pearl along the Griboedova Canal with an incredible collection of mosaic icons. This cathedral was built in the spirit of romantic nationalism and harks back to medieval Russian architecture. In many ways, this resembles the iconic Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Moscow’s Red Square.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
This was originally the main church in St. Petersburg and the largest cathedral in Russia. After the construction finished in 1858, this was an impressive landmark, which stood out on the city skyline. More than 150 years later, it still holds the same status. This is actually the third highest cupola cathedral in the world.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is decorated with sculptures and solid columns of granite. Inside, it is beautifully adorned with highly detailed mosaic icons, paintings and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli. The prime view is perhaps the incredible colored stained glass window at the main altar. For an amazing lookout over the city, make your way up the 400 steps to the colonnade observation deck. You will find out that this little workout is definitively worth it when you are rewarded with the best view of St. Petersburg.
Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul
Visit the oldest church in St. Petersburg. The Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul was finished in 1733, meaning it is more than 280 years old. The church has played an important part in Russian history and is the graveyard for most of the rulers of Russia since Peter the Great. These extravagant graves are one major attraction worth experiencing here.
Inside the cathedral, there is a magnificent iconostasis with paintings influenced by the Catholic Church icons. However, even though the iconostasis is more in line with the Catholic Church, the architectural style is closer to Lutheran. While the construction of the many other cathedrals where heavily influenced by Orthodox tradition and built in early Baroque style, this one diverges quite radically with its many features from the protestant churches of Western Europe. Some of these features include its rectangular shape, bell-tower, and landmark needle. This needle also contributes to making this cathedral the second largest building in the city at 122.5m, only beaten by the television tower.
There are many more great cathedrals worth visiting in St. Petersburg, like the Smolny Cathedral and Prince Vladmir Cathedral, just to mention a few. All of these incredible attractions are spread across the city center, making the Radisson Royal Hotel, St. Petersburg an ideal place to stay, as it is located in the heart of the city.