Also known as the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, this is one of the most emblematic buildings of St. Petersburg. It is located near the bank of the Gribaedova canal, and was built in honor of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed there on March 13, 1881. Of unquestionable beauty, and inspired by St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, the construction has certain characteristics closely related to the assasined tsar. The central dome of the cathedral measures 81 meters high because the Tsar died in 1881. The lateral domes each measure 62 meters high since the Tsar died at 62. It is a definite must visit if you go to St. Petersburg.
Gauguin Fe, a French post-impressionist painter, was one of the most important 19th century. His most famous paintings are painted in Polynesia, where, sick and ruined, he decided to flee Europe and civilization to discover and capture new things in his paintings. After going back to France without money, he received an inheritance from his uncle and decided to stay permanently in Polynesia. In Tahiti, he met Tehura, which would become his model. He was very inspired and painted 70 canvases in just a few months. But after some years of happiness, administrative and personal problems, he sank. He also had some major health issues: A leg injury that failed to heal and syphilis. Towards the final years of his life he found a partner and had a son with a young woman of the Marquesas, but later he also contracted leprosy. In 1897 he attempted to kill himself, survived and only with a small pension. He later died on May 9, 1903. In the Hermitage you can find "Pastors Tahitians",and "Woman holding a fruit" among other works of his.
Built in 1710, the first church of St. Isaac's was made of wood. The interior of the church is as impressive as its exterior. The interior fascinates because of the magnificence of its form. The profusion of frescoes, mosaics and sculptures, combined with marble, semiprecious stones, gold and a variety of colours are really impressive! The pillars, the other elements of the altar, and the two chapels of the cathedral were decorated with 400kg of gold, 1,000 tons of bronze, 16,000kg of malachite and more than 11 square meters of Badakhshan Lapis. For the wall and floor decoration, black Caucasus slate was used and different kinds of marble.
This is the hub of the city, a huge and monumental plaza with buildings facing the Winter Palace, part of the Hermitage Museum. The square is dominated by a triumphal column topped by an angel, the symbol of Alexander I's victory over Napoleon. In the south is a grand triumphal arch with bronze horses. This is where the Bolshevik revolution was born, and today it is filled with carriages and street hawkers. If you want to buy something, expect to haggle, and pay in rubles. There are also period costumed actors, ve you can take a picture with.
The Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul constitutes the historic center of the city. It was the first building that Peter the Great ordered to be built of his own design. It is on a small swampy island located between the Great Neva and the Kronwerk channel. Peter the Great was the first of the tsars to be buried here, at his request, and from that moment on, all the descendants of the Russian throne were buried here as well. Its well worth getting lost inside the walls of the fortress for an entire day.
Another great work that can be found in St. Petersburg: Our Lady of Kazan. Ordered to be constructed by James I, this cathedral was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome and took 10 years create. The visit shouldn´t be a very long one, but it is interesting to spend a good time there looking. To start is the outside, with majestic Corinthian columns, which at night should be spectacular. When I went there was a mass. As I said, the Russian Orthodox are very religious and do not like when tourists come to look at it as if it were a show. They scolded us when we took pictures or talked. Still, it´s really worth going inside and enjoying its sculptures, decorations and murals, which have involved very important artists of Russian history.
St. Petersburg can be explored by many different means. One of the most beautiful is to view the city from the Neva river, to do so, you must use on of the the boat hire services that let you explore some of its beautiful canals and its famous bridges for 1 hour. It is a very pleasant walk, very special and romantic. It offers very affordable prices.
The metro is gorgeous and what is even more amazing is if you think you are at a depth of 20 stories below the surface but one of the things that will remain in my memory are the displays of objects that many poor people made. If you stop to think about the amount of money that has the metro costed and the amount of poor people begging for some of it, it´s enough to drive you crazy.
If you go to St Petersburg, you'll be sure to see this 4km avenue. It's so long that it's difficult to walk its entire length, but you can enjoy a walk down it starting from the Hermitage. You can see all the life of this chaotic city - palaces, museums, cafes, shops and begars. A city of contrasts, with an architectural richness beside the poverty. Berman wrote that this avenue was the only public space in the city that was not dominated by the tsarist power or then by communist living space. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and many other writers mention it in their works, and it has also been featured in many films. A vibrant street, but take care crossing it, as the traffic can be hazardous.
After just entering the cathedral, apart from the excitement I felt to finally see the Tsars' tombs, I thought of a ship from the eighteenth century: the high altar wall was like the stern, the steep spire was like the mast. From a closer view, I could see what it said in the books, and the fact that it is not unusual for the steeple of an Orthodox church to have a clock in the tower. The height of this tower, together with the golden angel figure, the patron of the city, is 122.5 meters. At that time, of course, it was the tallest building in Russia. Peter the fist bought the clock in Amsterdam for 45,000 rubles, which was a huge amount at that time. The history of the clock is very interesting: In the mid-nineteenth it played "Glorious is Our Lord", in 1906 "God save the Czar", in 1952 the anthem of the Soviet Union until 2001, when it was repaired by Belgian and Dutch engineers ve gave it a different tune. But once inside, do not forget that out of respect, no one can sit down, not even the Czar himself, so there are no benches nor throne under the imperial canopy or the rest of the church. In front of it is the podium with wooden representations of the apostles Peter and Paul, accompanied by the four evangelists. It holds the best and largest collection of paintings from the time of Peter the First. In the back is the carved and gilded iconostasis, like a triumphal arch symbolizing the Russian victories in Northern wars. Looking around ourselves we could see that the temple is like a pantheon for all the Russian emperors. They all lie under the same white marble sarcophagi. And only the graves of Alexander II and his wife Maria Alexandrovna, née princessa of Hessen-Darmstadt, are made of the Ural jasper and rhodonite, carved by local stonemasons in gratitude for the abolition of the serfdom. To the left of the altar there is a small chapel, where a quartet of musicians interpreted a lovely exhibition of sacred Russian music in a capella.
On Lake Ladoga, on the Leningrad Oblast, near the Finish border, is where the Neva River starts, which divides St. Petersburg and empties into the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea). Incredibly, although it is quite a small river (measured only 74 kilometers, of which 28 kilometeres are within the boundaries of St. Petersburg), is the third largest river in Europe after the Volga and Danube. The river divides St. Petersburg into islands which are connected by bridges that are closed on a nightly basis to make a passageway for the boats. This means that if you stay on an island, you can not leave after a specific time ... The most important islands are Dekabristov Island, Isla Kamenny, Krestovsky Island, Petrogradsky Island, Island and Island Vasilievsky Yelagin. If anyone is interested, they can make boat trips along the river. It's a different way to get to know the city, but keep in mind the weather is also very cold.
This is one of the most beautiful buildings on the Nevsky Prospect, which unfortunately can't be entered. But it's lovely to admire the beautiful wrought iron balconies in the front of the building. The palace, in its current form, dates from 1848, and was owned by the brother of Alexander III; later it was the local headquarters of the Communist Party. Today, it's a cultural centre where concerts are held. Located near the Fontanka, it can be accessed by the stations of Mayakovskaya or Gostiny Dvor.
This monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1713, celebrating the defeat of the Swedes at the hands of Alexander of Novgorod. It is open to the public and permanently filled with beggars and homeless people asking for support from passersby. You can see a lot, but you'll have to pay if you want to enter the cemetery. Here many prominent Russians are buried, including Tchaikoski, Rubenstein, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka and Dostoevsky.
I noticed it from afar. I'd come here to see the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, but in fact I couldn't help but look at the less religious building, with its dome that looked like a crystal glass turned upside down that, were it not for the lightness of the metal structure, would be crushed by it. It was built between 1902 and 1904 by the German company Singer, known for their sewing machines. After the revolution the famous "House of Books" bookstore opened here. I was very sorry not to enter, or even not being able to get a little closer to enjoy the building, as I like European modernism. But finally, I had to leave ...
The legendary Red Arrow train, or as it is called Krasnaya Strela, links the two main cities of Russia: St. Petersburg and Moscow. We took the guided night tour, and the truth is that the train is comfortable and very luxurious, especially compared to the Siberian one that we had tried.
The Grand Mosque is located in the city centre. In the early twentieth century it was the larget in Europe, 49 metres high and with a capacity for 5,000 people. It resembles Samarkand Gur with its two minarets and ceramic tiled dome.
The famous theater Maiiski is almost 22 years old, and has always been a huge success. The former Kirov theater succeeds while still featuring Soviet prices. Even ten euros to attend a ballet or opera is considered high class, within the purest Russian tradition, making it one of the world's most renowned theaters. Obviously you have to love this kind of art, but given the price, the opera is adapted to all budgets, if you buy your tickets there.
It's easy to make a list of what to do in Saint Petersburg, given its rich cultural and architectural heritage. Among the most important places to visit in St. Petersburg is the Hermitage Museum. This is the most famous museum in the city and in Russia, and is one of the largest in the world. To travel here without visiting the museum would be to miss out on one of the top Saint Petersburg activities. Situated in the heart of the city, between the Neva River and the Palace Square, it occupies five interconnected buildings: the Winter Palace, the Hermitage Theatre, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, and the New Hermitage. Together they form a beautiful architectural set, so even if you don't go inside all the buildings, visiting the site must surely be high on your list of stuff to do in Saint Petersburg.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the core of the city and within it you can find the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This is one of the top attractions in Saint Petersburg for lovers of architecture or of history, as it houses the tombs of the Russian tsars, including the last, Tsar Nicolas II with his family.
St. Isaac's Cathedral, one of the most grandiose of the city, and the Church of the Savior on Blood, the most-visited church, are other beautiful Saint Petersburg attractions. Plus, while you're here you have the chance to visit the residences of the tsars, surely one of the essential things to do in Saint Petersburg. Petergof is an impressive complex of palaces and parks; Catherine Palace in Pushkin is the summer residence of the Russian tsars and finally, there's Pavlovsk Palace, located near Pushkin. But in addition to all these fine buildings, there are plenty of streets and squares that are also really interesting things to see in St. Petersburg.
For a list of even more things to do in this beautiful city, visit Minube. When you get home, be sure to return to Minube and share your experiences.