St. Isaac's Cathedral

Isaakievsky sobor

If you long-dreamt about finding yourself in the heart of Dostoyevsky's Petersburg, here it is right before your eyes! The church was one of the city's most important, here in 1712 Peter I and Catherine I got married. The first St. Isaac's Cathedral was consecrated and dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, as Emperor Peter the Great was born on the saint's feast day, May 30 (Julian calendar).

With time running by the cathedral was losing its match to the pompous look the Petersburg's city center radiated. Alexander I ordered architect Auguste Montferrand to erect a new cathedral that would pertain three consecrated altars of the already existing one. The Saint Isaac's Cathedral thus became an outstanding example of late Neo-Classical style. For 40 long years it was under construction and only in 1858 it was consecrated in presence of Emperor Alexander II and the members of the royal family.

Isaac's Cathedral, the dome of which is visible even from the Gulf of Finland, has a capacity of 12,000 people. 112 monolithic columns adorn the building, 16 tons of malachite were used in interior design, the domes are covered with 100 kilos of gold, and the paintings, mosaics and sculptures were created by outstanding masters Karl Bryullov and Peter Klodt. During the Siege citizens concealed all of this golden splendor under a layer of grey paint. Today the galleries encircling the domes offer stunningly beautiful views over the Admiralty and the Hermitage. Saint Isaac's colonnade remains the highest viewing point in the city center.

Many mysteries and legends surround the lifetime of the Saint Isaac's Cathedral. One of them tells us that a prophecy was made for the cathedral's main architect, Auguste Montferrand, stating he would be alive only when the temple was under construction. And indeed, a month after the cathedral was finished the architect died! In his will Montferrand asked to bury him in the Saint Isaac's Cathedral, however Emperor Alexander II did not give his permission and Montferrand's widow had to take the architect's body to Paris. According to another prophecy the royal House Romanov should fall as soon as the last falsework are removed from the cathedral – oddly enough this grim augury also came true. The markings on the cathedral's columns were made by the bullets during the WWII.

Address: Isaakievskaya Sq., 4 (Isaakievskaya ploschad, 4)
Opening hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 10.30 am – 6 pm. Closed on Wed. Colonnade: May 1 – October 31 daily 10.30 am – 6 pm, November 1 – April 30 daily 10.30 am – 6 pm, closed each third Wed of the month. Night colonnade: May 1 – October 31 6 pm – 10.30 pm. During white nights Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun June 1 – August 20 10.30 pm – 4.30 am, closed on Wed.
How to reach: Admiralteyskaya metro station; buses 3, 22, 27, trolleybuses 5, 22
Coordinates: 59.933978, 30.305979