Kazan Cathedral

Kazansky sobor

While walking along Nevsky Prospect, there is no chance you will pass by one of the city's most impressive symbols, the Kazan Cathedral, which is one of St. Petersburg's major Orthodox churches. Paul I wanted it to match the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome in its splendor, however he did not lived to see the architectural masterpiece. Designed by Andrey Voronikhin, a serf architect of count Stroganov, it was founded only in 1801 during the reign of Emperor Alexander I. Yet, Voronikhin took Paul's wish into consideration and so this imposing building placed a bit inside the colonnade startles with its architectural design: semi-circular colonnade consisting of 96 Corinthian pillars reminds that of the St. Peter's Basilica (made by genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini). The pillars were made of pudost stone that had several special properties and was produced only in one place in Russia. Underneath the earth the stone was soft, but when it was excavated to the surface it became firm and solid!

It took 10 long years to build the cathedral and in 1811 it was consecrated. After the Patriotic War of 1812 the cathedral received another symbolic meaning, it turned into a monument to the Russian soldiers' glory. In summer of 1812 before parting to the Army, Russian troops' commander-in-chief Mikhail Kutuzov visited the cathedral. In 1813 his ashes were buried here, as several war trophies were put on display, such as French military banners and personal staff of Napoleon's marshal Davout. The keys from strongholds and cities taken by the Russian army in that war also became exhibits of the church.

In 1837 on the square before the Kazan Cathedral bronze monuments to glorified war chiefs Mikhail Kutuzov and Mikhail Barclay de Tolly were unveiled. The statues were designed by an outstanding Russian architect Vasily Stasov.

During the Soviet era the cathedral was turned into the Museum of the History of Religion, and in 1950s-1960s original interiors and unique beautiful façade were restored. The cathedral keeps a copy of a highly venerated miraculous icon of Our Lady of Kazan, and today lots of people come from all corners of the world in order to see it.

Address: Kazanskaya Sq., 2 (Kazanskaya ploschad, 2)
Opening hours: daily 8.30 am – 8 pm
How to reach: Nevskiy Prospekt metro station
Coordinates: 59.934199, 30.324544