Исаакиевский собор – St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The beautiful and majestic St. Isaac’s Cathedral will surely give you one of – if not the best – view of the cultural capital of Russia. The largest Russian Orthodox cathedral took over 40 years to complete, but it was well worth it. On the same place were once three other cathedrals, but it was under the instructions of the French architect Montferrand – whose ideas for the church were initially criticized – that one of the most beautiful Late Neoclassical buildings ever (in my opinion) was born. The monument’s façade is made up of 112 massive red granite columns and sculptures, and the interior is decorated with beautiful mosaics and marble, paintings and columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. The sculpted white dove that you will see suspended underneath the peak of the dome represents the Holy Spirit.
Just the dome of the cathedral is remarkable to look at, especially if you know that it was plated with pure gold. The same dome was painted over in gray to avoid catching the eye of enemy aircraft during World War II.
Apparently the design of St. Isaac’s Cathedral has influenced the design of other buildings, such as Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin and the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki.
The church can accommodate up to 14,000 people standing, and today church services are held in very special occasions.
It is an absolute must to visit the top of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, but be prepared for some mild cardio workout, as you have to climb up 300 steps to get there.
And even if the stairs don’t get you out of breath – prepare to have your breath taken by the magnificent view of St. Petersburg from the top of the cathedral.