St. Isaac's Cathedral (Isaakevsky Sobor)
4 Saint Isaac's Square, Saint Petersburg, Russia
8 (812) 315-97-32
St. Isaac's Cathedral (Isaakevsky Sobor) Saint Petersburg Reviews
Chart topper Jun 28, 2016
Always save the best for last. Our third cathedral for the day was St. Isaac’s, resting grandly behind the Hermitage in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Another massive structure, St. Isaac’s is crowned by an immense golden dome you can glimpse from near and far while walking through town.
Raised in the early 1800’s, the foremost challenge was sinking a foundation capable of withstanding the incredible weight. Main support is provided by forty-eight immense granite columns, all single slabs hauled from a Finnish quarry 150 miles away. The exterior is impressive by its own right, but naturally this lures one inside.
There is a sizable ticket booth selling separate admission tickets for the Cathedral and the Colonnade, a 260 step climb offering stellar views over downtown (adult entrance is 250 rubles for either). We had heard there are ticket machines available if the wait looks ugly, but did not immediately spot them. The lines at the booth were not huge and moving quickly, however, so we went that route with no penalty.
Comparatively speaking, the artwork was quite similar to our visits at Spilled Blood and Kazan earlier today (i.e., plenty of mosaics and everything glittering in gold). What upped the ante here was the grand space. The interior of St. Isaac’s is cavernous and it would make an ideal meeting space for Claustrophobics Anonymous. Towering columns reinforce the scale and it is quite impressive.
As mentioned in the blog, the incredible coincidence was bumping into Leo here and since I am in church I suppose I can make a confession: we wound up gabbing with Leo and his brother and did not inspect the majesty as closely as we had done at the previous cathedrals. Both Leo and his brother were enthused to tackle the Colonnade, so I scampered back to the ticket booth and rendezvoused with everyone after scoring passes for myself and Laura to join them (the Colonnade entrance is on the opposite side from where you enter the Cathedral).
The Colonnade was splendid. If you are a veteran of church climbs, you are probably familiar with tight squeezes and the annoyance of two way traffic on narrow, windy staircases. Banish the thought at St. Isaac’s. There are separate stairwells for up and down and they are relatively broad. I found it particularly interesting how every tenth step is numbered so you can keep count (both ways!). There are 260 steps in all, and amazing views once you have ticked them all off.
The exterior walk around the base of the dome is quite long (because the dome is huge), so once again there is the unusual experience of NOT being compacted against other humans. With the sprinkling of golden spires in most directions, circumnavigating this walkway is a treat. You are afforded some nice views over the city, though nothing truly expansive. Looking towards Palace Square was best as there was a pleasant grassy area in front of the church that direction, where, of course, we witnessed yet another wedding photo session. The statues at the top are lovely and looking past them adds charm to the visions.
Part of the Bopping about the Baltics travel blog
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A cathedral with a nice view! Apr 08, 2013
The Saint Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg is a big cathedral and really a touristic attraction. Most of the tourist come to visit the inside of the building, but you can also go to the top of the cathedrail with the stairs. for this attraction are far less tourists to find and that is a pity. Because at the top of the cathedral you have a wonderful view over St. Petersburg!
From the top you can see al the highlights of this city; the Hermitage, the river Neva, Peter and Paul Fortres and so on.
To reach the top of the cathedral you will have to walk a lot of stairs and for people with a bad condition this will be a big challenge. But when you are in St. Petersburg you have the time and everybody can do it on its own pace. It is worth to climb all the stairs to the top!