Going to Church

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

A rainy forecast begged consideration of indoor activity, so we thought this might be the day to tour the Hermitage.  After breakfast at the hotel we dutifully hit the streets and began heading downtown.  Having witnessed the very long lines in front of the famous museum yesterday, I will be up front my desire to battle crowds was not high.  This may explain why our course mysteriously swept past the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, but I am sticking with divine intervention.

Walking past these colorful onion domes easily drew us in, beginning a day of detour.  The magnificence of Church on Spilled Blood merits a separate review, below, but a quick footnote here.  The exterior is truly remarkable, but inside is nifty too, so you should definitely check that out as well!

After enjoying this remarkable cathedral our journey really went wayward in a fun way.

Walking along Nevsky Prospekt
  Being near to Nevsky Prospekt, we opted for a stroll along St. Petersburg’s marquee boulevard.  Nevsky Prospekt has been the city’s main drag from the very beginning, and despite the glut of retail mania and nasty traffic (both human and vehicular), it is that train wreck you have to see for yourself.

It began raining and timing seemed opportune to score some lunch.  We ducked into Pirogi Café, where I concluded the meal with a shot of horseradish liqueur (because I was on vacation and intrigued) – and wish I hadn’t, YUCK!  Back out on the streets, we had not been strolling long before we came upon a large structure reminiscent of ancient Rome.  Little did we suspect this discovery would set the tone for a day of going to church.

Kazan Cathedral

We had chanced upon Kazan Cathedral and our Roman instincts proved fairly accurate because this behemoth had been patterned after St. Paul’s in the Vatican.  The weird point is that it is not styled after the basilica itself, but the colonnades around the basilica, so the temple resembles a grand government building more than anything else. Stranger yet, the plaza is populated with busts of military heroes, so there is not a hint of religion before entering.  You dismiss any notion the building is not associated with religion once you step inside (free entry!). Kazan is home to the most significant icon of Russian Orthodoxy, Our Lady of Kazan.  More details in separate review on this cathedral, below.

Leo & Laura reunite at St. Isaac's (Leo's brother is guy on the right)

Recognizing the day’s path was on the road to glory, we proceeded down Nevsky Prospekt to check out St. Isaac’s Cathedral.  The easiest way to describe this landmark is “massive”. I fear that fails to capture the expansive breadth of this church, but it should move you in the right direction.  We parked on a bench inside the cathedral to enjoy the splendor when Laura jumped up to exclaim “I don’t believe it!”  For the record, my mind correctly guessed the vision driving her exclamation.  Do you remember how this expedition started when Laura’s boarder, Leo, enlightened us about White Nights?  Yes, Laura had spied Leo and his younger brother walking about St. Isaac’s!  Whatever the odds of randomly encountering a specific individual in a city of five million, travel is there to conquer them.

Lines galore at the Hermitage - punting on this to visit churches seemed like a saving grace!

Leo had supplied White Nights inspiration, but moved away without ever having a clue we would be bound for Russia.  It was a glorious reunion, with a bonus for me.  Leo and his brother had already purchased tickets to scale the cathedral dome, which I had regretfully passed on because I did not want Laura to endure my constant desire to climb steps for a view.  The brothers did not need to twist arms for us to join them, so I happily ran back to the ticket booth and scored a pair of passes for upstairs.  Rendezvoused with the gang at the Colonnade entrance behind the church to conclude our visit by catching up with Leo and savoring wonderful panoramas of St. Petersburg.  Fully covered in another review, below.

We exchanged goodbyes with Leo and his brother, steering homeward by circling through the Admiralty and Palace Square.  Returning along the Neva brought us past the Hermitage.  Ugly crowds confirmed how heavenly our decision to devote a day hitting churches was.  Back home we concluded the day with dinner nearby the hotel.

cotton_foam says:
How nice to meet friends unexpectedly!!
You make me want to revisit Saint Petes!!!
Posted on: Dec 01, 2016
spocklogic says:
Amen
Posted on: Nov 11, 2016
Paulovic says:
Good to fill up a rainy day this way. And good the church was free! I think the "house of God" should always be free!
Posted on: Nov 10, 2016
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Church of Our Savior on Spilled Bl…
Church of Our Savior on Spilled B…
Walking along Nevsky Prospekt
Walking along Nevsky Prospekt
Kazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral
Leo & Laura reunite at St. Isaacs…
Leo & Laura reunite at St. Isaac'…
Lines galore at the Hermitage - pu…
Lines galore at the Hermitage - p…
Indoors at Church on Spilled Blood
Indoors at Church on Spilled Blood
The Church of Our Savior on Spille…
The Church of Our Savior on Spill…
The canals of St. Petersburg were …
The canals of St. Petersburg were…
Kissing Our Lady of Kazan
Kissing Our Lady of Kazan
The Admiralty with fountain in St.…
The Admiralty with fountain in St…
The Admiralty on a rainy day.
The Admiralty on a rainy day.
Zooming in on Admiralty details...
Zooming in on Admiralty details...
...and even a bit more!
...and even a bit more!
Many street vendors in St. Petersb…
Many street vendors in St. Peters…
Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Peter…
Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Pete…
Capturing details of the beautiful…
Capturing details of the beautifu…
Catherine the Great at Ploshchad O…
Catherine the Great at Ploshchad …
Ciniselli Circus
Ciniselli Circus
Cruising Griboedova Canal
Cruising Griboedova Canal
The Winter Palace is the main buil…
The Winter Palace is the main bui…
Mikhaylovskiy Castle...just anothe…
Mikhaylovskiy Castle...just anoth…
Details of Mikhaylovskiy Castle
Details of Mikhaylovskiy Castle
Peter the Great statue in front of…
Peter the Great statue in front o…
Dome of St. Isaacs Cathedral
Dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral
St. Isaacs Cathedral
St. Isaac's Cathedral
Views from atop St. Isaacs Cathed…
Views from atop St. Isaac's Cathe…
Scanning the grounds from the Colo…
Scanning the grounds from the Col…
Peering into the beginning of Moyk…
Peering into the beginning of Moy…
Grand architecture everywhere.
Grand architecture everywhere.
Display window at Yeliseevskys De…
Display window at Yeliseevsky's D…
Inside Yeliseevskys Deli...ultima…
Inside Yeliseevsky's Deli...ultim…
Details of the building hosting Ye…
Details of the building hosting Y…
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