St. Isaac's Cathedral

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St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the most famous attractions in St Petersburg. Its gilded dome dominates the city skyline and can be seen even far out into the Gulf of Finland. It is the fourth largest cathedral in the world following St Peter’s in Rome, St Paul’s in London and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence; and the major Orthodox basilica in Russia.

Dimensions of the building are impressive even if you admire it from a distance, and standing close by makes the sight simply breathtaking. The cathedral has 101.5 m in height, diameter of the dome is 26 m, and the massive granite columns weigh 114 tons each.

St. Isaac's Cathedral  represents late Classicism architecture and the great period in Russian history, when the country was at the height of its power after defeating Napoleon's army in 1812.

Interiors of the Cathedral

The lavish decoration inside the cathedral is in keeping with St. Isaac's elegant exterior. Various kinds of marble, malachite, lapis lazuli, jasper and other beautiful rare stones were used to decorate interiors of the building.  On the walls there are exquisite paintings and also mosaic icons - a unique feature of St. Isaac's Cathedral.

In the depth of the sanctuary, a stained-glass window is placed - quite a rare element for Russian religious architecture. The "Resurrected Christ" is among the largest stained-glass decorations in Europe.

Under the very roof of St. Isaac a white dove soars representing the Holy Spirit. This seemingly fragile silver-plated sculpture is about 2 m wide.

Admission to St Isaac's Cathedral is free with St Petersburg Card.

The Colonnade Viewing Platform

After the Peter and Paul Cathedral with its angel-crowned spire, St Isaac is the second tallest historical building in Saint Petersburg. The colonnade walkway under the main dome provides a fantastic bird's-eye view of the city. It is well worth mounting 262 steps of the spiral staircase.

Entrance to St Isaac's colonnade is free with St Petersburg Card.

Historical facts

Interestingly enough, this magnificent edifice is the result of the 4th attempt at constructing St. Isaac's Cathedral. Initially Peter the Great intended to have a church named after St. Isaac of Dalmatia, patron saint of the emperor. The wooden church was unfortunately soon destroyed by floods. Its stone successor built in the current Bronze Horseman spot wasn't destined to survive because of a fire. Afterwards Catherine II commissioned the project to architects A. Rinaldi and V. Brenna, however it was never brought to completion. And finally the glorious cathedral known to our contemporaries was designed by a French architect A. de Monferrand and constructed mainly during the reign of Nicholas I.

Over 400 thousand people took part in this construction - stonecutters, carpenters and other talented craftsmen. They were commoners, serfs who had to work In extremely hard conditions and not infrequently lost their lives. So, the splendour that we admire today was earned by a truly heroic feat of self-sacrificing and courageous common people.

Free with
St Petersburg Card
Normal Ticket Price: 250 +150 RUB

Address:
4, St. Isaac’s Square

Closest metro station:
Admiralteyskaya

Phone:
+7 (812) 315-97-32

Website:
www.cathedral.ru

Open hours:
Daily: 10.30 - 18.00, tickets till 17.30. Closed: Wednesday