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Cathedrals and churches of Saint Petersburg - St.Isaac's Cathedral

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is a remarkable monument of the 19th century architecture and one of the most known symbols of Saint Petersburg. The history of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is closely connected with the history of the city – during the time of city’s developing existed 4 cathedrals of this name. The first one was a small wooden church built soon after the foundation of the city in 1707, but demolished a few years later. The 2nd St. Isaac’s Church was completed by the project of Mattarnovy with a 3 tier belfry and iconostasis of carved wood after the blueprints of famous Ivan Zarudny (who designed an iconostasis in Peter and Paul’s Cathedral). In 1735 that church was badly damaged by fire and was pulled down in 1763. The construction of 3rd church was entrusted by Catherine the Great to the architect Rinaldi, but after Paul I came to reign the construction sight was robbed for Mikhailovsky Castle. The 4th St. Isaac’s Cathedral was created by the great architect August Monferrand. 11000 wooden piles were driven into the ground in addition to 13000 piles left from the 3rd cathedral. The dome is 22 meters in diameter and consists of 3 vaults. The main outer vault and the inner one are spherical; the middle one is conical.

St. Isaac’s cathedral is the 4th highest among 1-cupola cathedrals in Europe after St.Peter’s cathedral in Rome, St. Paul’s cathedral in London and church of St. Maria Del Fiori in Florence. Magnificence of cathedral is guarded by 3 huge doors known as the biggest in the world. Each door is 42 square meters in size, 20 tons weight and has 55 bronze reliefs each, showing the history of Christianity. The interior of the cathedral is richly decorated with marble of 14 types and a variety of mosaics. The iconostasis of 3 tiers separates the sanctuary from the congregation. The bottom tier is decorated with mosaics after Neff’s paintings. It shows the patron saints of the Russian emperors in whose reign all four St.Isaac’s Cathedrals were built. The second tier shows patron saints of the imperial family members (grand dukes). The third row all painted by Givago represents the prophets and patriarchs. In the middle is the mosaic “The last supper”. On the height of 93 meters you can see the dove symbolizing the Holy Ghost. During the siege the cathedral was used as a storehouse and it was badly damaged because of the window gaps. Restoration was over in 1962 and nowadays you could enjoy all the magnificence of most impressive Cathedral in St.Petersburg.

NB! You can visit this cathedral during our individual city tours and tours to churches and cathedrals of St.Petersburg.

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