Five fast days in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Five hours of daylight a day. Sun rising at 11am and gone by 4:30pm. With only a G12.
Part one . . . .
The skyline from the loggia below the cupola of Saint Isaacs Cathedral. The spires in the distance are the Admiralty and the Fortress of Peter and Paul.
Canals traverse the city and were once a main form of transportation. Just around this curve sits The Idiot – a 19th century literary cafe named for Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name and still popular among the writers of Saint Petersburg.
The cupola of Saint Isaacs Cathedral viewed from the Hermitage. The Cathedral, completed in 1858, is named for the patron saint of Peter the Great. Under communist rule, all religious symbols were removed and the Cathedral was turned into the Antireligious Museum. During WWII, the cupola was painted over in dull grey to avoid it being a bombing target. Today, the Cathedral is a religious museum for the Russian Orthodox Church and a portion is open as a place of worship.
Another view of Saint Petersburg from the loggia of Saint Isaacs Cathedral.
An ominous sky – and an even more ominous looking angel – over Nevskiy Prospekt.
Below is the Winter Palace of Catherine the Great – now the main part of the Hermitage museum complex – seen from the parade grounds. The permanent collections housed here, including the world largest collection of paintings, are the result of prolific acquisitions by Catherine herself, and added to by Alexander I and Nicholas I of Russia.
The Atlantes Portico entrance to the New Hermitage is just to the northeast of the Winter Palace. It is flanked with 10 amazing granite statues carved by Alexander Terebenev with the assistance of 150 stone masters. Honestly, they are spectacular.
As a point of reference, a 6 foot tall person would come just to the ankles of the statues.
Inside the Hermitage, a series of black marble urns dominate the entry into the galleries.
Another view of the Winter Palace in the (very rare) sunshine.
Now to go underground . . . . into Saint Petersburg’s metro system.
The metro system is in a word – beautiful. The best architects were employed. Thousands of tons of marble, granite, limestone and glass were used to build the stations – above ground and below. Chandeliers serve as lighting above the trains. Mosaics line the walls. It is worth a day to just ride from station to station and take it all in.
Mayakovskaya Station on the Nevsko-Vasileostrovskaya Line, features a mosaic of Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky completed in 1967.
The trains are clean and grafitti-free (for the most part) – I love the retro look of this one.
Avtovo Station on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line was opened in 1955 as part of the first metro line in Saint Petersburg. It is the crown jewel of the system. Art Deco in design, it features molded glass columns and white marble. It was being renovated when I was there so the glass columns are covered with the wood slats seen below. Even so, still striking.
Kirovskiy Zavod Station on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line.
Narvskaya Station on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line.
Thanks for reading along. The second post on Saint Petersburg will feature the Russian Orthodox Cathedrals.
До свидания – Do svidaniya – Til we meet again,