St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Nicholas' Naval Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral stands in the western edges of Central St. Petersburg and is a glorious confection of blue, white and gold which couldn’t be in any other city.

Surprisingly, it is a lot older than it looks, you expect maybe 1860s or later, but it was built to a design by Savva Chevakinsky, the main architect employed by the Russian Navy, between 1753 and 1762 on the site of an earlier, wooden church. The bell tower which stands nearby was added in 1755.

Until the Russian Revolution put an end to overt religious services in the USSR, the Cathedral was associated with the Navy and contains a number of memorials to sunken Soviet submarines, including a recent memorial to the Kursk.

There are, as it happens, two churches here. One on the ground floor, and one on the floor above. The alter of the upper church was consecrated in the presence of Catherine the Great – who was, of course, a well-known sponsor of the Russian Navy.

The church, which unlike many Cathedrals in St. Petersburg, still functions as a church, can hold up to 5,000 people and is a delightful detour from the more overwhelming fare of the City Centre.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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