5 of St Petersburg's most beautiful buildings

Russia’s northern capital, St Petersburg, is often called the Venice of the north due to its long interweaving canals and beautiful baroque and neoclassical architecture. The city is home to some incredible buildings, read on for a few which you won’t want to miss when you visit this enchanting city.

St Isaac’s Cathedral

This was, at one time, the largest Cathedral in Russia. Built between 1818 and 1858 by French architect Auguste Montferrand to be one of the most impressive landmarks of the capital of the Russian Empire (this was before Moscow became capital), the huge gold dome of St Isaac’s still dominates the skyline of the city. The interior of the cathedral is equally magnificent, and tourists can climb the 300 steps up to the collonnade to enjoy breathtaking views across the city.

St Isaac Cathedral

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

One of St Petersburg’s most popular tourist attractions, Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood is an undeniably impressive Russian Orthodox church built on the site of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II and dedicated to his memory. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators. Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, containing over 7500 square metres of tiled artwork – according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg’s other structures as it harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

The Hermitage

St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum can unequivocally be considered the largest single museum in the world. Covering a vast area of land and containing a total of 3 million items, it is 4 times larger than the likes of Paris’ Louvre (the busiest museum in the world). The museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and has been open to the public since 1852. Amongst the Museum’s collections are an astonishing array of priceless art, including works by all time greats such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Picasso, amongt many many others. The museum currently holds the largest collection of paintings in the world.

Hermitage Museum

Catherine Palace

The Palace is an astonishing example of baroque architecture with its striking interiors that are more than spectacular. The palace is known for its legendary, truly unique Amber Room which was destroyed during  World War II and completely recreated only in 2003, a process that took over 20 years and over $12 million.

Peter and Paul Fortress

The very first building in St Petersburg.  The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva delta on 27th May 27 1703 and that day became the birthday of the city of St Petersburg. It is immediately recognisable from its extraordinary golden spire, visible all over the city centre at an incredible 122m in height. A visit to this large complex is a must, where you can see the tombs of many Russian Tsars, visit the excellent St Petersburg History Museum, and even relax on the beach with views of the Hermitage.

Kristi Rorison is Director of Outgoing Business at IntoRussia.

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