Saint Petersburg
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Saint Petersburg [Санкт-Петербург in Russian] was the former capital of Russia, founded by Peter I (Peter the Great) in 1703 to be Russia's window to the west. Located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, this is where we ended our trip. In the 20th Century, Saint Petersburg underwent three name changes: Saint Petersburg, Petrograd (1914-1924), Leningrad (1924-1991), and finally, back to Saint Petersburg. It is Russia's second largest city with a population of approximately 6 million.

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Our ship, Sergei Kirov, arrives in Saint Petersburg

Our ship, The Viking Sergei Kirov, arrives in Saint Petersburg's Salt Pier where it becomes
our floating hotel for the next several days.

The Smolnyy Convent was founded in 1748 by Czarina Elizabeth for young noblewomen to be educated. The central building is a cathedral flanked by two convent wings.

Smolnyy Convent in Saint Petersburg   Smolnyy Convent in Saint Petersburg

St Isaacs Cathedral, Saint Petersburg   Saint Petersburg's skyline showing St Isaacs Cathedral

St Isaac's Cathedral  was designed in 1818 by August de Montferrand. Nearly 100 kilograms of pure gold were used to cover its golden dome which dominates the city skyline (R). When built, it was the largest cathedral in Russia. During the Soviet era, this church was designated a museum dedicated to atheism.  St Isaacs "saint isaac's cathedral"  "Saint Isaac"

The nameplate of the cruiser Aurora (L). On 25 October 1917 at 940 pm, this cruiser signaled the beginning of the Russian Revolution by firing a single shot from its deck gun (R). Shortly after firing, the Winter Palace was stormed and the provisional government taken into custody. The ship is now a museum.

Nameplate for Cruiser Aurora   Historical Plaque for Cruiser Aurora   Historic Deck Gun on Cruiser Aurora

Jerrold Patz at of The Church On Spilled Blood   The Church On Spilled Blood   Panorama of The Church On Spilled Blood

The Church On Spilled Blood, also known as the Resurrection Church of Our Savior, was built on the spot where Czar Alexander II was assassinated on 1 March 1881 (thus the 'spilled blood'). Commissioned by his successor, Czar Alexander III, the foundation stone was laid in 1883. This is one of my most favorite buildings in Russia. Jerrold Patz   

Additional pictures of the Church On Spilled Blood. We circled this building several times to try to get good angles on the building, pictures without overhead wires or other obstructions. In all, we took over 100 pictures of this one building.

The Church On Spilled Blood   The Church On Spilled Blood   The Church On Spilled Blood

Rostral Columns in Saint Petersburg   Rostral Column Detail

These Rostral Columns are in front of the Naval Museum and were originally used as lighthouses to guide ships through the busy port of Saint Petersburg. The columns were decorated with protruding ship' prows to commemorate naval victories. The figures at the base represent four of Russia's great rivers - the Neva, Volga, Dneiper, and the Volkhov.

View from the Winter Palace across Palace Square. In the center (R) is the Alexander Column commemorating the defeat of Napoleon in 1812. The curved area (L) is the Guards Headquarters and General Staff Building. The arch is crowned by Carlo Rossi's 16-ton sculpture of Winged Glory.

View from the Winter Palace   View from the Winter Palace

Main Stairway in The Hermitage Museum   Detailed Wall Ornamentation in The Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum is housed inside one of the Winter Palace buildings. The pictures show (L) the main staircase and (R) a detail of the wall ornamentation.

Two additional views within the Hermitage, the second largest collection of art in the world (after Paris's Louvre). (L) a view of the almost endless corridors and archways and (R) some of the gold-framed statuary.

Corridors and Archways in The Hermitage Museum   Statuary in The Hermitage Museum

Entry to Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral   Tombs in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral   Tomb of Peter the Great

The main entrance to the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral (L) housing tombs of the czars and their families. (C) three czars with Peter the Great being the furthest. (R) A detail of the tomb and a bust of Peter the Great, founder of Saint Petersburg.

Additional interior photos of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. (L) a detail of the ceiling, (C) the final resting place of the last Czar Nicholas II, his family and some close servants, and (R) the main altar of the cathedral.

Ceiling of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral   Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral Memorial for Czar Nicholas II   Main Altar in Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Main Gate to Catherine's Palace   Detail of Main Gate to Catherine's Palace   Catherine's Palace

Catherine's Palace is located in Tsarskoye Selo ("czar's village", also called Pushkin) outside of Saint Petersburg. Here we see the main gate (L), a detail of its gold
ornamentation (C), and (R) one of the wings of the palace.

The gold and ornamentation were overwhelming. There was so much gold that it began to appear to be ordinary. (L) a ballroom, (C) a gilded doorway flanked by two ceramic heaters, and (R) a detail of the gold feet on the heaters and a chair.

Ballroom in Catherine's Palace   Ceramic Heaters in Catherine's Palace   Ornamentation in Catherine's Palace

Self Portrait in Catherine's Palace

Naimah took a picture of us in one of the gold-framed mirrors. At the bottom, you can see our blue, hospital-like, shoe coverings.  Jerrold Patz,

Surreptitious pictures from within the recreated Amber Room. An eye-popping
display of hundreds of square meters of Baltic amber with colors ranging from
honey to dark syrup.

The Amber Room in Catherine's Palace   The Amber Room in Catherine's Palace   The Amber Room in Catherine's Palace

An Outdoor Pavilion at Catherine's Palace   Naimah at Catherine's Palace   Navigation Signs at Catherine's Palace

The grounds of the palace are massive. It includes several pavilions (L), outbuildings, bathhouses, etc. There was even signage (R) for us to find our way. (C) Naimah poses in front of the main section of the palace.

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Here is a montage of additional pictures.

Mouse over any picture for a description. Click on any picture to expand it into a larger view.


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 tourist attraction KGB building portable toilet "nevsky prospekt" "Nevskiy Prospekt" "Jerrold Patz" "jerrold patz" patz naimah