Sept. 5, 2017
first stop today was to the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood.
It is called this because it sits on the spot where Tsar Alexander
II was killed in 1881 by a suicide bomber. The
church was begun just after Alexander's assassination but was not
actually completed until 1907. It features nine onion-dome cupolas
covered in gold, enamel and mosaics. The church had a short life
as a place of worship. It was looted with gusto during the 1917
Russian Revolution. During the communist era, it was used for storing
potatoes. It was damaged in WWII when its crypt did duty as a morgue.
Restored in the 1990's, today it serves mostly as a museum. The
walls are covered with 308 exquisite mosaics (nothing is painted).
second stop was to St. Isaac's Cathedral. It was built between 1818
and 1858. It is considered the leading church in the Russian Orthodox
world and the fourth largest domed cathedral of its type. The granite
steps and one-piece granite columns were shipped from a Finnish
vast, opulent interior covers 43,000 square feet, making it one
of the world's largest cathedrals. Most of what looks like paintings
in the church are actually mosaics which date from the first half
of the 19th century.
a welcome break from visiting museums, we joined with two other
TJ Travel tour groups for a boat tour along the Neva River and canals.
It was a great way to view the sites of St. Petersburg from the
We had to duck our heads as our boat went under the many bridges
over the canals. The bridges over the Neva River are draw bridges.
There is a special schedule for opening each bridge one by one at
night to let boats pass through.
lunch we visited the lavish Peterhof Palace. The palace sits along
the Gulf of Finland about 25 miles west of the city. Often referred
to as the Russian Versailles, this amazing complex built by Peter
the Great consists of a magnificent 18th century palace set amongst
beautiful fountains and parklands. There
are 150 fountains with gilded statues of mythological characters.
We were able to take a hydrofoil back to the city, which was much
quicker than the bus ride.
guide said it was important to see the subway system of St. Petersburg
and, surprisingly, it was very interesting. First of all, it is
very clean, with beautiful mosaic paintings on the walls. We entered
at the admiralty station so the mosaics depicted marine subjects.
rode the very steep and long (410 ft.) escalators down to the tracks
(but didn't actually ride the subway). We were quite impressed.
To view more photos from our second day in St. Petersburg, please
go to St. Petersburg Photo
Gallery II . To read about our third day in St. Petersburg,
go to St. Petersburg III.
Locations Visited Photos Map