Better known as St. Isaac's Cathedral, this is one of the most beautiful and ornate orthodox churches in the world.
The Cathedral which was originally built in in honor of Peter the Great's patron-saint St. Isaac of Dalmatia is the fourth construction of its kind. The original wooden church which was place to the wedding ceremony of Peter the Great and Catherine I was destroyed by fire in early 18th century. A stone church and a grander cathedral that followed were not completed to the satisfaction of the monarchs. The present-day design was determined through a competition which was won by a young French architect Montferrand. It took 40 years to build this magnificent edifice, from 1818 to 1858.
Shortly after its construction, the Cathedral was given the status of the principal cathedral of the city and festive ceremonies were regularly held in it to mark Church Feasts and the Emperor's name-days. In 1928 the Cathedral was closed and soon re-opened to house an anti-religious museum. Damaged during the World War II and restored in 1950s, the Cathedral was opened as a memorial museum.
The Cathedral strikes the visitor with its gorgeous decoration. The exterior is decorated with sculptures, its huge dome is gold-leafed, and monolith granite columns surround the perimeter of the Cathedral. Mosaic paintings and icons, ornate marble slabs, as well as columns decorated with malachite and lapis-lazuli dazzle the eye inside the cathedral.
If you plan to visit only ONE church in Russia, we recommend you pay a visit to St. Isaac's Cathedral.