When St Petersburg served as the capital of the Russian Empire, the Imperial family always had ambitious plans for building palaces, parks and places of worship that would outdo the ones built before. Some landmarks outshine their contemporaries until this day and attract many visitors who admire them and their former glory.
The construction of the Kazan Cathedral began at the start of the 19th century. The inspiration for the design came from the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and, when first planned, the cathedral was intended to become Russia’s main Orthodox Church. Its purpose changed due to Russia’s victory over Napoleon in 1812 and the cathedral became a monument to that victory and the Field Marshall who lead Russia into battle, Mikhail Kutuzov, who is buried inside the church.
Kazan Cathedral, Kazan Square, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, +7 812 314 46 63
The Bronze Horseman monument was commissioned by the empress Catherine the Great to commemorate the founder of the city, Peter the Great. The Emperor is sculpted sitting on a horse, mounted on a large piece of granite called The Thunder Stone. The Thunder Stone was meant to represent the difficulties Peter the Great had to overcome when building the empire. The legend states that this piece of granite was split by lightning and was the largest stone ever moved by humans.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood lives up to its name, as it was built on the site of a murder. One of the most forward-thinking emperors, Alexander II, was killed by terrorist in the place where the church stands today. The church differs from other monuments in St Petersburg. It was meant to echo the Medieval architecture of Russia, intentionally resembling St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The exterior of the church is covered in over 7000 plates of mosaic. The church is not operational anymore but remains an important St Petersburg landmark.