The Museum Complex The State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral
In St Petersburg you will definitely want to see one of those wonderful churches, and then... You will see the exquisite Smolny Cathedral, a masterpiece of Rastrelli’s baroque, the shimmering mosaics and marble floor patterns at the Church of the Savior on Blood , the ancient icon-painting and carved iconostases at the St Sampson`s Cathedral, erected by Peter I in gratitude for the victorious Poltava battle, the icons of golden mosaics and the columns of malachite and lapis lazuli in the grand St Isaac’s Cathedral.
These churches of ecclesiastic architecture differ from each other greatly, yet they are all part of the museum complex St Isaac’s Cathedral, also known as ‘the museum of four cathedrals”.
The Museum takes great care in preserving and restoring its cathedrals, each one of them is part of the Russian national heritage. However, they are also active Orthodox churches in which prayer services, religious processions and divine liturgies take place.
We will make every effort possible to make your visit to the cathedrals a memorable experience, convenient and comfortable for you.
If you are in St Petersburg for a short while and pressed for time, then the bus tour The Cathedral Ring will make it possible for you to see all four cathedrals at once. If you cannot see the cathedrals during the day, you are welcome to see St Isaac’s and the Church of the Savior on Blood during the evening. To admire the panoramic views of the Neva and the city’s downtown architecture at white nights, climb up the colonnaded walkway of St Isaac’s Cathedral – in the summer it is open from dusk till dawn.
Flickering candles and special lighting effects accompany the programs The Nativity of Christ and The Burning Easter Candle held in St Sampson`s Cathedral. While on the tour, you will hear church hymns performed by the Smolny Cathedral Chamber Choir. Orthodox spiritual music concerts are given in all of the churches.
Throughout an academic year, the younger people of St Petersburg can participate in the program From Museum to School to learn more about school subjects, as well as about the layout of an Orthodox church and icon painting. Experienced educators will tell them more about the spiritual meaning of major Christian feasts.
More detailed information on the history and decorative design of the cathedrals is available in a variety of illustrated albums, books and multimedia albums that may be purchased at museum kiosks.