If the churches built in the Russian style, delight people with the magnificence and tumult of colours, the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg amazes with its grandeur. A single dome soars into the sky, 56 columns, decorated with capitals, hide the temple building.
Although the Kazan Cathedral was built from 1801 to 1811, the history of its creation dates back to the first half of the XVII century, when the Emperor Peter the Great was on the throne. The monarch treated with respect the Kazan Mother of God, he brought the icon of the Virgin to St. Petersburg, and since then the image has become a shrine to the Romanov dynasty.
The temple degraded, the palaces of noble inhabitants of the city were built next to it. The church lost its greatness over time. At the end of the XVII century, Emperor Paul I decided to demolish the church, and in its place build a magnificent cathedral.
At the same time, the whole complex would be located in a certain area and not create dissonance with already existing buildings. According to the canons of the church, the main facade with the front door should be facing to the west and the altar to the east. To following this rule, the entrance to the cathedral would not be on Nevsky Prospect, but on a secondary street.
Thousands of serfdoms were engaged in the construction of the cathedral. Everything was done by hand. It is even difficult to imagine how monolithic columns were loaded onto ships, each weighing about 30 tons.
When construction was completed, Nevsky became the main road of the city
The war with religion was declared after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Many beautiful temples demolished. Warehouses, archives and educational institutes were located in other churches.
To save the Kazan Cathedral, the staff persuaded the government to open a museum of atheism in its building. The icons were transferred to the museum, the image of the Kazan Mother of God was sent to another cathedral. The icon returned to its place only at the beginning of the 21st century. A lot of priceless treasures were lost, but the staff managed to defend the cathedral, it retained unique bas-reliefs and interior decoration.
It cannot be said that architect Voronikhin created a copy of St. Peter’s Basilica, only a semicircular colonnade reminds of this building. The Kazan Cathedral is unique. In terms of its configuration resembles a Latin cross.
56 columns not only decorate the monument of architecture but also mask the asymmetric shape of the building. It is unnoticeable that the dome is not above the centre of the temple, but shifted eastward from the side of Nevsky Prospect.
Portals are decorated with magnificent bas-reliefs with images of biblical scenes. 14 giant stone paintings adorn the attic. The length of each of them is about 15 meters. There are more than 40 characters in each story.
Marble, granite, jasper and porphyry were chosen for the interior decoration of the temple. Marble slabs of different colours on the floor are laid out in the form of ornaments. The beauty of the stone is set off by a delightful chandelier, details made of gold and other precious metals.
The first iconostasis, which decorated the temple until 1936, was not preserved. There is a silver iconostasis with chasing today.
6.30 am – 8 pm
Kazan Cathedral is a functioning Orthodox church. Services are held daily at 7 am, 10 am and 18 pm. Tourists may have limited access to areas where worshipers pray during the service.
Kazan Square, 2
- Nevsky Prospect
- Gostiny Dvor
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