The Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is a famous symbol of St. Petersburg, which appeared in the 18th century. The wooden church, built in honour of the famous apostles Peter and Paul, thanks to the project of Domenico Trezzini turned into a stone cathedral. It became the spiritual embodiment of the reformist ideas of Peter the Great.
The construction of the Cathedral began in 1712. The Italian architect Domenico Trezzini managed that work. The bell tower was built first but its spire sparkled with gilded copper much later. The height of the building was 112 meters, which is higher than the bell tower of Ivan the Great in 32 meters.
The cathedral which kept trophy elements in the form of banners, keys to captured fortresses, and defeated cities was a monument to the greatness of Russian weapons for about two centuries. The trophies were transferred to the Hermitage, and the Cathedral was closed in the 20th century.
A large number of rare church utensils were confiscated or lost. During the siege of Leningrad, the altar stained-glass window called the Resurrection of Christ, created by artist N. Bruni perished. In 1954, the cathedral was incorporated into the State Museum of the History of Leningrad.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral was the first church in Russia, made in the baroque style of the hall type with an unusual exterior and interior. The building has the shape of an elongated rectangle with a length of 61 metres, a width of 27.5 metres.
The building has a bell tower, turning into a gilded spire with a weather vane, in the form of a soaring angel and a cross. There is a fresco on the east side of the wall. The western part of the temple is decorated with 6 columns and the entrance portico.
The Cathedral was the highest building in the city for a long time. The total height of the temple is 122 meters. The metal frame of the spire is 40 meters high. About 8 kg of pure gold was spent on its gilding.
A weather vane in the shape of a winged angel is mounted on the top of the spire. Its height is 3.2 meters with a wingspan of 3.8 metres. Gusts of wind during the flood more than once damaged the figure.
- The first wooden figure of the angel burned
- The second angel lost its wings during the storm. A roofer Peter Telushkin climbed the spire on a rope and fixed the damage. The emperor appreciated the courageous deed with the medal “For Diligence” and ordered a roofer to be served free of charge in every tavern of Russia at the expense of the state’s treasury.
- The third version of the angel began to rotate independently at the base of the cross. It was repaired in the 90s of the XX century with the help of helicopters.
The bell tower is visually dominant in the architecture of the temple. The initial height of the bell tower was 106 meters. Subsequent changes in the construction of the spire, the installation of the winged angel figure and the cross increased it.
The bell tower is built on a multi-tiered type which creates a smooth transition from the base of the Cathedral. The third tier ends with a roof with windows in white-stone frames. A graceful drum with oblong openings stands above the roof, and there is an octahedral crown, covered with gold above it.
The columns divide the Peter and Paul Cathedral into three independent naves. There are five large chandeliers hanging above the large pillars that form special lighting in the temple.
Jasper, coloured marble and rhodonite are the main materials for decorating the inner part of the Cathedral. Light limestone slabs were used for the floor. Massive chandeliers are decorated by the brilliance of crystal, coloured Venetian glass, and gilded bronze.
There is a pulpit, covered with gold, decorated with statues of revered saints opposite the altar. The royal place decorated with velvet juicy crimson, carved, crown with gilding.
The idea of creating an imperial tomb belongs to Peter I. The first burial places were made in 1708.
There were 76 graves in the cathedral tomb, leaving no room for further burials by the end of the 19th century. A separate Grand Prince’s tomb was built nearby in 1896. All the burials are decorated with white marble elements with obligatory gilded bronze crosses. The two-headed eagle is depicted on the imperial sarcophagi.
Wedding and christening ceremonies never took place in the temple. Just funerals of members of the imperial family and the commandants of the Peter and Paul Fortress
Only funerals of persons of the imperial family, the commandants of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Maria Fedorovna, who died in Denmark in 1928, was reburied here in September 2006.
The main element of the cathedral interior is a carved iconostasis, 20 meters high. Linden and larch wood was used as a material. The composition of the iconostasis includes five kiots and 43 icons. The icons were written around 1729 by Russian icon painting masters. They show patrons, defenders of the city:
- Alexander Nevsky
- Vladimir the Great
- Olga of Kiev
- apostles Peter and Paul
- martyrs Boris and Gleb
Tickets and opening time in 2019
You can visit the Cathedral from 10 am to 7 pm daily. The cost is 550 rubles.
Peter and Paul Fortress, Cathedral Square,1
How to get
Walk through Alexander Park by Kronverkskaya Embankment.