St. Isaac's Cathedral

St. Isaac's Cathedral

St. Isaac's Cathedral is the largest, the richest and the most famous cathedral in St. Petersburg and the 4th largest domed cathedral in Europe. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world (height 101.5 meters, base over 10000 square meters, diameter of the main dome is about 25 meters). This outstanding architectural monument which used to be the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the 19th century is decorated with 112 huge granite columns, hundreds of wonderful sculptures, dozens of mosaic and graphic works. The cathedral comes out strong both outside and inside. Its gilded dome is visible even from the city’s remote outskirts.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral is dedicated to the legendary Byzantine monk St. Isaac the Dalmatian, whose feast day coincides with the birthday of Peter I, the founder of St. Petersburg (May 30). All in all there were 4 churches in St. Petersburg dedicated to St. Isaac - every emperor found the previously built church not grand enough. The monumental building that we see today was built to the design of a French architect August Monferrand. The construction took 40 years, from 1818 to 1858. It is the last construction of St. Petersburg that was built in Russian Classicism style. The cathedral can accommodate about 14000 people.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral – the gem of St. Petersburg

The inner design of the building takes your breath away. About 400 kilograms of gold and 1000 tons of bronze went into the decoration of St. Isaac’s, the principal cathedral of the Empire. 16000 kilograms of malachite and more than eleven square meters of Badakhshan lapis lazuli were used for the coating of the chancels. Semiprecious Shoksha porphyry, slate and diverse kinds of marble were employed for facing the floors, walls and piers of the cathedral. The outstanding variety of minerals was the reason for naming St. Isaac’s Cathedral, along with the Hermitage, a treasury of colored stones. One’s imagination is struck by a polyphony in the décor of the walls and patterned floors, the gilding of elegant statues, the subtle color nuances of the mosaics and paintings decorating the vaults and walls.

Today the state museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral is a memorial edifice of Russian devotional architecture and the fine arts of the first half of the eighteenth to early twentieth century. The cathedral is also a venue of large-scale religious services on special festive occasions, concerts of spiritual Orthodox music are also held under its vaults.




Notes for the visitors of St. Isaac’s Cathedral

If you are fit, consider going to the colonnade of the cathedral. Standing on the platform you will see the city spread out before you. You will especially enjoy this view if you are fond of taking pictures. The panorama view is breathtaking, but the way up is quite challenging: there are no elevators in St. Isaac's, so you'll have to walk up the spiral stairs all the way (almost 300 steps). It's a long way up, but trust us, the result is worth the work.

Inside visit to the Cathedral is often included in our ready-made tour itineraries, it lasts about 30 minutes. You will definitely see it during the city tour. If you decide to go there on your own, please keep in mind that they don’t offer tours in any language but Russian to individual tourists, audio-guide is also not available.

Closed: on Wednesday

Duration of a tour: 0.5 hours (as part of a tour itinerary)

Official web site: St. Isaac's Cathedral

Please contact us if you would like to arrange a tour.

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