Contrary to popular belief the Kazan Cathedral is not located in the city of Kazan, but it is located one of the most beautiful places in Saint Petersburg. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Kazan, the most revered icon in Russia. The construction started in 1801 and lasted for the whole decade, which is not surprising given the size of this beautiful monument. The cathedral incredibly looks like the Saint Peter Cathedral from Vatican (many believe that the Kazan Cathedral is the exact replica of Saint Peter Cathedral). The chief architect was Andrei Vornikin.
The cathedral was built in the imperial style, prevalent in Western Europe at the time - impressive main doors made in bronze are the replica of the famous Florence Baptistery from 12th century are one of the typical symbols of this style. The interior of the cathedral looks like a large ball hall (69 meters long and 62 meters high). Famous artists of imperial Russia built interior sculptures and mosaics. The catholic influence was more than obvious in the construction of this cathedral. The idea of the Romanov family was to bring in a foreign influence to the traditional Russia, which provoked a resignation from Russian Orthodox Church. Arguing that this cathedral had nothing to do with the Orthodox values, Russian Orthodox Church had a strong negative reaction against accepting this church to its bosom. However, the Romanov family ruled Russia and their authority carried weight. The Russian elite loved the new influence and it is important to say that French was considered a “dominant” language among the well off, whereas ordinary people spoke Russian. The western influence was welcomed among the elite and rebuked by the common folk.
After the Napoleonic wars, the Cathedral was transformed into a memorial monument (to hail the great victory over Napoleon), where one of the best Russian generals was buried - General Kutuzov, who has beaten Napoleon and brought a great victory to the Russian people. From 1837, there are two bronze statues set in front of the cathedral; one represents General Kutuzov and the other general Barclay de Tolly.
After the Bolshevik revolution, the church was closed down and then in 1932 transformed into a museum of religion and atheism. In 1992, the first religious event took place at the Kazan Cathedral. Several years later, the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.
It is important to mention that in the same place where Kazan Cathedral is situated today there was the church once dedicated to the Birth of the Holy Virgin. In 1773 a young tsar, Pavel Petrovich married in this church. This church was later demolished and the new Kazan cathedral was built.
The entrance is free of charge.
Working hours of the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg
Every day from 7:00am to 6:00pm
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