25 July 2011

St. Petersburg, Russia: A Capital History

Our last day in St. Petersburg was a fortress-church-museum day.  We started at the fortress of Peter and Paul, which contains the cathedral of Peter and Paul, picture above.  The fortress was founded by Peter the Great, the first Emperor of Russia, after the Russians regained control of the Neva lands (the area where St. Petersburg in situated) in the Northern War from the Swedes.  Built in the early 1700s, this fortress and all it contains was the focal point for the early St. Petersburg, which soon became the capital of Russia. Today, the fortress contains many of the original building and several nice museums, which I spend many hours wandering around in.  (In case you were wondering, the capital of Russia was transferred to Moscow after the Russian revolution in 1918).

Of particular interest to me was the space museum, which is housed in the laboratory where the initial testing and design of rocket engines was done (located with the fortress).  It was very cool to see all the old equipment, some models of the first satellites (including Sputnik!) and spacesuits, and some of the actual spacecraft.  The picture above is from a display of newspaper coverage of Sputnik from around the world, including the USA (I believe it was the Times).

I ended my day with two churches, St. Issac's Cathedral, pictured above, and the Kazan Cathedral, both of which are Russian Orthodox.  St. Issac's, which is now a museum, is modeled after the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome architecturally, but the interior is decorated in a much more Eastern fashion (aside from a to-scale replica of the Doors of Paradise, the originals of which are in Florence).  The Kazan Cathedral is the active cathedral in St. Petersburg, and it was very interesting to see a Russian Orthodox service in action.  Though I can see similarities to the Mass, there are certainly some stark differences.


Jaylin said...

I hate space! lol Looks like you are still having fun <3

linda feldt said...

Hey Kate, Lots of history your dad should have gone. Stay safe love & prayers mom

grandma feldt said...

Wonderful blogs! Love Ya