Wandering Camera

Album 163
(Translated b
y Ingerid Maria Opdahl)

More and more sights in St. Petersburg become covered in scaffolding, as they are prepared for the 300 years anniversary. The Peter and Paul Cathedral turned out to be fully covered.
However, this does not hinder us in having a look at the interior. And that is what we are doing today.


We start with the Grand Dukes' Burial Vault (the cathedral and this later addition to it are now one building). Here, there is an exhibition of various photographs, plans and charts connected with the construction and restoration of the cathedral.
In the next hall, one can buy souvenirs, and there are also gravestones in the floor. The idea is that members of the Tsar's family are - or were - buried here.
The Burial Vault was built from 1896-1908 after plans by D. Grimm, with the participation of A. Timoshenko and L. Benois.

I was told that during the Vault's construction, the original architect made serious miscalculations, and because of this, Benois & co were asked to assist.

Now to the Cathedral itself.

The Cathedral is remarkable in two ways: it was the first Cathedral to be built in St. Petersburg (1712-1733), and almost all Emperors of Russia are buried here, from Peter I (Peter II and Ivan VI Antonovich are missing).

In 1865, sarcophagi made from Carrara marble (architects: A.A. Poirot and A.L. Gun) replaced the old gravestones. Afterwards, the design was used also for later burials.
As you might remember, a performance took place in the summer of 1998. It included bone digging on all TV channels, followed by the funeral of Nicholas II and his family here. The Church, it seems, didn't recognise that it was the remains of the actual Tsar family that had been found.

Anyway, this is the place where they were buried.

The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling were made in the late 18th century from crystal, gilt bronze, and coloured glass.
The little balcony on the left is the pulpit. The priest would read sermons from it. Perhaps sermons are read even today - the Cathedral has an unclear status (it has been a museum since 1924).
The sculptures above the balcony are the apostles Peter and Paul.

Behind it is the iconostasis.
We go a little closer...

The iconostasis was made from wood in 1722-1726, carved by the Moscow carvers T. Ivanov and I. Telega, under the direction of I.P. Zaprudny.
It was assembled in the Cathedral and covered in pure gold.
M.A. Merkuryev and his assistants painted the icons for the iconostasis.

As written in the leaflet: "...the iconostasis approaches the form of the triumphal arches put up in Peter's time for celebrations of Russian weapons' victories..."

In 1865-66 the carved wooden shutters were replaced with copper gilt cast iron ones.

In previous centuries, Swedish and Turkish standards, city and fortress keys taken as trophies by Russian soldiers, were kept in the Cathedral. In the early 20th century they were given to museums, but copies have been kept in the Cathedral.

In the next album I plan to finally say goodbye to winter.



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