The main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint-Petersburg.
Kazansky Cathedral is located in the very center of St. Petersburg, on Nevsky Prospect.
Since 1737, on this place there was a church of the Nativity of Our Lady. It housed one of the main St. Petersburg shrines - the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Kazan. Therefore, this church was often called Kazansky.
Later a lot of new buildings appeared in Nevsky Prospect. In particular, a palace of the influential Stroganoff family was built not far from the Nativity Church. Temples of other concessions were also built nearby. But the capital needed a new Orthodox cathedral that would not get lost in such an environment.
The construction of the new cathedral was started by the Emperor Paul I. While he was just the heir to the throne, he traveled throughout Italy and he was deeply impressed with the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome. Paul wanted to build a similar cathedral in Russia.
In 1797, Paul I asked Count Alexander Stroganoff, the president of the Academy of Arts, to elaborate the plan in detail and submit a project. In November of 1800, the emperor approved the project of the Russian architect Andrew Voronikhin, originating from the Count Stroganoff’s serfs. The count himself became the chairman of the board of trustees for the construction of the cathedral.
The cathedral was started in August 1801, already under the reign of Alexander I. The construction lasted for 10 years and the cost came to 4.7 million rubles.
According to the idea of the emperor Paul I, the architect gave the cathedral an external resemblance to St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. This was reflected in the colonnade of 96 columns of the Corinthian order. It stretches from the northern facade of the building towards Nevsky Prospekt. Voronikhin assumed the construction of a second colonnade stretching from the southern facade, but due to a lack of funds, this plan was not fulfilled.
The cathedral has the shape of a Latin cross. The western part of the interior is decorated with 56 pink granite columns. The granite was brought from Finland. The iconostasis was minted from the silver captured by the Don Cossacks in 1812 during the war against the French army. The icons were painted by the best painters of the first half of the 19th century. Some of these icons are now kept in the Russian Museum.
Residents of St. Petersburg and its surrounding provinces received orders for the supply of materials and contracts for various works, it favorably affected their well-being.
Some of the accounting documents have been preserved. Below you can find some information about various people who received those payments.
~ The merchant Lev Onufriev received 196 rubles 40 kopecks for processing of the stone for the column foundations.
~ The peasant Stephan Grigoryev received 447 rubles for supplying the construction site with stone carvers and lime carriers.
~ The locksmith Teibel received 426 Rubles 80 kopecks for various works at the site.
~ The merchant Ivan Fedorov received 4019 rubles 17 kopecks for supplying wooden logs and boards.
~ The manufacturer Vasily Kokushkin received 1125 rubles 83 ¼ kopecks for gold fringe, tassels and lace.
~ The serf of Count Shuvalov, whose name was Solomon Yuryev, received 1104 rubles 2 kopecks for supplying the pine coal.
~ The stucco masters Medici and Toricelli received 7.611 rubles 18 ½ kopecks for their work in the cathedral according to the contract dated February 28th, 1808
~ The former book-keeper of the construction committee – the titular councilor Tushensky received 1000 rubles.
The cathedral was completed before the start of the Patriotic War of 1812, and later it became a monument to the Russian victory over Napoleon. In 1813, the commander-in-chief of the Russian army during this war, Field Marshal Prince M. Kutuzov, was buried in the Cathedral. Inside the cathedral there are banners, standards and keys from the captured cities. In 1837, monuments to Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly (the commander of the 1st Army of the West during the War of 1812) were erected at the northern facade of the cathedral.
For his great work the architect Andrew Voronikhin was appointed to be the Chief Professor of the Academy of Fine Arts.
On October 28th, 1893, a funeral ceremony for composer Piotr Tchaikovsky was held in the cathedral.
In April of 1932 the cathedral was closed, and on November 15th of the same year the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism was opened in the building. The miraculous icon of Our Lady of Kazan was moved to Vladimirsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
In 1991 the services were resumed in Kazansky Cathedral.
On March 29th, 1998, the cathedral was solemnly consecrated in accordance with the charter of the Orthodox Church.
Kazansky Cathedral is open for visits daily from 6.30 a.m. until the end of the evening service. The excursion department is open daily from 11:30 till 18:00.
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