We arrived in St. Petersburg and had a private guide and I would highly recommend it for anyone visiting St. Petersburg. The first place we visited was the Peter and Paul Fortress on Hare’s Island. In the middle of the fortress stands Peter and Paul’s Cathedral. This is the burial place of all of the Russian Emperors. Our guide was a pensioner and she was still very fond of the emperors and told us she wished it her country was still the USSR of old. I have a thing for decorative ceilings and this is one from the Cathedral.
The next day we went to the Hermitage Museum. With a private guide we were able to skip the long line and walked right into the museum.
The Hermitage is huge. It has been calculated that, if you spend a minute at one item and spend 8 hours in the Hermitage daily, it will take you almost 15 years to view all the museum’s exhibits!
I discovered two things I didn’t know about the Museum. The first is the building itself is just as impressive as the art that is inside. The second is the only work of art from a Soviet Union artist is a faberge egg.
I was really disappointed I thought I’d be able to see a painting from the artist Repin but all the art from the Soviet Union is in the Petersburg’s Imperial Academy of Arts. Funny that their own art is not on display in the world famous Hermitage.
We went next to The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built by Tsar Alexander III as a memorial and mourning place following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. It’s spectacular on the outside but even more so on the inside.
Every inch is covered in the most amazing mosaic of the life of Christ. Who knew this was allowed to exist in a country that outlawed religion. It was one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen.
No trip to St. Petersburg, Russia would be complete without a visit to Catherine Palace. Catherine’s Palace, also called the Summer Palace was built and then remodeled to rival Versailles and I think it accomplished it.
A few interesting things to know. The palace was not named after Catherine the Great, it’s actually named after Catherine I. (Peter the Great’s wife.) The daughter of Catherine, the Empress Elizabeth is responsible for the current design.There is over 200 pounds of gold that decorate the interior. The Amber Room lived up to it’s reputation. Unfortunately you can’t take photos in the room but every inch of the room is covered in Amber.
The gardens and the fountains were my favorite part of the summer palace. Again there is gold everywhere.
This was my favorite place in all the summer palace. There was something about the gold statue in the middle of all the green that was just spectacular. St. Petersburg should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to see.