- Welcome to St Petersburg Essential Guide -

st isaac cathedral
The most impressive cathedral in the world


St Isaac Cathedral is one of the largest and most ornate cathedrals. Its beauty blends perfectly with the beauty of the city.

St. Petersburg is home to many grand cathedrals, but St. Issac's Cathedral is renown for its breathtaking artistry in vivid mosaics, spectacular murals and elaborate frescoes. With no detail spared, the ornate iconography depicting the saints, The Virgin Mary and the Last Supper are appropriately described as out of this world.

Often compared to the Le Pantheon in Paris and St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the extensive use of granite, marble, bronze and gold, as well as massive columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli resulted in a visual masterpiece of incomparable beauty. With 882 pounds of gold, 16 tons of malachite and 1,000 tons of bronze, St. Issac's Cathedral is considered one of the world's most spectacular cathedrals.

Classified as a museum in 1931 by the Soviet Union, this architectural wonder remains so to this day. Great consideration is being invested into the decision to return it to the Russian Orthodox Church or continue offering it publicly as a museum. Dedicated to St. Isaac of Dalmatia, Peter the Great's patron saint, this great cathedral's origins stem from a little wooden church built by Peter in 1706, which was where his wedding to Catherine I took place.

After an unforgettable tour of the interior, visitors can experience another thrill by taking the stairs up to the colonnade for a 360 degree panoramic view of St. Petersburg. This requires the purchase of an additional ticket, but is well worth the cost and the climb. The stairs are wide and shallow and the only slightly difficult part is the last steel steps up to the golden dome.

Perhaps the greatest advice from those who have experienced the impact of this Russian cathedral is to contemplate the incredible skill of the craftsmen and to behold the profound story of faith that's illustrated in their mastery. For it is this that makes St. Issac's Cathedral a living museum.

A LOOK INSIDE ST ISAAC CATHEDRAL


The stunning St Isaac's Cathedral is a must see on a visit to St. Petersburg. To learn more click on the link below or scroll down the page.

st isaac's cathedral


St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the largest religious buildings in the world (height: 101.5 metres; base: over 10,000 square metres; diameter of the dome: about 25 metres). The construction of this highly complex project did much to further the development of constructional engineering and applied art in Russia.

In fact we can say that the history of St Isaac Cathedral is closely connected with the history of St Petersburg.

Actually, is the fourth church that bears this name.

A tour inside the cathedral will take you through amazing mosaic and painting Icons; beautiful statues of angels, evangelists and apostles; massive columns of malachite and lapis lazuli; stained glass window of The Resurrected Christ behind the altar, and much more.

However, I guess that for every visitor the most impressive thing of visiting St Isaac Cathedral would be admiring the unique collection of monumental and decorative sculpture, including both interior and exterior sculptures, which are made of 400 kilos of gold, tons of costly jasper, lapis lazuli and 16 tonnes of malachite.

For a foreigner it is hard to imagine a column of malachite, as it is for a Russian to imagine a diamond or sapphire vase (an impossible luxury, on a par with the Throne of the Lord in the Book of Revelations).

interesting facts


The Cathedral was designed by architect Auguste de Montferrand, and was built during forty years (1818 - 1858). In 1858, it became the main cathedral of Saint Petersburg. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, it was take under the state of protection and in 1931 it became a museum. After the World Word II, when the interior was awfully damaged, it was completely restored. Nowadays, the museum is being visited by about 10 million people per year.

Peter ordered the construction of a stone church which was completed following his death in 1727, but when its foundation could not withstand the unstable marshlands, Catherine II hired architect Antonio Rinaldi to build a new church. In the long run, it was Tsar Alexander I, who held the first competitive bid for a grand cathedral and secured its final place in history. After many years, French architect Auguste Montferrand was chosen and in the 40 years to follow, St. Issac's Cathedral was completed.

You should know that St Isaac Cathedral can accommodate 14,000 standing worshipers, and the three alters inside are dedicated to: St. Issac of Dalmatia, St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Catherine. Also, it is interesting to know that the church was named in tribute to Peter the Great who was born on the day of St. Isaac of Dalmatia.

how to get there


St Isaac Cathedral is located in the heart of St. Petersburg in St. Issac's Square, between Admiralteyskiy Prospect and Voznesensky Avenue. Nearby landmarks include The Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, Hotel Astoria, The Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic and the Monument to St. Nicholas I.

The nearest Metro Station is Admiralteyskaya. The public bus and trolley system provides convenient access to St. Issac's and surrounding city attractions. Bus N22 or N27 and Trolley N5 go along Nevsky Prospect with stops at major metro stations along the way.

If you are staying in downtown St Petersburg you can easily walk to get there, but if walking is not an option for you, then you can take the tram or the bus, or much better book a taxi.

where to buy tickets


You should purchase entrance tickets inside the door at the southern facade and not at the street level ticket booth. Tickets online are not offered, so if you want to tour St Isaac Cathedral on your own you must buy tickets on site at kiosks. On the contrary, if you are part of a group tour, or you hire a local tour guide tickets will be provided to you.

practical information


Address:  4, Isaakievskaya Square

Metro: Admiralteyskaya

Open: Daily 10.30 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5.30 pm. Evening openings of the Cathedral in the summer only (May 1 - September 30): 6 pm to 10.30 pm. Evening openings of the Colonnade in the summer only (May 1 - October 31): 6 pm to 10.30 pm. Night openings of the Colonnade in the White Nights only (June 1 - August 20): 10.30 pm to 4.30 am.

Closed: Wednesday

Telephone: +7 (812) 315-9732

Website: http://eng.cathedral.ru/isakievskii_sobor/

Admission:

Cathedral: Adult: Rubles 250.00. Children: Rubles 50.00. Audio-guide (in Russian, English, German, French, Italian or Spanish): Rubles 100.00.

Colonnade: Rubles 150.00. Evening openings of the Cathedral in the summer only: Rubles 400.00. Evening openings of the Colonnade in the summer only: Rubles 300.00. Night openings of the Colonnade in the White Nights only: Rubles 400.00

Photo and video: free/included

Accessibility note: The cathedral is wheelchair accessible: there are wheelchair lifts at entrance and exit.

tips & recommendations


Our Tips
  • The entire area is amazing but the Cathedral looks magnificent when walking towards it. Spectacular photos can be taken outside and inside the Cathedral. The views from the top level are good as well.
  • If it is a clear day we recommend climbing the dome's top, and enjoy the magnificent views over the city.
  • St Isaac Cathedral is not located in St Isaac Square. The cathedral is a block beyond the canal bridge and small plaza called the square. The Square holds the equestrian Monument to St Nicholas.
  • Please note that in summer the square is constantly noisy and crowded by queues of tourists that arrive by the bus loads. Hence, the best time to visit the cathedral would be late in the afternoon.
  • St Isaac Cathedral is particularly beautiful in the winter.
  • There are three ticket options: you can access the museum (cathedral interior); you can go up the tower; tour with the audio guide. You can get access to three sites with one ticket.
  • Be wary of possible pickpockets.

GO UP
Click on the links

From St Isaac Cathedral return to St Petersburg Attractions or go to the Homepage.

RECOMMENDED TRAVEL RESOURCES...

...For Planning Your Trip to Russia!

Find and Book Your Hotel to Russia Today, and Save up to 10%!
Buy Train Tickets to Russia On-line, and Save Up to 10% on Your Booking!
Buy Your Russian Travel Insurance On-line, and Save Up to 10% on Your Booking!
Get Your Visa Invitation Letter to Russia Today!

DO YOU LIKE ST PETERSBURG ESSENTIAL GUIDE? HAVE YOU FOUND THIS PAGE HELPFUL?


If you do, please help others to find out about it. If you have a blog or website, or know someone who does, consider linking to us. Share the link on Facebook, Tweet it... you get the idea. Every link helps!