Amazing Churches You Didn’t Know About: St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Peterhof

Amazing Churches You Didn’t Know About: St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Peterhof
21 March 2015

Amazing Churches and cathedrals are among the most alluring places to visit in Russia and they never lose their charm on visitors. Very often you don’t fell like visiting a museum more than two times but Russian orthodox churches have such a magic and mysterious power that every time it’s a new experience. Cathedrals in Saint Petersburg blend together with the city and every time you pass by you cannot help yourself looking at them with astonishment.

Except from the unique examples in the city centre there are many less known cathedrals that should deserve much more attention, as Собор Святых Петра и Павла ( Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral) in Peterhof. The cathedral is located outside the city centre and you can easily reach it by bus. During the navigation period you can take a ракета (hydrofoil) from the Neva banks in the city centre to get to Peterhof across the Gulf of Finland. Peter and Paul Cathedral can be seen from a long distance. As soon as you get close to Peterhof you clearly recognize the shape of a Russian orthodox church massively dominating the surrounding area.

The Church story

In 1892 it was decided to create the cathedral after Emperor Alexander II’s approval of Николай Султанов (Nikolay Sultanov)’s design, a civil engineer. The project aimed to provide local residents, who weren’t allowed into palace churches, a bigger place to gather for the religious service. The construction took many years and it was finally completed under Nicholas II in 1905. In 1935 the church was shut down. During World War II it was seriously damaged as the whole Peterhof. It was used by German military forces as artillery headquarter, to spy on Soviet ships and then it became a warehouse. Eventually after long restoration works, the first church service was celebrated on January, 19, 1990.

The cathedral was designed in a Kievan Russian style as most of the churches of that time. The façade is decorated with polychrome bricks, red and green roofs and it resemble in many features Saint Basil Cathedral in Moscow. It has four entrances, an anteroom for outdoor clothes and a cover galley that goes round the church. The main room where they celebrate the church service is high and bright and boasted a wonderful acoustic. On the seconds floor there is usually the church choir whose voices gently accompany the service. The location of the cathedral is simply beautiful: it is built on a spot overlooking Ольгин пруд (Olgin prud) and surrounded by many other lakes and parks. Its massive structure, over 60 meters high, dominates the whole area. It is possible to go up the tower and enjoy the amazing view on Peterhof and Saint Petersburg.

In Saint Petersburg region there are many less famous churches, little-known by locals too, that deserve more attention. So when you are in Russia, if you come across an orthodox church, go and visit it: you will never get disappointed! That’s how I found out the stunning Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. So I really suggest you visit it above all if you are in the nearby to visit Peterhof. Then for sure you can’t miss enjoying the view from the main tower and a relaxing walk around Olgin pond.

This post was brought to you by Jessica, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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