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The Peter and Paul Cathedral is the oldest landmark in St. Petersburg. It was built between 1712 and 1733 by the Swiss architect Domenico Trezzini, in a Baroque style reminiscent of churches in northern Europe.

The most striking feature of the cathedral is the impressive golden spire, topped with an angel holding a cross. At a height of 123 meters, it is one of the most important symbols of the city. The tower of the Cathedral, containing a Flemish carillon that plays several times a day, is the highest building in St Petersburg Old Town where, by law, nothing higher may be constructed.

In 1756, the spire was struck by lightning which reduced most of the cathedral to ashes.

Now press pause, enter the church and press play again when you reach the main altar.


Take a moment to admire an architectural feature that has no equal in the world: the extraordinary gilded wooden screen in front of the altar, known as iconostasis. These are usually flat, but here it takes the form of a triumphal arch composed of elaborate sculptures and embellished with the splendid portal "of the tsar".

Beyond this portal, you can see a marvelous canopy inspired by the one in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome designed by the architect Bernini. Nearby you can also admire the canopy of the tsar and a pulpit with statues of Saints Peter and Paul and the four evangelists.

As you explore the interior, you’ll find 32 tombs where almost all the Russian emperors and empresses are laid to rest, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, who was finally buried here in July 1998 with his family.


An interesting fact: During the restoration work on the spire in 1997, a note was found in one of the folds of the angel's robe. It was written by the restorers who had worked on it in 1953, and was an apology for their hurried work, due to fact Nikita Khrushchev wanted the angel to be ready for the 250th anniversary of the city’s foundation. Rumor has it that the 1997 workers also left a message for future generations, but we do not know what it says.


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