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Intricate Beauty of St. Sampson Cathedral

If you’re looking for a great attraction to see in St. Petersburg, why not visit the St. Sampson Cathedral? This picturesque old building has a lovely history and is beautifully made. Careful and on-going restorations ensure that it is kept in the best condition possible, whilst the interiors are filled with religious artworks.

The St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg is one of the city’s oldest surviving churches. Its striking blue and white appearance is hard to miss. The church is built in baroque style and it has an impressive bell tower that peals loudly on occasion when there is reason to have it do so. It is interesting to note that the church dates back to 1709 when Peter the Great ordered that a wooden church be constructed in order to honor the Russian victory over the Swedes at the Battle of Poltava. The decisive day of the battle fell on the same day as the feast of St. Sampson – June 27 – and so ‘St. Sampson Cathedral’ was a natural choice of name for the new building. The original building was made completely of wood with only one central dome. It is presumed that it was designed by Domenico Trezinni, though no one knows for sure. Some time in 1740 the original wooden cathedral and bell tower were replaced with stone and then in 1761, four smaller traditional Russian cupolas were added to the building. A further amendment occurred in 1909 when a memorial plaque engraved with Peter’s speeches was placed on the bell tower wall and a statue of Peter was erected just opposite the cathedral.

Many find it sad to learn that the St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg fell into disuse by the end of the 1930s, during which time it was turned into a vegetable warehouse and many of its original, beautiful interiors were ripped out and the statue of Peter the Great was moved. Fortunately the church has since been wonderfully restored by the St. Isaac’s Cathedral Museum and it has since been used to display a wonderful collection of history and religious art and church decorations. Since one of the city’s first cemeteries was built next to the church, many famous people from St. Petersburg now rest here, including Carlo Rastrelli (sculptor), Domenico Trezinni (architect), and Lavrentiy Blumentrost (physician). The church is now state owned and has even come back into use as a religious edifice since 2002. You’ll find this great attraction at Sampsonievskiy Prospekt 41 and the small entrance fee is generally well worth paying.

 



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