Saint Petersburg – Day 1

After our long, hot night we made our way straight to the Hermitage, which was just across Palace Square.

Palace Square - our hostel was just through that tunnel!

The Hermitage

Inside the main courtyard - where we only had to wait for 30 minutes before we got in!

I was really excited to see it having read about it in lots of books and was looking forward to checking out the Rembrandts.  The building itself is a work of art and I could have spent the entire day just looking at the amazing details.  Here are some of my favorites:
I loved the painting on this ceiling.

Ceiling detail.

Another amazing ceiling.

Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal

Can you imagine how this chandelier would have looked with real candles? It must have been spectacular.

Yet another amazing ceiling.

As you know, there is no way to see everything in the Hermitage in one visit but we did manage to see a good bit, including a collection of gold jewelry dating back to 1500 B.C.  The detail was amazing and our tour guide was this Russian lady who had been working in the museum for over 50 years!  In all that time, it appears she hasn’t lost a bit of her enthusiasm.

Following the Hermitage we made our way over to the Church on the Spilled Blood.  Built on the actual site of the assassination of Emperor Alexander II, it’s an amazingly detailed, colorful, Orthodox Church.  The outside had those wonderful onion domes covered in all sorts of colorful tile.  Inside every inch of the high arched walls and ceiling are covered with sparkling mosaic.  It’s amazing how much detail is possible in pictures made up of tiny little tiles.

One of the many interesting things about this cathedral is that there is a sort of altar built over the very spot where Alexander was shot.  The cobblestones of the street are right there to be preserved for posterity.  Morbid?

After our visit to the church we wandered down the canal that it’s located on and began our usual meanderings.

We wandered through a park where we was this beautiful building.

Then we walked past St. Isaac's Cathedral, which we would visit the next day.

I liked this blue bridge - such a great color.

One of the many canals.

I was surprised to see a Lenin decal still posted outside a local ministry building.

It was a pretty full day and we were ready to go to bed.  And it’s off to Peterhoff tomorrow!

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
This entry was posted in Russia, St. Petersburg, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Saint Petersburg – Day 1

  1. Pingback: Catching up…slowly. « Highland Happenings

  2. audrey says:

    i will never be the same after viewing this PICTURES of the Hermitage. i was oohing and ahhing here in st louis as i saw the vast beauty created years ago and exquisite today. the chandelier where you wondered how it’d look with real candles…and your favorite ceiling was mine too.

    wow…I am different b/c of this beauty i just experienced. thank you for sharing, dear becca.

  3. Bethy Manor says:

    This was truly incredible! I loved those blue/green/gold onion domes and of course, Rembrandt’s ‘Prodigal’. The ceilings were awe inspiring and gave me an idea for decorating with paint. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us who have been following your journey.

  4. realoves says:

    Becca, your photos are stunning, as is the art, architecture, and intricacy of the Russian approach to life. I am reminded of Dostoevsky’s description of the church in Brothers Karamazov–the founding of Russian orthodoxy on mystery, miracle, and authority. How clearly those powerful components come through the Church of the Spilled Blood. Christ’s spilled blood becomes somehow synonymous with Alexander’s and the duality obscures the power and beauty of the true essence of Christ’s sacrifice. The stunning artwork that is displayed over every surface increases the mystery of the church over the faithful and again somewhat obscures (or perhaps enlightens–who knows?) the majesty of simple faith. It is all very thought provoking and inspiring in light of our own faith hundreds of years later and how it can derive meaning from these things. Thanks for a truly moving display of photographs capturing all of this!

  5. marty says:


    I think you may have just inspired Holly’s (remember her from Dublin?) and my next adventure: St. Petersburg (not Florida—we already did that one together!…we used to go to big exhibits there at a wonderful museum)…

    Anyways, the color and the tiny tiles of each mosaic are absolutely incredible!!! It’s so funny to see tourists wearing shorts and tank tops in these marbled hallways.

    Thank you for the inspiration!


    • Rebecca says:

      Marty – you would probably love it, especially with all your knowledge of Russian history. The faberge eggs you were asking me about in Chautauqua aren’t actually in St. Petersburg though. You’d have to include Moscow in your itinerary to see those!

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