October 27th, 2021
Hight's Sabbatical Pictures

Part 36: St. Petersburg II, 16-18 May 2008

The Cathedral of St. Isaac with a statue of Tsar Nicholas in the foreground. The cathedral is the national cathedral of Russia and one of the most richly decorated on the inside (see below).

The church of "Our Savior on the Blood" (also known as the Resurrection Church). On the side over a canal is an icon to the savior build on the blood of Tsar Alexander. The church is an ornate orthodox church decorated with mosaics.

A picture inside St. Isaac's The portraits are on canvas and cover all the ceilings and walls.

Some of the mosaics that cover the walls inside the Resurrection Church.

In the afternoon of the second day we went to visit the Hermitage Museum. This is a picture of the courtyard inside the Winter Palace, which houses (in five buildings) the Hermitage museum. Inside is one of the largest collections of art in the world, including Da Vinci, Micheangelo, Titian, Rembrandt, and more. Most of the pieces were collected during the Tsarist period starting primarily with first Peter and then Catherine the Great.

At right: a view of the main altar inside the Resurrection Church. The church is relatively new, having been completed at the end of the 19th century. The mosaics are impressive.

A hallway inside the Hermitage, designed to be a copy of the famous hallway inside the Vatican (see my earlier pages). The copy is slightly smaller I am told, but impressive nonetheless.

One of our stops in St. Petersburg was the Museum of Russian Political History. This was most interesting. Above is a picture of Lenin's working desk and materials, including a period map of European Russia. Just to the right outside the frame of view is the balcony where Lenin gave most of his most important speeches during the revolution in 1918 and 1919.

The current government of the Russian Federation has sought to close the museum, which has slowly been taking some liberties in presenting certain historical documents. For instance, the guide revealed that they were allowed to display a propaganda poster from the Civil War made by the Whites only recently. Pictures of Trotsky have been allowed only since 1992 after the dissolution.



At right: the actual document that formally dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russia is an interesting nation, filled with contrasts. The city of St. Petersburg is beautiful, but the roads that lead to the city are poor and ill-maintained. The villages and smaller cities between Ivangorod and St. Petersburg are typically poor. The people are unfailingly friendly - provided you do not meet them in a service situation (like a waitress or a clerk in a store). Then the old favor-based economy is evident. Given my experience, Russia does not have a consumer oriented society.

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