The Hermitage, St. Isaac’s, & My Favorite Building – Sunday 20 September 2009

The Hermitage, St. Isaac’s, & My Favorite Building – Sunday 20 September 2009

We stepped out of the bus on a brisk morning and began our trek to the Hermitage. Along the way:

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This church was built over the place where Alexander II was assassinated by small bombs.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This church was built over the place where Alexander II was assassinated by small bombs.

The Winter Palace

The Winter Palace

We're in the courtyard! About to go inside the palace.

We’re in the courtyard! About to go inside the palace.

The Main Staircase of the Hermitage.

The Main Staircase of the Hermitage.

Another shot.

Another shot.

Peter the Great's Small Throne Room

Peter the Great’s Small Throne Room

The Armorial Room. That's a lot of gold.

The Armorial Room. That’s a lot of gold.

Pretty Elegant Doorway

Pretty Elegant Doorway

Statues of Russian Warriors from ancient Russia.

Statues of Russian Warriors from ancient Russia.

One Huge Golden Goblet. Makes Harry Potter's Tri-Wizard Cup look like a toy.

One Huge Golden Goblet. Makes Harry Potter’s Tri-Wizard Cup look like a toy.

The centerpiece, a bowl made of Aventurine.

The centerpiece, a bowl made of Aventurine.

War Gallery memorializing the Russian generals from the war of 1812 (against Napoleon).

War Gallery memorializing the Russian generals from the war of 1812 (against Napoleon).

Three hundred and thirty-two of them...

Three hundred and thirty-two of them…

Alexaner 1, who lead Russia to victory against the tyrant Napoleon. Or maybe it was the cold weather.

Alexaner 1, who lead Russia to victory against the tyrant Napoleon. Or maybe it was the cold weather.

Saint George Hall

St. George Hall: Large Throne Room

The Double-headed Eagle, on this chandelier and many others, represents the Emperor's dual sovereignty: secular and religious and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors (way back when) over the East and West.

The Double-headed Eagle, on this chandelier and many others, represents the Emperor’s dual sovereignty: secular and religious and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors (way back when) over the East and West.

Exquisite Ceiling

Exquisite Ceiling

And the matching floor. That's how big the gold pattern on the ceiling is, as big as the pattern on this wood floor.

And the matching floor. That’s how big the gold pattern on the ceiling is, as big as the pattern on this wood floor.

Peter's Large Throne

Peter’s Large Throne

The Lapis-lazuli Vase

The Lapis-lazuli Vase

On the other side of the door, the Malachite Vase

On the other side of the door, the Malachite Vase

The Pavilion Hall

The Pavilion Hall. Check out the Peacock Clock on the left.

When the clock goes off the birds move and chirp. To keep it working, they only let it chime once a month.

When the clock goes off the birds move and chirp. To keep it working, they only let it chime once a month.

An incredible Mosaic floor in the same room.

An incredible Mosaic floor in the same room.

Another Clock

Another Clock

The Council Staircase. Called this, because during Soviet time the administration on the upper floor would communicate to the lower level by yelling to secretary.

The Council Staircase. Called this, because during Soviet time the administration on the upper floor would communicate to the lower level by yelling to secretary.

Really cool table at the top of the stairs.

Really cool table at the top of the stairs.

Next we walked through the Da Vinci Room where Benois Madonna sits along with Little Madonna. They are originals.

Next we walked through the Da Vinci Room where Benois Madonna sits along with Little Madonna. They are originals.

The Doors to the Da Vinci Room. It's sort of gross how they get the deep red color on these doors and other wood furniture around the palace. Blood. Tortoise blood. They boil the tortoises alive and the blood seeps out and stains the liquid.

The Doors to the Da Vinci Room. It’s sort of gross how they get the deep red color on these doors and other wood furniture around the palace. Blood. Tortoise blood. They boil the tortoises alive and the blood seeps out and stains the liquid.

Entrance to the Hermitage Theatre. We didn't go in though, unfortunately.

Entrance to the Hermitage Theatre. We didn’t go in though, unfortunately.

The Large Italian Skylight Room. An Amazing ceiling.

The Large Italian Skylight Room. An Amazing ceiling.

The Gallery of History of Ancient Paintings

The Gallery of History of Ancient Paintings

The Main Staircase of the New Hermitage

The Main Staircase of the New Hermitage

Yet Another Clock

Yet Another Clock

A shot of the marathon finish celebration. Loud music accompanied us through these parts of the Hermitage.

A shot of the marathon finish celebration. Loud music accompanied us through these parts of the Hermitage.

Blurry, but nevertheless a clock.

Blurry, but nevertheless a clock.

A beautiful Strasser Clock

A beautiful Strasser Clock

Close up of the face.

Close-up of the face.

Cool Centerpiece

Cool Centerpiece

Austin, Natalie & I pausing as we exit the Hermitage.

Austin, Natalie & I pausing as we exit the Hermitage.

Now onto St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Personally, I think Church of our Savior Christ Jesus in Moscow has nothing on this cathedral. St. Isaac’s seems larger, and is definitely more impressive.

The Pillars out front. Pretty impressive.

The Pillars out front. Pretty impressive. To see it in its entirety from outside, scroll down to the first day of St. Petersburg.

Natalie's excited to go into Isaac's.

Natalie’s excited to go into Isaac’s.

My favorite photo from St. Isaac's. I was awestruck by the inside of this building and St. Isaac's Cupola.

My favorite photo from St. Isaac’s. I was awestruck by the inside of this building and St. Isaac’s Cupola.

Our tour guide "explains us" (this is how they say it in Russia) how they constructed the pillars using this model. This invention allowed them to put one pillar up every 45 minutes.

Our tour guide “explains us” (this is how they say it in Russia) how they constructed the pillars using this model. This invention allowed them to put one pillar up every 45 minutes.

The four different stages of this church. The third version was never actually completed. They tore it down to build the fourth and current one.

The four different stages of this church. The third version was never actually completed. They tore it down to build the fourth and current one.

The Cupola, and the dove with a 6ft wingspan. During Soviet time Stalin removed it and replace it with a Foucault's pendulum to get rid of any religious connotation, instead of demolishing it...thankfully.

The Cupola, and the dove with a 6ft wingspan. During Soviet time Stalin removed it and replace it with a Foucault’s pendulum to get rid of any religious connotation, instead of demolishing it…thankfully.

Check out the zoom.

Check out the zoom.

Mista JC himself depicted as a white dude almost everywhere in Russia, who woulda thought? Except for once, in Suzdal we saw him as a Spaniard.

Mistah JC himself depicted as a white dude almost everywhere in Russia, who woulda thought? Except for once, in Suzdal we saw him as a Spaniard. He’s truly a talented dude; I’ve never met someone who could change his appearance so drastically and so often.

The altar, saints, disciples, and Mary. No chairs anywhere as in Russian Orthodox churches everyone stands for the entire service. I bet it's to prevent people from sleeping.

The altar, saints, disciples, and Mary. No chairs anywhere as in Russian Orthodox churches everyone stands for the entire service. I bet it’s to prevent people from sleeping. (Even though this building is no longer an active church, which is why Christ the Savior Church in Moscow gets to be the largest ‘active’ church)

And now we get to go upstairs and walk around the outside of the Cupola.

And now we get to go upstairs and walk around the outside of the Cupola.

Natalie & I on top of St. Isaac's. This photo would have been a lot better had I smiled more. Unfortunately, the one where I smiled came out blurry: LAME. So I'm gonna have to photoshop this. Check out the university in the background.

Natalie & I on top of St. Isaac’s. This photo would have been a lot better had I smiled more. Unfortunately, the one where I smiled came out blurry: LAME. So I’m gonna have to photoshop this. Check out the university in the background.

Overlooking the University and Neva River.

Overlooking the University and Neva River.

Another view of Petersburg

Another view of Petersburg

Then the tour ended and we headed over to my favorite building in all of Russia thus far. I had only seen it from afar while driving on the bus, but I definitely wanted to see it up close. Andrey Voronikhin modelled it after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. So I guess I will like the Vatican. Two statues stand guard over this cathedral:

Barclay de Tolly

Barclay de Tolly: Minister of War during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

Mikhail Kutuzov: Commander in Chief of Russia during the Napoleon invasion.

Mikhail Kutuzov: Commander in Chief of Russia during the Napoleon invasion. His body is interred in the cathedral.

Columns along a curve lead to the Sanctuary.

Columns along a curve lead to the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

And finally, Kazan from the front:

Kazan Cathedral in all its magnificence and glory, dedicated to Our Lady Kazan. It still looks great even though the top is covered in scaffolding.

Kazan Cathedral in all its magnificence and glory, dedicated to Our Lady Kazan. It still looks great even though the top is covered in scaffolding.

A bookstore across the street which sells books in English. I couldn't find them though, but I didn't look very hard.

A bookstore across the street which sells books in English. I couldn’t find them though, but I didn’t look very hard.

An amazing globe on the top.

An amazing globe on the top.

When I saw this I knew the end was inevitable. The machines will take over, maybe not in America but here in Russia they already have begun, with St. Petersburg as their headquarters (as I've never seen this in Moscow). Luckily we were on our way back to the hostel to grab our stuff and get on the train.

When I saw this I knew the end was inevitable. The machines will take over, maybe not in America but here in Russia they already have begun, with St. Petersburg as their headquarters (as I’ve never seen this in Moscow). Luckily, we were on our way back to the hostel to grab our stuff and get on the train.

Our trip ended with us caravaning to the Moscow train station and waiting for our train. To end it, I read about Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Father Callahan. Unfortunately I did not sleep well this train ride and shifted in and out of sleep the whole way. I think it's because our window would not open and so it got uncomfortably hot. Back to Moscow!

Our trip ended with us caravaning to St. Petersburg’s Moscow train station and waiting for our train. To end it, I read about Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Father Callahan. Unfortunately I did not sleep well this train ride and shifted in and out of sleep the whole way. I think it’s because our window would not open and so it got uncomfortably hot. Back to Moscow!

2 Responsesto “The Hermitage, St. Isaac’s, & My Favorite Building – Sunday 20 September 2009”

  1. Jennifer says:

    That cupola! Those pictures are gorgeous! And the dove. Some things are so beautiful, it’s almost painful. Your pictures of St. Petersburg! Breathtaking!

  2. LebCa says:

    Thank you. That cupola is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken while here.

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