(People are asking me how I get to travel so much, and welcoming me back to the States, so I should clarify that these photos are all from 1 August 2013… I’m really bad at posting on time.)
Our second day in St. Petersburg was not as nice weather-wise. We had a light rain for most of the day, so we were lucky in that day 2 was a mostly indoor appreciation day.
First off, the Hermitage Museum, one of the oldest and biggest museums in the world created by Catherine I (remember her?). One of the palace buildings that was converted into the museum was formerly the Winter Palace and it looks out over Palace Square. One of my favorite things about visiting other places is thinking about the historical events that took place there, thinking about whose footprints I’m stepping in. For example, Palace Square is where Bloody Sunday and the October Revolution happened. Reading about these events in textbooks and even watching documentaries is one thing, but breathing the air there is an entirely different experience. I get overwhelmed by the feeling.
In any case, the Hermitage is home to so much great art. I can’t even show you all the art that I have photos of, let alone all the art that they actually housed, but I’ll give you all a taste of some of my favorite pieces, some famous pieces, and pieces with interesting stories. (Included in the captions, which are maybe worth reading for once this time!) I have way way more, so let me know if you want me to share any of the other pieces I photographed. 🙂
The building itself, of course, being a Winter Palace, was also utterly magnificent.
From the Hermitage, we went to the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood. The history of this church is amazing and fascinating. It was built on the site where Alexander II (who is maybe on of the most revered Russian monarchs) was assassinated. Literally, the very spot where his blood was spilled is preserved and enshrined in this church. The blood-stained cobblestones are exposed (although fenced off) and around them was constructed a glittering shrine of gleaming stones.
Today, it is no longer a place of worship, as it was used as a morgue during World War II and, well, if housing the dead isn’t a form of desecration, I’m not sure what is. After World War II, rather than holding religious services, the church was used for storing vegetables (better than corpses) and was affectionately called the Church of the Savior on Potatoes. (Cute, no?)
Afterwards, we headed off to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which is a magnificent Russian Orthodox cathedral. It cost so much money, time (40 years), and many lives to build this spectacular building.
It was a good last day in St. Petersburg. I really felt like I had gotten in touch with my Russian roots. (If those are a thing…) I just really loved St. Petersburg and I would really love to go back someday.