After a delicious lunch in a 5-star restaurant, we re-boarded the mini-bus to visit more of downtown St Petersburg’s spectacular attractions. This afternoon’s schedule includes a couple of Russian Orthodox churches and another palace, which is still being restored. The tour included both the opulence of the formal rooms and the rather stark confines of the basement.
Departing the restaurant, it was a short drive to our first stop, which included passing the Faberge Museum, as we drove along the banks of the Fontanka River. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time in the schedule to visit this museum.
Enjoy the many photographs of the remainder of our first day in St. Petersburg.
Faberge Museum on banks of Fontanka River
One of the guest lecturers on the ship presented a talk on the history of Faberge and the Imperial Easter Eggs, produced annually between 1885 and 1916 for the Imperial Family. Click here for the Imperial Easter Egg story.
Church of Saviour on Spilled Blood
Church of Our Saviour of Spilled Blood
Constructed between 1883 and 1907, the Russian Orthodox Church was built at the location where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Both interior and exterior are covered with detailed mosaics, but the church went into decline when closed by the Soviets in the 1930’s. After 30 years of restoration, the church re-opened in 1997.
Here are a selection of my photographs.
Click on any images to enlarge the photo
Returning to our mini-bus, we drove for about 1 mile to St. Issac’s Cathedral, keeping with the stunning Russian Orthodox Church theme.
St Issac’s Cathedral
Approaching St Issac’s Cathedral with its prominent gold dome
Constructed between 1818 and 1858, it is a most impressive Cathedral, both inside and outside. Originally the largest cathedral in Russia, it recently lost that designation to the re-built Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
The gold dome is still a prominent landmark on the St Petersburg skyline and the numerous columns provide an impressive entrance.
Enjoy a small selection of my photographs.
Our next and final stop of the day is at Yusupov Palace, which was less than a mile along the Moyka River.
Russian Navy Spire while enroute to Yusupov Palace
Marinsky Palace across from St Issac’s Cathedral
Although given the designation of a “Palace”, which is normally a residence for royalty; Yusupov Palace was the private residence of one of Russia’s wealthiest families. Located on the banks of the Moyka River, it is notable for the artistic designs of the interior rooms and for being the location of Gregory Rasputin’s murder.
Restored rooms of Yusupov Palace
In my opinion, the most impressive room was the Theatre, which was simply stunning.
Yusupov Palace Theatre
Yusupov Palace Theatre from the stage
Yusupov Palace Theatre Balconies
After touring the refurbished rooms and theatre, as seen above, we headed down to the basement, where Gregory Rasputin was assassinated in 1916.
One of the passageways in the basement
This concluded our visits, on the first of 2 days in St Petersburg, as on re-boarding the bus, we headed back to the port, arriving about 17:30.
Returning to the cabin, our room steward had created some towel art
Summary of Day # 1
- Alla Tours – this is vastly superior to any tours provided by cruise lines, with a comfortable mini-bus, small group and exceptional guide
- Schedule – today we focused on downtown, with all attractions being a short drive. Only downside is we ended the day with information overload
- Expectations – the tour definitely met, or actually exceeded our expectations. The continuous stream of information provided by Elenna was over the top, and the opulence was simply beyond comprehension
- Activity level – as expected it was a long busy day. During the day, I completed almost 16,000 steps, about 8 miles and climbed > 20 flights of stairs. They also offer optional evening activities, but we planned a quiet night, recharging the batteries for another equally busy day 2.
- Photo Ops – OMG!!! St Petersburg is a continuous photo op and all I can say is thank goodness for digital cameras. While I only kept about 500 photos from both days, on the first day, I hit the shutter button almost 1,000 times.