Friday, October 18, 2019

Waterways of the Tsars: Panoramic St Petersburg (10/18/2019)

Friday, October 18, 2019
Today our two included shore excursions were switched, so this morning we went on the "Panoramic St Petersburg" tour. We went on a similar tour in September 2018, but his time we would enter the Sts Peter and Paul Fortress.
This time our motor coach crossed the cable-stayed
Big Obukhov Bridge
St Petersburg tram LVS-97 #7103, locally built c 1997 (KSS)
Passed Смольный собор/Smolny Convent that was built to house Elizabeth,
the daughter of Peter the Great; however, she ended up becoming
the empress and endowed the convent with the Cathedral (1748-1764,
by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli); now part of St Petersburg
University and the cathedral is a concert hall
First stop: Церковь Спаса на Крови/Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (1883-1907), which we will see again later.
Церковь Спаса на Крови/Church of
the Savior on Spilled Blood
Wrought-iron fence at the night church, a chapel
that remained open at night for latecomer pilgrims
Bridge lamppost on Bolshoy
Konyushenny Bridge (1828) (KSS)
Back on the motor coach:
#23 Nevsky Avenue, Hockey Club (KSS)
Second stop: Four Seasons Hotel, where we had perhaps 40 minutes to either explore or have coffee.
The Bronze Horseman (1768-1782, by Étienne Maurice Falconet) is
named after a Pushkin poem, but has the face of Peter the Great (KSS)
The statue stands on Thunder Stone, the largest boulder ever moved over land solely by human effort. It was brought from a forest off the Gulf of Finland, and then carried by specially-built barge to St Petersburg, a journey of two years.
Another view of The Bronze Horseman shows the serpent being trampled;
the serpent (apparently by F Gordeev) represents treason or evil forces, or ...
The story is that as long as the Bronze Horseman stands, Leningrad/St Petersburg will never fall. And neither has as yet fallen.
The Synod and the Senate connected by a triumphal arch (1829-1834,
by Carlo Rossi in Neoclassical style), formerly the offices of the
Russian Orthodox church and of state legislation and administration
The building is now home to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, and to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library. It also contains apartments designed specifically for meetings between the Russian President and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
One of a pair of Колонны Славы/Glory Columns
(1845-1846, copies of two statues of Victory by
Christian Daniel Rauch) were a gift from
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia
Carlo Rossi had the statues mounted on pedestals next to the Horse Guards' Manège in honor of the regiment's role in the defeat of Napoleon in 1812.
Конногвардейский манеж/Horse Guards' Manège (1804-1807, by
Giacomo Quarenghi) was home of the Life Guards' Mounted Regiment
The statues of the nude twin sons of Zeus reining in horses (copied from Quirinale Palace in Rome) were protested by the Synod next door and were removed. The statues were replaced in 1954.
Frieze of a horse race under the pediment of the Manège
Исаакиевский собор/St Isaac's Cathedral (1818-1858, by
Auguste de Montferrand) is an engineering feat due to its dome
making it the third tallest cupola in the world
Thousands (over 10,000) of wooden piles were sunk into the marsh to support the church, and 48 red granite columns were brought from Finland on a specially-constructed railway.
The N pediment bronze relief (1842-1844, by Francois Lemaire)
depicts the Resurrection
The E pediment bronze relief, also by Lemaire, depicts a scene from
the life of St Isaac; note also the pairs of angels holding a gas torch
(by Ivan Vitali) on each corner of the roof
The S pediment bronze relief (by Ivan Vitali)
depicts the Adoration of the Magi
We did not get a good photo of the E pediment bronze relief showing shows St. Isaac blessing the Emperor Theodosius.
Bathing pigeons (brrr!)
Four Seasons Hotel (1818-1819, by Auguste de Montferrand, as the
Lion Palace, with residential apartments for nobility)
By 1827 the Lion Palace became home to the Ministry of War, until 1917. The Soviets used it at as a hostel, then a school. The current government decided to renovate the building as a hotel.
I made the mistake of thinking the hotel was on St Isaac's Square, and used to be the Hotel Angleterre, where I had the wrong information that Hitler planned a victory celebration in its ballroom. We wasted time looking for the ballroom!
Four Seasons Hotel glass-roofed breakfast room
Four Seasons Hotel elevator
We continued our exploration, to the actual St Isaac's Square!
Англетер Отель/Hotel Angleterre  (1886-1889, demolished 1997,
rebuilt 1991) was where journalist John Reed was staying
when the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, leading to his book
"Ten Days that Shook the World"
Астория Отель/Hotel Astoria (1910-1912, by Fyodor Lidval
in Style-Moderne), next door to the Angleterre Hotel, is where
Hitler planned his victory banquet in the Astoria Winter Garden
A Soviet-era limousine, Zim GAZ (KSS)
Zim GAZ interior (KSS)
Zim GAZ logo (KSS)
St Petersburg likes to put lights in the sidewalks
Here is a traffic light with the appropriate color
showing in a bar across the roadway
Back on the motor coach:
Дворец Меншикова/Menshikov Palace (1710-1727, by
Giovanni Maria Fontana and Johann Gottfried Schädel) was the
first stone building in St Petersburg
Кунсткамера/Kunstkamera (1719-1727, by
Georg Johann Mattarnovy) to house the
collection of Peter the Great, dedicated to preserving
"natural and human curiosities and rarities,"
with an observatory in the tower
Third stop: The Стрелка Васильевского острова/Spit of Vasilyevsky Island, the tip of the island in the Neva River facing the Hermitage Museum complex and the Fortress of Sts Peter and Paul.
One of a pair of Ростральная колонна/Rostral Columns
(1810, by Jean-Francois Thomas de Thomon) are
lighthouses to guide ships into the two channels of
the Neva River, but designed as Roman victory columns
where the prows/rostra of enemy ships were mounted (KSS)
Fourth stop: Петропавловская крепость/Peter and Paul Fortress (founded 1703, built 1706-1740, by Domenico Trezzini as a star-shaped fortress). This was our one opportunity to go inside the fortress and see the cathedral.
Commandant's House (1743-1746, by H de Marin[e]), which included
a chapel, laundry, and stables; now Museum of the History of S Petersburg
Boathouse of Peter the Great (1762-1765, by Alexander Vist) to
showcase Peter the Great's Dinghy, a small sailboat used by the young Tsar
to learn naval principles on lakes in the Moscow area,
and thus was hailed as the "Grandfather of the Russian Navy"
Grand Ducal Burial Vault (1896-1908, by
Leontiy Benois) for 13 junior members of the Romanov family,
as well as for Grand-Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, who was head
of the Russian Imperial Family in exile until he died in 1992
Санкт-Петербургский Монетный Двор/St Petersburg Mint
(1800-1805, by A Porto in strict classical style),
continues to produce coins, state awards, and other official medals
Петропавловский собор/Sts Peter & Paul Cathedral
(1712-1733, by Domenico Trezzini, in Baroque style,
a radical departure from traditional Russian Orthodox
churches as Peter the Great sought to westernize Russia)
The needle-topped bell tower (by Dutchman German von Bolis) is crowned by the figure of a flying angel bearing a cross. The bell tower was completed first to test the foundation, and Peter the Great would climb the tower for the view and to oversee construction of the fortress and cathedral.
The cathedral is the burial place for the tsars from Peter the Great onward, except for Peter II who was in Moscow when he died. He was thus was buried in the Kremlin's Church of Archangel Michael. There is also the question as to the remains of Ivan VI, who was killed and presumably buried at the fortress of Shlisselburg, where he was imprisoned.
Most of the tombs are of white Carrara marble (KSS)
The iconostasis (1722-1727, by Ivan Zarudny)
The iconostasis is open to reveal the sanctuary;
note the icon of Our Lady of Kazan (KSS)
On the R side in front of the iconostasis are the tombs of
Catherine II (the Great), Peter III, and Anna I
Also on the R side in front of the above tombs are the
tombs of Elizabeth I, Catherine I, Peter I (the Great)
The tomb of Peter the Great with his bust and fresh flowers;
the tombs of the tsars are decorated with
double-headed eagles on the corners (KSS)
On the L side in front of the iconostasis are the
tombs of (rear) Paul I, Maria Fedorovna, Alexander I,
and Elizabeth, then in front are
Nicholas I, Alexandra Fedorovna, Anna Petrovna
Patriarch's Throne
The Chapel of St Catherine is where in 1998 the bodies of
Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria, their children Olga, Tatiana
and Anastasia, and four retainers (footman, maid, cook, and
physician) were laid to rest; the bodies of two other children,
Maria and Alexei, await the confirmation of their remains
by the Russian Orthodox Church
The tomb of Empress Maria Feodorovna, born
Princess Dagmar of Denmark, wife of Alexander II
and mother of Nicholas II; she had died in Denmark
in 1928 and was buried at Roskilde Cathedral;
in 2006 the governments of Denmark and Russia
agreed to to have her reburied, as her wish was
to lie next to her husband, Alexander II
Two unusual tombs belong to Alexander II (made of green jasper)
and his wife Maria Alexandrovna (made of pink rhodonite)
Nave of the Cathedral of Sts Peter & Paul
Decorations in the cathedral include flags
and banners captured from enemy armies
After the cathedral tour, we were taken into a
small chapel to hear an a capella recital, one or two
having the deepest voice (basso profundo)
Memorial to the alpinisti who defended
the besieged Leningrad (KSS)
Took the motor coach back to the Viking Truvor for lunch.
Next: Pushkin: Catherine's Palace.

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