S T. P E T E R S B U R G - Russia - Day 1

Whoa...what an amazing place.
We had so looked forward to this two days in Russia.
There is so much history associated with Russia and Inna our guide for the two day tour was like a walking encycolpedia. St Petersberg (formally known as Leningrad) was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the great. Over the two days we learned a lot about the Tsars and Russian Royal family.

Our first stop was just for a photo of the beautiful blue gilded Nicholas Naval Catherdral built in 1753...after the rows of grey apartment blocks we had been driving past we knew we entering the heart of the city and were in for something spectacular.

The river canal boat cruise provided us with an eyeopening overview of the city and the incredible buildings. It was freezing.... but thankfully we were offered warm blankets and a glass of wine.

Next stop.... blew my mind.
The National Hermitage Museum... founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. It is a series of 6 buildings including the Winter Palace. The museum houses over 3 million items. It was crazy to be standing in front of works of art by Leonardo De Vinci...Michaelangelo and a huge collection of Rembrandts. Inna our guide expertly explained each of the paintings which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Lunch was a traditional Russian meal...including a shot of vodka.
We dined at the Last Palace restaurant in the banquet hall ...a spectacular setting for lunch.

From lunch we headed to the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul... built between 1712 - 1733 by Peter the great.. To be honest it wasn't that spectacular on the outside...but the moment we stepped inside we stunned by the beautiful and elaborate painting and gilding inside. 
Inna told us the history of this Cathedral.... it is linked to the Romanov dynasty and is home to the graves of nearly all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the great to the last monarch Tsar Nicholas 2 who along with his family were executed without trial by the Bolshevics in 1918.
(Thanks Donna for your research here)

Next stop was Saint Isaac Cathedral  built in 1818 - 1858 ... a huge domed church capable of holding 14000 standing worshippers. The cupola on top is plated with 100kg of pure gold leaf. 

It was such an incredible day....the opulence...the history...we loved everything about St Petersburg ..



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