St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral

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The St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is a large Orthodox church and a magnificent monument of the late Russian Baroque, located at the St. Nicholas Square in St. Petersburg. The St. Nicholas Cathedral was built as a «marine regimental church» in the period from 1753 to 1762 by architect S. Chevakinsky on a marine regimental court in place of the wooden church. The cathedral can accommodate about five thousand people at once. A detached four-store, crowned with a high spire, bell tower was built in 1755-1758. The bell tower became an organic element of the entire ensemble of the St. Nicholas Cathedral and one of the recognizable landmarks of St. Petersburg, which can often be seen in the paintings of St. Petersburg artists. The building of the St. Nicholas Cathedral is decorated with Corinthian columns, stucco frames, and wide entablature. It is crowned with five widely spaced heads with golden domes. Balconies complete the facade with ornate forged grates. The perfect mix of golden domes, blue facades, and white columns gives the cathedral elegance and solemnity. 


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The St. Nicholas Cathedral consists of two churches — the Lower Church and the Upper Church. The Lower Church was consecrated in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra, who is considered the patron saint of travelers, including — sea travelers. The Upper Church was consecrated in the name of the Epiphany. The main shrine of St. Nicholas Cathedral is the Icon of St. Nicholas, dating back to the 17th century. Empress Catherine the Great ordered to give the cathedral ten images in the memory of the Russian naval victories over the Turkish and Swedish fleets. The St. Nicholas Cathedral, which became a memorial church of the maritime glory of Russia, took an active part in the life of the Russian fleet. In 1908, in the garden surrounding the St. Nicholas Cathedral, an obelisk was set in memory of sailors of the battleship Alexander III, who died in the Battle of Tsushima on May 14, 1905. After the October revolution in 1917, the St. Nicholas Cathedral was not closed, and from 1941 to 1999, it was the main cathedral of the city. Nowadays, the St. Nicholas Cathedral remains an active Orthodox church, retaining perennial memorial traditions.

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