• Take a trip to Zaryadye Park: Moscow’s first public park for over 50 years

    There’s an amazing new park right in the heart of Moscow.

    Opened in September, the park covers 13 hectares between Red Square and the Moscow River, and it’s certainly attracting the crowds.

    Park_Zaryadye1

    Photo: Mos.ru

    Unusually, its buildings are buried underground – much of the apparently natural landscape has been constructed over the roofs of these new buildings. Among them are a media centre and nature centre, along with a fancy restaurant that runs along highly thematic space-travel lines – waitresses wear navy boiler suits and the salt and pepper shakers are white china cosmonauts’ helmets. Another eatery offers food from all over the world, advertised by jazzy neon signs and consumed at counters.

    Outside, the park has been divided into four zones, each representing a key feature of Russia’s natural landscape and fauna: tundra, steppe, forest and wetland. A total of 760 trees, including birch, Scots pine and larch, and nearly 900 000 perennials will create a snapshot of the country’s diverse geography.

    There’s also a walkway that stretches out over the river, without reaching the other side, allowing visitors amazing views of Stalin’s towering Embankment Building and new ways to look back at the Kremlin and the multicoloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral.

    The area which houses the park has an interesting history. In the 1800s, it was a Jewish enclave. After the 1917 revolution, it was mostly destroyed to allow direct access to the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge. Later, it was earmarked by Stalin as the site for an eighth skyscraper to join the ‘Seven Sisters’ spread out across the city and, in the 1960s, Nikita Khruschev built the largest hotel in Europe here.

    Over a million people have already visited the park. If you’d like to join them, it’s accessible from every side (no fences or gates), and is located just to the south-east of St Basil’s Cathedral, on the north embankment of the Moskva River. And needless to say, we’re here to make all your travel and accommodation arrangements for you.

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  • The countdown’s on to the FIFA World Cup 2018!

    Planning on visiting next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia? Then don’t forget your Fan ID!

    Not only do you need your Fan ID to get into any of the stadiums hosting the matches in next year’s competition (just having a ticket on its own isn’t enough) – it also allows you visa-free entry to Russia during the tournament, leaving you with more money to enjoy the competition.

    And that’s not all – your Fan ID also entitles you to free transportation in the Confederations Cup host cities, as well as between those cities.

    To apply for Fan ID, you will need the number of your match ticket, or the order number if it contains more than one ticket. There are several issuing centres in the various host cities, but for foreign visitors, by far the best option is to apply online.

    After sending in your application, you’ll receive a text message or email confirming your application has been received. It can take up to 72 hours to process an application. Afterwards, you will be notified that your application has been approved. You then have the option to receive your Fan ID by e-mail, or pick it up in person from one of the issuing centres. Needless to say, the e-mail option is the one to go for!

    Of course, your Fan ID is only half the story, and you can’t get one until you’ve bought at least one match ticket (you need a match ticket or order number to apply for a Fan ID). All tickets to 2018 FIFA World Cup matches can be purchased on the FIFA website. Please note that any tickets purchased through illegal intermediaries, such as online auctions and unofficial ticket exchange platforms, will be invalid, and you won’t be able to enter the stadium or get a rebate on any money spent.

    To buy tickets, you must first set up your account on the FIFA website. After logging into your account, you should submit a ticket application. This involves confirming your country of residence, agreeing to the terms and conditions of purchasing and using the tickets and the rules of conduct at the stadium, then choosing a ticket or set of tickets, entering your information, entering your guest’s information (if you’re buying more than one ticket), and confirming the purchase.

    To submit a ticket application, you also need to provide the following information about yourself and your guests: first and last name, date of birth, citizenship, passport number or other picture ID number (including for any children), and country of residence. As well as specifying your payment method, you need to provide a mailing address for ticket delivery, contact information (e-mail, mobile and home phone numbers) and preferred language of correspondence.

    Once you’ve bought your tickets and arranged your Fan ID, it’s time for the important bit – organising your travel and accommodation so you can concentrate on enjoying the competition. And there’s no one better to do that for you than RNTO. So wherever you’re going to cheer on your favourite team, choose us as your travel partner, and we’ll be with you every kick of the ball!

     

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  • The changing face of St Petersburg

    1. Leningrad under Khrushchev: The Thaw and the housing boom (1953-1964)

    There are so many reasons to visit St Petersburg. Some people come in search of culture, others seek inspiration from its literary associations. For some, it’s the architecture that’s top of their list, while others simply come to experience a different way of life.

    One thing that’s certainly not in short supply in St Petersburg is history. The city may only have been founded in 1703, but the last 300 or so years provide a fascinating insight into the changes which have shaped this incredible city.

    Here, we look at Leningrad under Khrushchev: The Thaw and the housing boom (1953-1964)…

    On 6 March 1953, Radio Moscow made an announcement that shook the country: ‘On 5 March, at 9.50 pm, after a grave illness, the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers and the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, died.’

    Stalin had ruled the country for over 25 years – as long as many people could remember. An era had suddenly come to a close. What would take its place? It was a worrying time.

    A behind-the-scenes struggle for power in the Kremlin raged on over three years. Eventually, on 24 February 1956, at a secret session immediately after the official closing of the Communist Party’s Twentieth Congress, Nikita Khrushchev took the stand and railed against the former dictator, saying that whoever disagreed with Stalin had been unjustly annihilated.

    For citizens brought up to praise the ‘genius’ of their great leader, Khrushchev’s attack seemed so intense that some audience members were said to have experienced heart attacks, while others later committed suicide. Yet an ideological and social revolution had begun, known as The Thaw. Millions of innocent victims who’d been killed or imprisoned during the long years of Stalin’s reign were officially rehabilitated. Those interred in forced labour camps had their cases reviewed; most were found not guilty and allowed to return home.

    Censorship was relaxed, and some foreign movies, books, art, and music were permitted. Khrushchev also began an ideological change in the private sphere, with a shift away from the collective housing endorsed by Stalin, whose vision had been of a large, collective family under his paternal leadership.

    Khrushchev’s ideology placed a higher value on private life. In addition to greater emphasis on consumer goods, he promoted a massive construction campaign to eliminate persistent housing shortages. The focus was on quantity, not quality. Five- or six-story apartment buildings from prefabricated reinforced concrete were thrown up right across the Soviet Union. In Leningrad, about 1500 of these so-called Khrushchevki were built on the outskirts of the city’s historic centre. Though cramped and unattractive, they allowed thousands of people to escape claustrophobic communal apartments. This was the first time that many families had enjoyed a private kitchen and bathroom.

    It was a time of optimism after the horrors of the Second World War and the repressions under Stalin.

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  • A brief tour of Russia’s regions – Part 2

    There’s a lot more to Russia than just Moscow and St Petersburg!

    The vast majority of foreign tourists who visit Russia confine themselves to the country’s two biggest cities. And while you could spend a lifetime exploring these two enchanting destinations, there’s so much more to Russia, waiting to be explored.

    So in this, the second of our mini-series of articles, here are a few more areas we recommend you take time to discover…

    The Volga Region

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    Photo: Karl Musser, created it based on USGS data, Wikimedia Commons

    The Volga is the longest river in Europe and the cultural, tourist, economic and transportation centre of the region. It starts in the heart of European Russia, makes its way through the whole central region of the country to the south, and runs into the Caspian Sea.

    Much of the river runs through the Republic of Tatarstan, the centre of Islam in Russia, where some of the most interesting architectural structures can be found.

    Far East

    Primorye is a region situated in the south-eastern part of Russia. It’s the place where north meets south, a land of varied and rich nature, where lowlands rub shoulders with volcanic plateaux, rich woods meet stone deserts, and high mountains drop into the sea – truly an exotic mix waiting to be explored.

    North West

    Featuring more than 65 000 lakes and 27 000 rivers and streams, North-West Russia is often referred to as the Lake Country. You’ll find Europe’s largest lakes here – Ladozhskoe and Onezhskoe, while Russia’s first health resort is situated in the capital of Karelia – Petrozavodsk.

    A unique natural land formation well worth visiting is Kursh Spit, an unbroken ribbon of sand dunes which are almost desert-like.

    Black Sea and Caucasus

    The Black Sea coastline and its sub-tropical climate, warm summer days and gentle winters contrasts sharply with the glaciers, springs and alpine ski resorts of the Northern Caucasus. The area is famous for its numerous hot springs and spa towns, the largest being Kislovodsk and Pyatigorsk.

    The beautiful double-peaked Elbrus is the pride of the Caucasus Mountains, being Russia’s highest point at 5642 m.

    These are just a few of the fantastic regions we can help you discover here at RNTO. There really is a whole world of adventures and experiences for you to enjoy throughout the length and breadth of Russia, and we’d love to help you make the most of your time in this enigmatic country. So give us a call today, and we’ll be with you every step of the way!

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  • It’s hip to be Square!

    There are plenty of ‘Revolution Squares’ in cities all over the world. But the one in Moscow has got to be among the most famous.

    Located in the centre of the capital, in Tverskoy District, north-west of Red Square, the arc-shaped Revolution Square is bounded by Manezhnaya Square to the south-west, Okhotny Ryad to the north, and the buildings separating it from Nikolskaya Street to the south and east.

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    Photo: Wikipedia / Shakko

    There are three metro stations located under the square: Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square in Russian), Teatralnaya, and Okhotny Ryad.

    Originally, the Neglinnaya River – a tributary of the Moskva River, which currently flows underground – ran through the area. But when it was channelled into a tunnel, the area it left behind became a square.

    Originally called Voskresenskaya Ploshchad (Resurrection Square) after the Resurrection Gate which stands there, in 1918, the square was renamed after the October Revolution. In the 1930s, Hotel Moskva was built on the northern side of the square, separating it from Okhotny Ryad. The hotel was subsequently demolished, but has recently been rebuilt as the Four Seasons.

    Hotel Metropol stands on the north-western side of the square. Completed in 1907, it’s considered one of the finest Art Nouveau buildings in Moscow. The Lenin Museum building, completed in 1892, was originally used as Moscow City Hall. Also worth a look is Resurrection Gate. Built in 1535, rebuilt in 1680, demolished in 1931 and rebuilt again in 1994-1996, it connects Revolution Square with Red Square.

    There are plenty more squares spread across Moscow, each with its own peculiarities and its own story to tell. Every one of them is well worth a visit, and as ever, we’re here to make sure you get the most from your time in Russia’s mighty capital. For all your travel and accommodation needs, there’s only one place to go – RNTO! Contact us today for friendly, expert advice.

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  • The revolution that changed the world

    This year marks a century since the October Revolution finally brought the reign of Russia’s Czars (the Romanovs) to an end, and saw the birth of communism, which would lead to the establishment of the Soviet Union. Here are some of the key dates that changed Russian (and world) history forever.

    Iyul'skaya_1917_demonstraciya_v_Petrograde

    Оцуп (1883–1963) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    But before we start, it’s worth mentioning that, until February 1918, Russia used a different calendar to the rest of the Western world (Russia’s Julian calendar was 12 days behind the Gregorian calendar used by the West until 1 March 1900, when it became 13 days behind). All dates below follow the Gregorian calendar, which we all use today.

    • 20 May 1887 – Lenin’s brother, Alexander Ulyanov, is hanged for plotting to kill Czar Alexander III.
    • 1 November 1894 – Czar Alexander III dies. His son, Nicholas II, would become ruler of Russia.
    • 20 December 1895 – Lenin is arrested, kept in solitary confinement for 13 months, and then exiled to Siberia for three years.
    • 30 July 1903 – The Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) meeting sees the Party split into two factions: Mensheviks (minority) and Bolsheviks (majority).
    • 22 January 1905 – Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg marks the start of the 1905 Russian Revolution.
    • 30 October 1905 – The October Manifesto, issued by Czar Nicholas II, brings an end to the 1905 Russian Revolution by promising civil liberties and an elected parliament (Duma).
    • 28 July 1914 – World War I begins.
    • 18 September 1915 – Czar Nicholas II assumes supreme command of the Russian Army.
    • 8-12 March 1917 – The February Revolution begins with strikes, demonstrations, and mutinies in Petrograd.
    • 15 March 1917 – Czar Nicholas II abdicates. The following day, his brother, Mikhail, refuses to accept the throne. Provisional Government formed.
    • 16 April 1917 – Lenin returns from exile and arrives in Petrograd on a sealed train.
    • 16-20 July 1917 – The July Days begin in Petrograd with spontaneous protests against the Provisional Government. After the Bolsheviks unsuccessfully try to turn these protests into a coup, Lenin is forced into hiding.
    • 24 July 1917 – Alexander Kerensky becomes Prime Minister of the Provisional Government.
    • 7 November 1917 – The October Revolution begins as the Bolsheviks take over Petrograd (remember: it’s October according to the Julian calendar, but November by the Gregorian).
    • 8 November 1917 – The Winter Palace – the last stronghold of the Provisional Government – is taken by the Bolsheviks. The Council of People’s Commissars, led by Lenin, takes control of Russia.
    • 14 February 1918 – The new Bolshevik government converts Russia from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, turning 1 February into 14 February.
    • 3 March 1918 – The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, between Germany and Russia, takes Russia out of World War I.
    • 8 March 1918 – The Bolshevik Party changes its name to the Communist Party.
    • 11 March 1918 – The capital of Russia is changed from St Petersburg to Moscow.
    • June 1918 – Russian civil war begins.
    • 17 July 1918 – Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed.
    • 30 August 1918 – An assassination attempt leaves Lenin seriously wounded.
    • November 1920 – Russian civil war ends.
    • 3 April 1922 – Stalin is appointed General Secretary.
    • 15 December 1922 – Lenin suffers a stroke (his second) and retires from politics.
    • 30 December 1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established.
    • 21 January 1924 – Lenin dies. Stalin would become his successor.
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  • Isn’t it time you visited Nizhny?

    After Moscow and St Petersburg, one of Russia’s most popular tourist cities is Nizhny Novgorod.

    Often shortened to just Nizhny, it’s Russia’s fifth-largest city after Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. It’s the economic and cultural centre of the vast Volga economic region, and the administrative centre of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District.

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    By Neonbaraban (my camera) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Thinking of visiting Nizhny? Then here are some useful facts and figures…

    • The city was founded by Grand Duke George II of Russia in 1221 at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers.
    • Its name literally means Newtown the Lower, to distinguish it from the older Novgorod.
    • For a short time, it was the capital of the Suzdal Principality and competed with Moscow for power in the region.
    • Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin was built in 1508-1511 and became one of Russia’s strongest citadels, which managed to withstand Tatar sieges in 1520 and 1536.
    • By the mid-19th century, Nizhny Novgorod had established itself as a trade capital of the Russian Empire.
    • Under Soviet rule, Nizhny Novgorod became an important industrial centre.
    • From 1932 to 1990, the city was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the old name was restored.
    • The region’s climate is humid continental, similar to Moscow. Winter, which lasts from late November until late March, sees a permanent snow cover.
    • The city is divided by the river Oka into two major parts: the Upper city on the hilly right side, and the Lower city on the left. The Upper city is the old historical part of Nizhny Novgorod, whereas the Lower city is larger, newer and consists of more industrial districts.
    • The main hall of the city’s train station includes a chandelier and Soviet-style mosaics symbolising the lives of Russian people.
    • All Trans-Siberian trains stop at Nizhny Novgorod.
    • Strigino Airport is 20km south-west of the city centre and serves over 1.2 million passengers per year. The journey by bus to the city centre takes approximately an hour, while a taxi ride takes around 30 minutes.
    • Several companies operate multi-day river cruises down the Volga from early May to the end of September.
    • The Kremlin is worth seeing and contains a church, war monument with eternal flame, an art museum and impressive views along the Volga River.
    • Minin and Pozharsky Square, the main square in Nizhny, can be found at the south-east side of the Kremlin.
    • There’s a museum-house of the writer Maxim Gorky and a museum-flat of Andrey Sakharov, the father of the H-bomb and human rights activist.
    • There are museums of photography, steam engines, prisons and GAZ, the Russian car-maker.
    • You’ll find monuments to Valery Chkalov (a test pilot, known for his ultra-long flight from Moscow to Washington State via the North Pole), Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin and Prince George and Saint Simon of Suzdal, along with a wide variety of churches and convents.
    • We also recommend taking a ride on the cable-car from Nizhny to Bor on the other side of the river.
    • There are a number of well-stocked shopping malls in the city, and no shortage of places to eat and drink, from traditional Russian to McDonald’s via sushi, Italian, Chinese … the list goes on.
    • Nearly all hotels and hostels offer free WiFi, and many have computer terminals. Almost all accept credit cards, and will usually provide a visa invitation and registration for an additional fee.
    • If you want to explore outside the city, the town of Gorodets, founded in the 12th century, is famous for its museum of samovars, while Makaryev Monastery, 100km south-east of Nizhny Novgorod and constructed between 1651 and 1667, is home to approximately 20 nuns.

    For all your travel and accommodation needs, there’s only one place to go – RNTO! Book your trip to Nizhny with us and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

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  • A brief history of Nikita Khrushchev

    We’ve all heard of Lenin and Stalin and how they played a central role in the history of Russia and the USSR for a large part of the last century. But what about Nikita Khrushchev – how much do you know about how he shaped the course of Russian history? Here are a few facts and figures…

    Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-B0628-0015-035,_Nikita_S._Chruschtschow

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B0628-0015-035 / Heinz Junge / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

    • Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev was born in 1894 into a poor family near Kursk in south-western Russia.
    • He received very little formal education, joining the Bolshevik Party in 1918 and serving in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War.
    • In 1929, Khrushchev moved to Moscow to attend the Stalin Industrial Academy.
    • In 1931, he began to work full-time for the Communist Party, rising through its ranks to become first secretary of the Moscow City Party Committee in 1938.
    • The following year he became a member of the Politburo, the highest decision-making body of the Communist Party.
    • During World War Two, Khrushchev worked as a political commissar in the army.
    • Stalin died in March 1953. Khrushchev became leader of the party shortly afterwards, but it took him several years to consolidate his position.
    • In February 1956, he made a secret speech to the 20th Party Congress, denouncing Stalin. It caused a sensation in the Communist Party and in the West, although Khrushchev failed to mention his own role in Stalin’s terror. The speech marked the beginning of a campaign of ‘de-Stalinisation’.
    • Khrushchev also attempted to improve Soviet living standards and allow greater freedom in cultural and intellectual life.
    • He invested in the Soviet space programme, resulting in the 1957 flight of Sputnik I, the first spacecraft to orbit the earth.
    • In terms of relations with the West, Khrushchev’s period in office was marked by a series of crises – the shooting down of an American U2 spy-plane over the Soviet Union in 1960, the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and, most significantly, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
    • Despite this, Khrushchev also attempted to pursue a policy of co-existence with the West, which led to a split with Communist China in 1960.
    • Significantly, Khrushchev was not prepared to loosen the Soviet Union’s grip on its satellite states in Eastern Europe. In 1956, an uprising in Hungary against Communist rule was brutally suppressed.
    • By 1964, Khrushchev had alienated much of the Soviet elite and was forced to retire by opponents led by Leonid Brezhnev.
    • He died on 11 September 1971 in Moscow.
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  • Come to Krasnodar!

    As one of the most important historical and cultural centres of southern Russia and the northern Caucasus region, Krasnodar is more ethnically diverse than Northern Russia.

    The renovated tsar-era buildings make this a very pretty city that’s gaining popularity among tourists. Here are a few facts and figures to help you decide whether Krasnodar should feature on your bucket list…

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    By Дагиров Умар [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    • Krasnodar was founded in 1794 by the Black Sea Cossack settlers under the guidance of Catherine the Great to guard the southern border of the Russian Empire from the Ottomans. The city was originally known as Yekaterinodar, meaning ‘Catherine’s Gift’.
    • Much of the city was destroyed during the German occupation of late 1942, but was later rebuilt.
    • Krasnodar International Airport is 12km east of the city centre. From the airport, you can take a trolleybus (1 hour) or minibus (40 minutes) to the main train station.
    • Krasnodar has a dense network of trams, trolleybuses, city buses, taxis, the boat across the Kuban River and marshrutkas (shared taxis).
    • Krasnaya (Red) Street is the city’s main street. Part of it is closed to vehicles during the evening, when the street becomes the centre of Krasnodar nightlife.
    • Theatre Square has the largest splash fountain in Europe.
    • The city contains a number of museums, including the Krasnodar Regional Art Museum of Kovalenko, Krasnodar Regional Showroom of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Military Technologies.
    • There are plenty of religious buildings well worth visiting, including St Catherine’s Cathedral, St George’s Church, the Chapel of Alexander Nevsky and Krasnodar Mosque.
    • Parks a-plenty can be found around the city, including the Rozhdestvensky Park of Culture and Leisure, Solnechny Ostrov (Sunny Island) Park and the City Botanical Garden.
    • With a Children’s Puppet Theatre, Philharmonic Hall, Operetta Theatre and numerous entertainment complexes open 24 hours a day, water amusement parks and Ocean Park Aquarium, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
    • For shoppers, there are numerous markets, shopping malls and countless individual stores.
    • Krasnodar also has many restaurants, pubs, sushi bars, hookah bars, pizzerias, coffee/tea houses and fast-food outlets, including McDonald’s, Subway and KFC.
    • The predominant Krasnodar cuisine is a mix of south Russian, Georgian, Armenian and Greek flavours with an emphasis on fresh locally grown produce, minimally spiced and mostly flavoured with parsley, dill and cilantro.
    • Within travelling distance of the city are Novorossiysk (Black Sea port city), Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Sochi.

    So if you want to say ‘da’ to Krasnodar, you know where to go – RNTO: your one-stop travel shop for all things Russian.

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  • A brief tour of St Petersburg’s Orthodox Cathedrals

    Some of Russia’s most magnificent churches are found in St Petersburg. And among its most outstanding examples are the city’s Orthodox Cathedrals.

    Built at the height of the Russian Empire’s wealth and power, these impressive buildings were designed by the city’s greatest architects, and no expense was spared in their construction or decoration.

    This month, we end our series of articles on the subject with…

    Trinity Cathedral

    You’ll find the enormous dome of Trinity Cathedral on Izmailovsky Prospekt near the Fontanka River. It’s a fine example of Classical architecture that’s only recently begun to be restored to its pre-Revolutionary splendour, after years of neglect.

    Spb_06-2017_img06_Trinity_Cathedral

    Photo: A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

    Trinity Cathedral was the regimental church of the Izmailovsky regiment, one of the oldest guards regiments in the Russian Army. Named after the village of Izmailovo, near Moscow, the Izmailovsky regiment moved to St Petersburg when the city was re-established as the Russian capital under Empress Anne.

    It was back in July 1733 that a large field tent operating as a church was consecrated here. However, the church functioned only in the summer, so in winter the soldiers and officers had to attend other parish churches. In the mid-1750s, a wooden church was built on the site by order of Empress Elizabeth, but it suffered heavy damage in the flood of 1824 and had to be rebuilt.

    Construction of the new church began in May 1828, and it was consecrated in May 1835. The cathedral rises to a height of more than 80 metres, and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area.

    The cathedral was renowned for its exemplary collection of icons, including the Nativity icon, Jesus Christ icon and the Beginning of Life Trinity icon. Other holy objects housed in the cathedral included a large ark made in the form of a cross in 1753 from silver, a large silver cross presented to the cathedral by Nicholas I in 1835, and two large Gospels in valuable bindings.

    Unfortunately, in 1922, most of the cathedral’s valuables were looted, and further thefts led to the cathedral finally closing in 1938. There were rumours of plans to demolish it, but instead, the cathedral was transferred to the Soviet Ministry of Telecommunications, for which it became a warehouse. Only in 1990 did the cathedral return to the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church, when restoration began.

    The cathedral is now open and functioning once again, although its largely bare interior is a mere shadow of the splendour and majesty of its pre-Revolutionary past.

    To visit the cathedral, take the metro to Tekhnologichesky Institut station. It’s open daily, 9.00 am to 7.00 pm, and is wheelchair accessible.

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