St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Isaac's Cathedral

The city government of St. Petersburg is housed in Mariinsky Palace (not shown) on one side of St. Isaac's Square. On the other side of the square is St. Isaac's Cathedral (above). Tsar Nicholas I commissioned the 1818 project that took 40 years to complete. The central coupola or dome is coated with 100kg of gold. 70 workers died inhaling mercury vapor during the gilding process. The interior contains 150 murals and 60 mosaics and took 16 years to decorate.

The Bronze Horseman in the middle of the square is St. Petersburg's most famous public monument. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, this statue of Peter the Great took sculptor Etienne Falconet four years to cast. Note how the massive statue is balanced only on the two rear legs of the horse. Looking at the pose brings to mind the difficulty that Leonardo da Vinci had with a similar pose planned for a statue of Francesco Sforza some 300 years earlier.

The above photo was taken with an Olympus auto-focus camera on a very overcast day.

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© B. Green & L. Brown 1999