Friday, July 27, 2012

Smolny Cathedral and the Bell Tower

I visited Smolny Cathedral during my Russia trip as I heard that it's a beautiful place. I leave it for you to judge for yourself later if it's worth going. :)

It is located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva in Saint Petersburg, consisting of a cathedral and a complex of buildings surrounding it, originally intended for a convent. Today Smolny Cathedral is used primarily as a concert hall and the surrounding convent houses various offices and government institutions.

As we were at the Summer Garden, we took bus 46 directly from Summer Garden to Smolny Cathedral. We paid about 23 roubles for the trip. I only recalled that we saw the Smolny Cathedral in one of the roads so we immediately disembarked. You can ask the driver, if you know Russian that is. :)

You are able to visit the cathedral if there is no prior concert scheduled. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to see the cathedral while I was there. There was a language problem so I'm not too sure why we can't go in. The entrance fee for the cathedral is 150 roubles. However, I did managed to visit the bell tower (entrance fee is 100 roubles). If I recall correctly, they have a package for the cathedral and the bell tower for 200 roubles.

The bell tower of Smolny Cathedral is actually the highest viewing point in the city, and you need to climb 277 steps to reach the top. The viewing platform is actually 50 metres from the ground.

This is Smolny Cathedral...

Smolny Cathedral
Ok, I took the picture at an awkward angle so that I can have the flowers in the picture but hey, the cathedral is beautiful right? I'm sure the music sounds beautiful within the cathedral. Maybe something like our Victoria concert hall.

Below is a couple of close-up pictures of the cathedral and the door.

Close-up picture of the cathedral

Heavy door of the cathedral
You will be able to see the "ticket booth" the moment you enter the cathedral. We started our long walk up the 277 steps to the top of the bell tower, accompanied by nice baroque music. As we are close to the top,  I took a picture as shown below of the spiral staircase that we came up from. Luckily there was no 2-way traffic at that time.

Spiral staircase up the bell tower
After climbing up the spiral staircase to a viewing platform, there are more steps to go up to the bell tower. As usual, I took a picture of all the steps that we climbed up as shown below.

Picture of steps from near the top of the bell tower
The bell tower, well... there isn't any bell. It's just a bell tower without a bell. :) However, the scenery surrounding the cathedral is beautiful. Below are a couple of pictures of the left and right side of the bell tower. You can see the unique engravings around the cathedral.

Right side of the bell tower

Left side of the bell tower
Below are some of the pictures of the surroundings of Saint Petersburg from the highest point in the city.

You can find out more information on the cathedral here. So is it beautiful?

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