The last five days have completely and utterly spectacular. Five jam-packed days to see as much as possible in the beautiful cities of St.Petersburg and Moscow. I can’t get enough! Everything about Russia has been bigger and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
Five days is hardly enough to see all that St. Petersburg and Moscow have to offer. The details of our adventures could fill many books, which I will save for another day. Instead, here are just some of the highlights.
The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, a.k.a. Church on Spilt Blood, is a must-see. All those colourful domes may remind you of St. Basil’s Cathedral, but don’t be fooled! (St. Basil’s is much more beautiful.) That’s for later on when we get to Moscow. In the meantime, I’d say this is a close second.
Super-short history lesson: The Church on Spilt Blood got its rather morbid and wordy name from the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. He survived one bomb attack, only to be hit by a second.
We also paid a visit to the city’s largest Russian Orthodox cathedral — St. Isaac’s Cathedral … because why stop at just one cathedral?
After just three and a half days in St. Petersburg, I’ve seen enough to know those Russians love their churches and cathedrals. They seem to be able to squeeze one into any spaces, be it in the shadow of apartment buildings, around the corner from the supermarket, or out in the middle-of-nowhere bush country.
Enough cathedrals. It’s palace time! This is the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum where Russian tsars actually lived.
Because I can’t get enough palaces. Here’s one named after Catherine I, who was married to Peter the Great. So. Much. Gold. Catherine Palace is also known as Pushkin Palace (because it’s located in the town of Pushkin).
Super-short history lesson: It was actually Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great and Catherine I, who lived here. She named it after her mother, but her initials is what appears above the gate.
This next one isn’t really about the palace, though there is one. It’s all about the fountains.
One last palace worth seeing. Yusupov Palace isn’t nearly as impressive as the Winter Palace, but it houses the crime scene of wonderfully horrific yet fascinating story — the murder of Rasputin.
Super-short history lesson: Felix Yusupov and some fellow conspirators plotted to kill Rasputin, who they considered a madman manipulating the tsar. They poisoned, shot and beat him before dumping him in the river where he drowned to death.
I’ll wrap it up here for now. Highlights from Moscow to come!