St. Nicholas Cathedral

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St. Nicholas Cathedral

This turquoise-and-white extravaganza of a Russian baroque cathedral was designed by S.I. Chevakinsky, a pupil of Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. It's a theatrical showpiece, and its artistic inspiration was in part derived from the 18th-century Italian prints of the Bibiena brothers, known for their opera and theater designs. Canals and green spaces surround the wedding-cake silhouette, a forest of white Corinthian pilasters and columns and flanked by an elegant campanile. Inside are a lower church (low, dark, and warm for the winter) and an upper church (high, airy, and cool for the summer), typical of Russian Orthodox sanctuaries. The interior is no less picturesque than the outside. This is one of the few Orthodox churches that stayed open under Soviet power.

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