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Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg: history, description, icons

One of the largest religious buildings of the Northern capital is the majestic Kazan Cathedral. From the center of the construction in both directions spread wings - the colonnade. Outside, the cathedral is decorated with bas-reliefs made of yellowish limestone. The construction makes a tremendous impression. The interior and exterior decoration of the temple is amazing: 56 magnificent columns, which are made of Finnish pink granite and decorated with gilded Corinthian capitals, create a sense of spaciousness and grandeur.

Construction of the Cathedral

The icon of Kazan Mother of God for two centuries was the shrine of the Romanovs' house. It was first brought to the city by Peter I. In the first half of the 17th century the Church of the Blessed Virgin was built in St. Petersburg (the author of the project was MG Zemtsov, the famous Russian architect). She was in the very place where today is a magnificent cathedral. At the end of the century, the church, as well as the adjacent buildings, were demolished, resulting in a huge area in the center of the city.

Creating a Project

A creative contest was launched for the creation of a new temple project. It lasted about three years (1797-1800). The participants faced a rather difficult task. Paul I wished that the new church resemble the famous St. Peter's Cathedral, located in Rome, the work of the great Michelangelo Buonarroti and other architects of the Renaissance. The cathedral was to decorate the colonnade, about the same as the architect of Giovanni Bernini, attached to the cathedral of St. Peter . It was important to inscribe a new monumental structure in the already designed architectural space.

In accordance with the Orthodox canons, the altar of the temple should be turned to the east, and the main facade - to the west, that is to the Meshchansky (today Kazan) street.

From the very beginning of the competition the great architects P. Gonzaga, A. N. Voronikhin, C. Cameron took part in it. In 1800, for the participation in the competition, JF Tomon arrived in the capital.

At first, Paul I approved the project of Charles Cameron. However, thanks to the support of Count A. S. Stroganov, who was responsible for the construction, in November 1800 the project of A. N. Voronikhin was adopted. This decision was widely and fairly long discussed in the society. Especially heated discussions caused the origin of Voronikhin, who was a former serf Stroganoff. He received a free one in 1786.

Shrines of the temple

Kazan Cathedral has the main shrine - the miraculous icon of the Mother of God. At the beginning of the XVII century, during the struggle with the Swedish and Polish interventionists, the icon was always accompanied by the Militia of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. Then it was stored in the Moscow Terem Kazan Cathedral.

Peter I in 1710 ordered to bring to St. Petersburg an ancient repetition of the miraculous image.

When Voronikhin built the Kazan Icon Cathedral, fulfilling the will of Emperor Paul I, he used only the motif of a semicircular colonnade located in front of the building of the proposed prototype. And the rest of the Russian architect created an independent structure, which harmoniously merged into the building of Nevsky Prospekt.

95 huge columns outline a small area. On the right and left, the colonnade ends with massive portals. This structure has a special purpose - it covers the main body of the temple.

Completely the project of the building was not carried out. When they were finishing building the Kazan Cathedral, the architect Voronikhin proposed to build an additional colonnade, which was supposed to be on the south side of the building. She had to repeat the northern analog. However, his proposal was rejected.

Description of the temple

From the side of Kazan Street it was decided to make a central entrance to the Kazan Cathedral. St. Petersburg has received a completely unique structure, which St. Petersburgers are justly proud of, and many visitors of the city are watching with interest.

In terms of the cathedral resembles the shape of a Latin cross, over its center a huge dome rises. External columns, entablature, capitals, cladding and bas-reliefs are made of pudost stone. It is a fairly soft limestone, which has a yellowish tinge. It was mined near St. Petersburg.

Statues and sculptural groups adorn the whole city of St. Petersburg. Kazan Cathedral in this sense is also no exception. Here sculpture is given special importance in the external design. On the attics of the portals (above the side passageways), there are bas-reliefs. On the west side - the work of I.P. Prokofiev, from the east - the work of IP Martos. Above the altar is the famous bas-relief of D. Rachette.

The northern entrance is decorated with monumental doors, which are an exact copy of the "Paradise Gate" of the Baptistery. They are made of bronze sculptor from Italy Lorenzo Ghiberti.

On both sides of the doors, in special niches are the bronze figures of Andrew the First-Called and John the Baptist, Vladimir Ravnoapostolnogo and Alexander Nevsky.

The bas-reliefs "Adoration of the Magi", "Annunciation", "Adoration of the shepherds", "Flight into Egypt" are in the northern portico.

Interior decoration

Kazan Cathedral (St. Petersburg) is distinguished by a rich and solemn interior. It feels Russian sweep and power. The first unique iconostasis was created according to A. Voronikhin's drawing.

Somewhat later (1836), a magnificent gift was given to the city. St. Petersburg, Kazan Cathedral received a new icon-minted from silver, designed by the architect K.A. Tona. It was repulsed by Don Cossacks in 1812 from the French.

Most of the icons were written by the best artists of the beginning of the XIX century - OA Kiprensky, VL Borovikovsky, FA Bruni, V.K. Shebuev, GI Ugryumov, KP Bryullov many others.

The Meaning of the Temple

In 1811 the Kazan Cathedral was consecrated. St. Petersburg carefully preserves the memory of the valiant Russian soldiers who went straight to the temple, after having performed a moleben, went to the Patriotic War.

From this cathedral commanded by Russian troops M. I. Kutuzov, here his body was buried with honors in 1813, in the crypt under the arches of the Kazan Cathedral. Twenty-four years later, a monument to the great general was erected in front of the cathedral.

In the Kazan Cathedral are numerous trophies of the Patriotic War: banners, defeated troops, keys from captured cities and fortresses.

Soviet time

The current generation is hard to imagine that in 1929 the Kazan Cathedral was closed. St. Petersburg (at that time Leningrad) began an active struggle with the "religious dope". Three years later, the Museum of the History of Atheism was housed in this historic place. The priceless icons of the cathedral were partially transferred to the Russian Museum.

The most important and most revered shrine of the temple - the icon of the Mother of God - was moved to the cathedral, which was located on the Petrograd side. The interior in fact was plundered, it suffered considerably during various reconstructions.

Cathedral today

At the end of the last century the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg returned the Diocese, and together with this temple the lost status returned. At the beginning of the XXI century, the church and all parishioners met the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, which was returned to its rightful place.

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