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Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

Suffern NY
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Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

We have a two day travel program planned with a local tour company during our cruise stop in St Petersburg on May 31-June 1 of this year. It is actually a private tour with just my husband and myself, plus a guide and driver. I am a slow walker and do not want to hold up a group if I have to stop and rest more often than the others, but we would like to see as much as we can in two days.

I notice that most of the travel itineraries, including ours, include both an inside and outside visit to St Isaacs Cathedral, but only seem to schedule an outside visit to Church on the Spilled Blood. Other than to save time, as we have a very aggressive tour schedule which also includes a visit to St Peter and Paul Cathedral, can someone advise that, other than for a time constraint, why would you choose an inside visit of St Isaacs instead of inside Spilled Blood? I understand that the mosaics in St Isaacs are impressive, but isn't there anything as nice inside Spilled Blood? Would one half hour each be sufficient to view the inside of both church's?

It doesn't appear to matter that the visits are on Saturday late afternoon and or Sunday afternoon, because the itinerary appears this way even if the tour is on a weekday. I would really like to do inside both church's but I do not want to give up a subway ride or shopping time to do this. If we have to keep the original itinerary, can you tell me which church would be more valuable for going inside? It is a customized itinerary but there is only so much touring time in a day.

New York
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1. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

Skipping either would be a crime

Dereham, United...
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2. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

If forced to choose between the two my choice would be St Isaacs. I found the Church on Spilled Blood to be amazing but it was so crowded that I felt a little claustrophobic. There was much more room in St Isaacs and I didn't feel so hurried. I visited both on my own and whilst I didn't climb to the viewing platform in St Isaacs - it was raining - I did walk right around the outside of the Spilled Blood.

Fairfax, Virginia
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3. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

It is your choice, but you should take into account that St Isaac was built by a very good architect and the construction started in 1818, one of the best periods in Russian architecture, the so called high classicism, while the Spilled Blood was constructed when the Russian architecture was in an eclectic decline. To say it simple, the former is a jewel and the second a curiosity - a late XIX century spoof of the original MOscow St Basil cathedral.

The inside of the St I cathedral is very interesting architecturally. The interiors of the SB one are only interesting by its mosaics, most of which were authored by second and third rate artists. Of about 100 mosaics only 6 belong to renown artists, and are not their best works.

To summarize, most tours offer one and not the other for a reason...

Edited: 8:33 pm, February 23, 2014
St Petersburg Russia
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4. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

The Church on Spilled Blood is no "spoof" in that is was not a church but a memorial to Tsar Alexander I on the exact spot of his assassination. He was the leader who freed the serfs so liberated more people from servitude than any human before. Only much later was it consecrated as a church but few services were ever held.

After talking with thousands of visitors about their visits it is really obvious that by a wide margin they say the interior was more impressive to them and more a must-see than St Isaac. I really like visiting both and would have to flip a coin to decide on one. Both are quick visits so the itinerary can be better arranged to see both.

Of the inside visits in the city center, I think the order of preference is going to change however and with the addition of the Faberge Museum to the mix starting next month. The Winter Palace/Hermitage followed by Faberge, followed by Church on Spilled Blood, and then St Isaac, canal cruises then Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral. Some of the best museums are not visited by foreigners from cruise ship for some reason. Probably because there is no way to visit the great collection of Russian art without spending most of the day. The Hermitage is easier to visit specific rooms of interest in a reasonable time. Some like Yusupov Palace but interest seems to be waning as fewer and fewer visitors are familiar with the last Tsar and Rasputin.

Of the out-of-city palace estates, Catherine Palace is popular but much too crowded and the fountain park of Peterhof are the most requested destinations that require driving.

Fairfax, Virginia
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5. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

The Church on Spilled Blood is no "spoof" in that is was not a church but a memorial to Tsar Alexander I on the exact spot of his assassination.

Of course it was not a prank, but it was a clear, and, in my opinion, not a very clever imitation of a famous earlier building.

If you know architecture and art well, there is no question of which construction is more valuable. If you are a history buff and the associated historic events are what matters to you, the CoSB wins hands down. If are neither, but just like bright colors, then again the latter should be your choice.

I said the St. I. was an architectural jewel and CoSB a curiosity, but some people cherish curiosity over architecture, and I cannot blame them for that!

Suffern NY
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6. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

Thank you all for your very interesting replies. My question seemed to bring out quite a disagreement among those folks who feel strongly about touring these churches in St Petersburg.

We have a very aggressive touring schedule covering most of what stanj outlined. We are visiting Yousupov's Palace as well, and doing both the Hydrofoil toPeterhoff and the canal boat trip. I really wish we could attend the Faberge Exhibit but our tour company did not mention it. I guess the opening date allows them little time for preparing something that includes this, given the indefinite information about the time needed to see it. Perhaps a reason for a return visit.

I guess I am still undecided about which inside visit to make. If the inside visits are not as long as St. Peter's or St Mark's I guess we could do both.

Beijing, China
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7. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

To visit both is a good idea, they are not far away. I went to the Spilled Blood early, no crowd there, and it was amazing.

Don't forget the tour to the top of the St Isaac's, from where people can have a panorama view of the city.

St. Petersburg...
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8. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

As you say "you have a very aggressive touring schedule" ( is it "Grand Tour" ?) Don't you think that it would more comfortable, relaxing and pleasant to turn it into a "Comfort Tour"? Without any doubt your travel company can offer it. In my opinion Hermitage, Church on Spilled Blood, St Isaak Cath., Catherine pal. and Peterhof gardehs are a sort of a must see in terms of art & architecture. You can get the taste of the city from the canal tour & "feel yourself Russian" through subway ride which you don't want to skip. I am sure that the tour in St.Petersburg can be pleasant but not exhausting!

9. Re: Inside visit to St Isaac's vs Church on Spilled Blood

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