St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia

The golden dome of the iconic St. Isaac’s Cathedral inspired the dome on the U.S. Capitol Building and is similar to that of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The dome of St Isaac's has dominated in St. Petersburg's skyline for 150 years. Its elaborate mosaics make it one of the most impressive cathedrals in Russia. The upper levels host a museum and a panoramic view that is sure to blow away any view-loving guest.

Its history is nearly as long as that of St. Petersburg. The original Church of St. Isaac was first ordered by Peter the Great in 1706. The little wooden building, dedicated to the Tsar's patron saint Isaac of Dalmatia hosted his wedding ceremony with Catherine I 6 years later. This wooden church stood for another five years until Peter ordered it to be replaced by a new “Petrine Baroque” stone structure that was completed after the Tsar’s death in 1727.

After suffering significant damage from a poorly constructed foundation and marshy subgrade, the church was replaced by Catherine II the Great, who hired Antonio Rinaldi to construct a new late Italian Baroque cathedral. She liked the design so much that she ordered 5 such churches to be built. The only one still standing today is in Kingisepp, east of the city. The Rinaldi church on St. Isaac’s square was finished with brick by Catherine’s son Paul and consecrated only in 1802, long after Catherine’s death.

It stood for only 7 years before Tsar Alexander I, Catherine’s grandson, held the first competitive bid to replace the structure with a grand cathedral. It took many years before he found a suitable designer, French architect Auguste Montferrand who opted for a full dome constructed of cast iron set upon a drum. It took 40 years to complete the building.

The estimated cost Russia spent on the cathedral's construction is unfathomable. About 10000 logs were driven into the ground below it to improve the marshy ground, 882 pounds of gold, 16 tons of malachite and a thousand tons of bronze were used for the interior. The mosaics on the walls cover 7,108 square yards. The great dome's gold plating, that was applied using a process that involved spraying the metal onto its exterior surface, ultimately poisoned to death 60 or so craftsmen.

Yet the sheer size of the cathedral designed to hold 14000 standing guests leaves an unforgettable impression, especially when looking up at the artistic marvel of the great dome from the inside.
St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia

See it on following tours

Rating:
4.89
4.888802652292352

Treasures of Two Capitals

Moscow Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Treat yourself to an outstanding experience of Moscow & St. Petersburg with our 5-star small group tour in Russia. An enhanced itinerary of our signature tour with luxury central hotels & extra tours

Rating: 5.00
From
$3,098

Classic Moscow & St. Petersburg

Moscow Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Unmatched in convenience and price, this 4+ star program takes you through main highlights of Russian capitals in our signature style: best guides, downtown hotels & seamless logistics

Rating: 4.95
From
$2,498

Treasures of Two Russian Capitals

9 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Our private tour of Russia's Moscow & St. Petersburg covers all major highlights in a completely carefree fashion. As always offering top-notch quality and service throughout
Rating: 4.98
From
$3,096

Venice of the North

7 days / Private tour
Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Meet Saint Petersburg, Russia's most beautiful city. Our private St. Petersburg tour shows you the very best of what the city has to offer, from canals to remarkable palaces and imperial estates
Rating: 4.89
From
$2,518

Platinum Russia

Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Be treated like royalty discovering Moscow and St. Petersburg with the best 5-star hotels, thoroughly designed tours, Russian visas, 1st class train tickets and transfers included in our 5+ star luxury tour
Rating: 5.00
From
$6,794

Russia Northern Lights

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg Murmansk

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Discover the majestic Russian winter as you explore its two brilliant capitals, the inspiring Karelia region and make your way north to witness the dazzling Northern Lights.

Rating: 4.87
From
$3,655

UNESCO Tour

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Suzdal Yaroslavl Kazan Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Set off on an outstanding 13-day tour dedicated to Russia's top UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Moscow to Kazan to Saint Petersburg.

Rating: 4.80
From
$3,768

Treasures of Three Capitals

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Kazan Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Experience the best of Russia's three capitals: the gorgeous Kremlins of Moscow and Kazan and exquisite palaces of St. Petersburg during the 13-day private tour.

Rating: 4.82
From
$3,768

Russia + Scandinavian Capitals

16 days / Private tour
Copenhagen Oslo Flam Bergen Stockholm Helsinki Saint Petersburg Moscow

RUSSIAN VISAS Treat yourself to the award-winning program that includes the highlights of Scandinavian cities and fjords combined with Russia's two stunning capitals.

Rating: 4.96
From
$7,291

Russian Ancient Kingdoms

Moscow Sergiev Posad Suzdal Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Combine your premium experience of Moscow & St. Petersburg with a visit to the heart of ancient Russia, the Golden Ring. Bimonthly guaranteed departures.
Rating: 4.93
From
$3,298

Winter Treasures of Two Capitals

7 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Experience Russia during winter. Resting under the white blanket of snow, Moscow & St. Petersburg expose guests to exciting winter activities
Rating: 4.76
From
$2,485

From Saint Petersburg to Beijing

Saint Petersburg Moscow Kazan Ekaterinburg Irkutsk Ulan Bator Beijing

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS An extended journey from Russia to China starting in one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg.

Rating: 4.00
From
$7,368

Wonders of Russia

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Irkutsk Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Explore the most incredible places in Russia and discover the best of Moscow, Irkutsk, St. Petersburg and the gorgeous Pearl of Siberia - Lake Baikal.

Rating: 4.88
From
$4,498

Firebird Cruise Moscow - St. Petersburg

12 days / 5-star cruise
Moscow Uglich Kizhi Island Saint Petersburg
FREE FLIGHTS: Exclusive Suites offer on board the 5-star MS Rostropovich - cruise with free flights, luxurious suites, land tours in small groups
Rating: 4.88
From
$4,981

Firebird Cruise St. Petersburg - Moscow

12 days / 5-star cruise
Saint Petersburg Kizhi Island Uglich Moscow
FREE FLIGHTS: Exclusive Suites offer on board the 5-star MS Rostropovich, included free flights and suites on the ship
Rating: 4.88
From
$4,981

St. Petersburg Shore Excursion

2 days / Extension
Saint Petersburg
Coming to St. Petersburg with a cruise? Shore excursion is a great way to explore St. Petersburg heritage without ever needing a Russian visa.
Rating: 4.82
From
$591

MS Tolstoy Moscow - St. Petersburg

12 days / 4-star cruise
Moscow Uglich Yaroslavl Kizhi Island Saint Petersburg

Cruise Russia on our most popular 4-star ship and enjoy impeccable service, exquisite accommodation and a warm friendly atmosphere.

Rating: 4.59
From
$2,742

Golden Eagle Arctic Explorer Journey

12 days / Group rail tour
Saint Petersburg Kirkenes Murmansk Petrozavodsk Vladimir Suzdal Moscow
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Immerse yourself in a winter fairytale as you set off on a journey on board the luxurious Golden Eagle train to explore the Arctic and Northern Lights.
Rating: 4.88
From
$11,995

MS Tolstoy St. Petersburg - Moscow

11 days / 4-star cruise
Saint Petersburg Kizhi Island Yaroslavl Uglich Moscow

Sail from St. Pete to Moscow on board the great value Tolstoy that will give you a deep insight into the unique Russian nature, culture and history.

Rating: 4.59
From
$2,548
Imperial Russia

Imperial Russia Holiday Edition

10 days / Group rail tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg Murmansk
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS An unforgettable rail journey on a private train - Imperial Russia, from Moscow, the legendary capital of Russia, to Murmansk, the world's biggest city above the Polar Circle.
Rating: 4.85
From