Smolny Convent (Voskresensky) is a Russian Orthodox convent built to house Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great. After she was disallowed succession to the throne, she opted to become a nun. However her Imperial predecessor, Ivan VI was overthrown during a coup d'état (carried out by the royal guards in 1741). Elizabeth then decided against entering monastic life and accepted the offer of the Russian throne and work on the convent continued with her royal patronage.

The convent's main church, a blue-and-white building, is considered to be one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also redesigned the Winter Palace, and created the Grand Catherine Palace (Yekaterininsky) in Tsarskoye Selo, the Grand Palace in Peterhof and many other major St. Petersburg landmarks. The Cathedral is the centerpiece of the convent, built by Rastrelli between 1748 and 1764. The projected bell-tower was to become the tallest building in St. Petersburg and, at the time, all of Russia. Elizabeth's death in 1762 prevented Rastrelli from completing this grand design.

When Catherine II assumed the throne, it was found that the new Empress strongly disapproved of the baroque style, and funding that had supported the construction of the convent rapidly ran out. Rastrelli was unable to build the huge bell-tower he had planned and unable to finish the interior of the cathedral. The building was only finished in 1835 by Vasily Stasov with the addition of a neo-classical interior to suit the changed architectural tastes at the time. The Cathedral was consecrated on 22 July 1835; its main altar was dedicated to the Resurrection and the two side altars were dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and Righteous Elizabeth. The church was closed by the Soviet authorities in 1923. It was looted and allowed to decay until 1982, when it became a Concert Hall.

Today, Smolny Cathedral is used primarily as a concert hall and the surrounding convent buildings house various offices and government institutions. In addition, the faculties of sociology, political science and international relations of the Saint Petersburg State University are located in some of the buildings surrounding the cathedral.

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Founded: 1748-1764
Category: Religious sites in Russia

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Kirill Konstantinov (18 months ago)
If you’re interested in climbing up high to enjoy the city view then it’s better to visit Smolny Cathedral rather than Isakievsky. It’s 100 ₽ cheaper and they offer binoculars for free. A number of different stairs with extremely narrow cockle-stairs will definitely help you dive into good old times. Лучше посетить Смольный Собор, чем Исакиевский, если хотите подняться наверх. Здесь на 100 ₽ дешевле и предлагают бесплатный бинокль. Куча лестниц, а также очень узкая винтовая вас точно погрузят в старые добрые времена!
Oleg Naumov (2 years ago)
Monastery and Cathedral were built by Famous architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (1700-1771). This is excellent example of Russian baroque. Cathedral is open for public.
Shrivijay Kakirde (2 years ago)
Very beautiful church. Also you can climb on top of it from where a great view of city can be enjoyed
Нина Еремеева (2 years ago)
Very magnificent cathedral! The view from the top is breath taking. Its still under reconstruction inside... but anyway you have a great chance to see that gorgeous place which is one of the most beautiful cathedrals.
thomas rodrian (2 years ago)
Smolny is a beautiful cathedral reminding me of an expertly decorated cake. Its gardens and buildings are a must see. Here are a few more everyone should try to visit. Alexander Nevsky Monastery Prince Vladimir Cathedral Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called Cathedral of St. Sampson the Hospitable Transfiguration Cathedral Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas Trinity Cathedral Wheelchair users: You should also always call ahead to find out if there is wheelchair access to bars, clubs, museums, and restaurants. In most cases the answer, sadly, will be in the negative. Alternatively, assume it is inaccessible and hire a few people to lift you and your chair up the stairs, and then be sure to pay very generously for the assistance.
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