We came to St. Petersburg mainly to explore the Hermitage Museum.
Its collection is famous and the building itself is stunnning.
But we fell in love with the historic area of the city, especially the canals and rivers which cause it to be referred to as “the Venice of the north.”
Autumn color on a canal.
Muscular sculpture on facade.
A grotesque mask surrounded by snakes on a building facade.
Woman’s face on building facade.
Canal at sunset
Bridge with hippocampus decorations.
Ornamental street lights
Street scene, with green netting. Note the wires carrying the streetlights, strung across the street. These mar the cityscape almost everywhere you look up. I’ve usually removed them in my photos.
Street scene with wires
Street scene without wires
Sculpture on building facade, Nevsky Prospekt
View of a church from canal at sunset.
Our first night in the city we heard a terrific performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 5 by the State Academic Capella Orchestra conducted by the flamboyant Misha Katz.
View across the Moyka River to the pavilion pier in the Mikhailovsky Gardens.
Girl posing near the Mikhailovsky Gardens.
Bridge in the Mikhailovsky Gardens
Ornate wrought-iron fence at the edge of the Mikhailovsky Gardens, by the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Detail of flower on fence separating the Mikhailovsky Gardens from the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
View of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Dome of Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Cross atop the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, details
Crucifixion, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Jesus carrying the cross, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Resurrection, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Side door, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
St. George (or Michael?) Slaying a dragon, a mosaic on the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Bridal photography at te Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Bridal party near the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Newlyweds fasten padlocks with their names on them to bridges to symbolize the binding nature of their relationship.
Engraved padlock commemorating a wedding that took place shortly before our visit.
Apartment buildings along the Lebyazhiego Canal.
Carriage in front of the Hermitage on a rainy day. Note the bright blue pooper-scooper.
A 19th-century memorial to Catherine the Great, with her courtiers firmly underfoot.
Navra Triumphal Arch
Detail from the Triumphal Arch.
Apartment building corner decoration.
Bust of Dostoevsky, Russian Museum.
Plaque marking location of houses lived in by Dostoyevsky.
Plaque marking the location of Raskolnikov’s apartment in Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.”
The Idiot Restaurant, named after the title character of one of Dostoyevsky’s most famous novels. Reflecting Prince Myshkin’s peace-loving character, it’s a vegetarian restaurant.
A larger view of The Idiot Restaurant
The Hotel Dostoevsky on Vladimirskaya, near our hotel.
Our guidebook referred to the crumbling royal stables. Here they are, in full crumble.
Flute player near the Russian Museum. He was performing lively medieval and folk tunes.
Pigeons find Pushkin’s outstretched arm a convenient perch.
The Russian Museum, facade
Alexander III, Russian Museum.
A monastic apothecary, on tile. Russian Museum.
View of the Hermitage Museum through the Narva Triumphal Gate, which commemorates Russia’s victory over Napoleon.
Hermitage facade on a stormy day
Double-headed eagle in front of the Hermitage.
Front gate, Hermitage.
Details from sculpture over Hermitage windows.
Jordan Staircase, Hermitage.
Details of one room in the Hermitage Museum
The gilded columns of the Armorial Hall, in the Hermitage. Paula stands at the window at right.
Black bust, Hermitage.
Roman female bust, Hermitage.
Phaedra receiving Hippolytus’s note of rejection, carved on a Roman sarcophagus in the Hermitage Museum.
Hippolytus being killed by his horses, carved on a Roman sarcophagus in the Hermitage Museum.
Jupiter holding Victory.
Lucilla (149-182 AD), wife of Emperor Lucius Verus
Roman portrait bust, Hermitage
Nymph & Satyr, Hermitage.
Thalia, muse of comedy
Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy
Terpsichore, the muse of dance
Roman jeweled pin
Statuette of Greek mother and child.
Statuette of a female Greek lyre-player.
Ornate candelabra, Winter Palace rotunda.
Gilt cabinet, Hermitage.
This painting on a wall of the Hermitage shows a female painter painting a self-portrait.
At first I thought the inlay on this desk in the Czar’s study was a woman in a short skirt; but it’s actually a picture of a male courtier in breeches and white hose.
Furniture in the imperial apartments of the Hermitage.
This delicate vase depicting an idealized country maiden gathering wheat would make a nice contrast with a portrait of a Soviet-era woman driving a tractor.
The most popular panel in the Raphael loggia wall paintings: squirrels, snakes, and rats scampering in foliage. I bought Paula a scarf printed with this pattern.
Dragons in the Raphael Loggias.
I've never seen a female satyr before. This pair is playing a considerably more innocent game than is usually associated with these creatures on the wall of the Raphael Loggias in the Hermitage.
Ceiling fresco, Hermitage.
Chandelier, rotunda, Winter Palace
Wooden angels, in folk art collection, Hermitage.
Eastern facade, St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Reliefs on doors, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, depicting the childhood of Jesus.
View toward Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood from the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral
View from dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral
View of the Admiralty Gardens and the Neva River from the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Building opposite the Admiralty Gardens, viewed from the dome of St. Isaac’s.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral, interior
High altar, Church of St. Isaac
Arch over altar, St. Isaac’s.
Area around altar, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, showing malachite columns
Detail of golden capitol surmounting one of the green malachite pillars in St. Isaac’s.
Angel on ceiling, St. Isaac’s.
Chandelier, St. Isaac’s.
Dome interior, St. Isaac’s cathedral
St. Isaac’s Cathedral, interior with chandeliers
Interior arch, St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Resurrection ceiling fresco, St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Carved wooden putti on the pulpit in St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The neoclassical facade of the Kazan Cathedral facing Nevsky Prospekt
Paul in front of the Hotel Kristoff, where we stayed in Petersburg
For a city whose official symbol is a double-headed eagle, sculptures of lions are strikingly common. This one helping hold up the Lviny Most bridge is also sheltering a relative between his paws.
The Mariinsky Theater
The classic souvenir of Russia is a set of nesting matryoshka dolls. Most are pretty tacky, but this set in the window of an upscale shop was striking.
Yes, they have McDonald’s in St. Petersburg, but the most popular American fast-food chain seemed to be Subway.
Old Believers’ Cathedral of the Cross of the Mother of God
Vendors bring produce in from the countryside to sell in front of the Vladimirskaya metro station.
Mushrooms for sale outside the Vladimirskaya Metro station
View across the Neva from a window in the Hermitage Museum
Paula in front of the Admiralty Gardens’ fountain.
Sculpture of Peter the Great, created at the command of Catherine the Great, hoping to link her fame to his. To the right, the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
Colorful plumbing debris on the street
A pot full of pigeons in the Yusupov Gardens.
Skylight, Singer building
Dome, Singer building
Flower detail on main doors, Singer building
Facade details, Singer building
Windows, Singer building
Belfry of the Church of St. Nicholas.
View toward St. Nicholas from across the canal.
Tauride Palace, reflected in pond
Bridge, Tauride Gardens
Sparrows in rose bushes, Tauride Gardens.
Path in the Tauride Gardens
Tree beside the Tauride Palacee
Pond, Tauride Gardens
Trees with autumn foliage, Tauride Gardens
Facade of Transfiguration Cathedral
Cross over door, Transfiguration Cathedral.
Decorative panel on Transfiguration Cathedral.
Gates to the Transfiguration Cathedral, decorated with captured Turkish cannons in chains.
Double-headed eagle on gates to the Transfiguration Cathedral
Transfiguration Cathedral, high altar
Smolny Cathedral, with bus digitally removed
Smolny cathedral, closer
Onion domes on Smolny Cathedral
Wing of the Smolny Cathedral complex
Smolny Cathedral viewed through trees.
Domes, Smolny Cathedral
Balcony, Smolny Cathedral
Entrance arch, Smolny Cathedral
Window in Smolny Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral entrance
Cherub above window on facade of Transfiguration Cathedral
Tree beside Smolny Cathedral
Cherub over window, Smolny Cathedral
Belfry, Smolny Cathedral
Wedding couple posing in front of the Smolny Cathedral
This ugly new apartment building has been erected directly opposite the lovely Smolny Cathedral.
Bridge decorated with mythological creatures
In modern Russia it’s the pigeons who have to wait in line.
Gold chandelier, Yusupov Palace
Much of the ornate “plaster-work” is actually done in papier maché.
Staircase chandelier, Yusupov Palace
Trompe-l’oeil ceiling, Yusupov Palace
A Victorian-style sphinx, Yusupov Palace.
Decorative Arabic script in the Yusupov Palace.
Bust of a black man, Yusupov Palace
This haughty woman seems indifferent to the spirit of the embracing cupids below her.
Firescreen, Yusupov Palace
Detail of fabric on firescreen, Yusupov Palace
Ornate fireplace, Yusupov Palace
Women watching a wrestling match (or at least one of them is watching—the other seems more interested in her companion. Yusupov Palace.
A nude pose appropriate for northern climes, Yusupov Palace.
Paula in the music room, Yusupov Palace.
Painted glass window, Yusupov Palace.
Paula and Paula in the Yusupov Palace.
Side table with birds and pears in inlay, Yusupov Palace.
Church on Canal at Sunset. Can someone identify it?
The Vladimirskaya Church near our hotel, opposite the Metro station.
Autumnal view of the Old Yusupov Palace from the gardens.
Pond in front of Old Yusupov Palace.
Of all the sights we saw in Petersburg, none was more moving than this pair of artists at work in the Yusupov Gardens.