Entry gate to Catherine's Summer Palace features the imperial crest. From wikipedia: The coat of arms of the Russian Federation derives from the earlier coat of arms of the Russian Empire, as restored in 1993 after the constitutional crisis. Though modified more than once since the reign of Ivan III (1462–1505), the current coat of arms is directly derived from its mediaeval original. The general chromatic layout corresponds to the early fifteenth century standard. The shape of the eagle can be traced back to the reign of Peter the Great (1682–1725), although the eagle charge on the present coat of arms is golden rather than the traditional, imperial black.
Catherine Palace, also called Tsar's Village, was largely the work of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1752-56) under Catherine the Great's daughter Elizabeth
A small band greeted our arrival
Gilt, gilt, gilt
Sumptuous gilding dazzles the eye
... though we were sheparded through like a flock of sheep
The Grand Hall with its mirrors, multitude of doors and painted ceiling was intended to create the illusion of endless space
Huge Dutch stoves heated the palaces enormous rooms and spaces
Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, 1754
Photos were not allowed in the Amber Room. In 2003 the jubilee of St Petersburg was celebrated with the re-inauguration of this room, made totally with cut amber, known as the Sunny Stone because of its gleam and warmth
This photo of Vladimir Putin in the Palace makes it appear he was lerking in the halls. He was originally from St. Petersburg.
Gift shop features amber, of course
and famous painted eggs... and lacquered boxes
While finely crafted, their prices felt astronomical and beyond the reach of most tourists
St Isaac's is the fourth largest domed cathedral in the world (almost 350 ft across). The pediments rest on 112 monolithic granite columns, each 55 feet high and weighing 114 tons. Fabulous mosaics adorn the interior (again, no photos).
The Hermitage or Winter Palace fronting Palace Square; see hermitage-museum.org (my photos of exhibits is in a separate album)
Church of the Resurrection on the Blood, designed and erected (1883-1907) in honor of the historical event of the assasination of Alexander II in 1881
Griboedov Canal, one of St Petersburg's many canals
The Singer building, now a bookstore and cafe, dates to 1902 and is topped by a globe which symbolizes the spread of the company's products throughout the world. It sits on Nevsky Prospect, which had become the commercial and financial center of bourgeois Petersburg.
Interestingly, while the "Church" is a major tourist attraction, it was never a place of public worship. "It had been looted following the Russian Revolution, used as a temporary morgue during the Seige of Leningrad, as a warehouse for vegetables after WWII and then reopened as a museum in 1997, per our guide
We came on a couple who were celebrating their marriage with the release of two doves; newly marrieds typically visit St Petersburg after the event solely for commemorating the event in photos
... which became momentarily comical
We passed huge blocks of residential apartments; electric trolleys
Peterhof, often called the Russian Versailles, is about 20 miles outside St. Petersburg; this and other imperial palaces and pavilions were destroyed by German troops and rebuilt after WWII
The Grand Palace at Peterhof stands above cascades with 64 fountains
The centerpiece fountain portrays Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion... symbolic of Russia's defeat of Sweden in the Great Northern War.
Tuckered out from walking and walking, we pause in Peterhof's Lower or Summer Garden
Peter the Great will willingly pose with all visitors
Raking Summer Gardens at Tsarskoye Selo or Catherine Palace
Alien spaceship? No, hydrofoil passes ours in the rain on our return to Saint Petersburg