Photographer's Note

Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who came to Russia as a boy with his father, who was invited to the country by Peter the Great and who constructed the Winter Palace and the palace at Tsarskoe Selo. Smolny Cathedral was one of Rastrelli Jr.'s last projects, and one that the great architect left unfinished.
The cathedral was part of a complex planned by the Empress Elizabeth to include a nunnery and a new school for girls - the first and most famous girls' state school in the Russian Empire. Construction began on October 30, 1748, and by 1761 construction of the cathedral was complete. However, in December of that year, Elizabeth died, and work on the monastery came to a halt. Rastrelli was relieved of his duties at Smolny by Catherine the Great, and left Russia in October 1763.
By the early 1830s, much of the cathedral had fallen into disrepair and was becoming overgrown. In 1832, Nicholas I commissioned Vasily Stasov to finish the building. Construction was officially completed in 1835, and the cathedral was on July 22 of that year.
Originally, Rastrelli wanted to a put a bell-tower - designed to be taller than the Peter and Paul Cathedral, at that point the tallest building in the city - next to the cathedral, but his plans were never realized.
After the revolution, the cathedral suffered a similar fate to most of the churches in St. Petersburg. In 1922, all of its valuables were looted, and in 1923 the cathedral was closed. For many years, the building was not even heated, had no electricity or water, and it slowly decayed.
In 1972, the cathedral's iconostasis was taken out. Soon after, the cathedral became a museum for the city, and hosted exhibitions. It was later converted into a concert hall, which is still one of its primary functions today.
I took this photo at 11:30 p.m. on a so-called white night, when it doesn't really get dark all night. So the light is not the best it could be,,well, it is 11:30 p.m. after all))
I tried to increase brightness a little to get to that beautiful sky-blue color that the cathedral is in normal lighting conditions. I post in WS.

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Additional Photos by Jenna Estelle (EstelleJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 53 W: 0 N: 119] (921)
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