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Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor (Russian: Исаа́киевский Собо́р) is a cathedral that currently functions as a museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint. It was originally built as a cathedral but was turned into a museum by the Soviet government in 1931 and has remained a museum ever since.
The cathedral took 40 years to construct, from 1818 to 1858. The building of the cathedral took so long, that it left an idiom to Finnish language: rakentaa kuin Iisakinkirkkoa (To build like the church of Isaac) when speaking of long-term construction projects.
To secure the construction, the cathedral's foundation was strengthened by driving 25,000 piles into the fenland of Saint Petersburg. Innovative methods were created to erect the giant columns of the portico. The construction costs of the cathedral totalled an incredible sum of 1 000 000 gold rubles. Under the Soviet government, the building was stripped of religious trappings. In 1931, it was turned into the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism, the dove sculpture was removed, and replaced by a Foucault pendulum. On April 12, 1931, the first public demonstration of the Foucault pendulum was held to visualize Copernicus’s theory.
he neoclassical exterior expresses the traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of a Greek-cross ground plan with a large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It is similar to Andrea Palladio's Villa La Rotonda, with a full dome on a high drum substituted for the Villa's low central saucer dome. The design of the cathedral in general and the dome in particular later influenced the design of the United States Capitol dome,[12] Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin,[13] and the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki.

The exterior is faced with gray and pink stone, and features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals, each hewn and erected as a single block: 48 at ground level, 24 on the rotunda of the uppermost dome, 8 on each of four side domes, and 2 framing each of four windows. The rotunda is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues stand on the roof, and another 24 on top of the rotunda.The cathedral's main dome rises 101.5 metres and is plated with pure gold.

Here you can see where it is possible to climb to see the view of St Petersburg from above. Look at this passage on the RIGHT side. It was a bit scary to go there. I will show the view of the whole cathedral and the view from above later.

Big beta version

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11349 W: 121 N: 28954] (136802)
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