Cost and Hours: Free, daily 9:00-20:00, services generally at 10:00 and 18:00,
Visiting the Church: Although the church seems to be facing Nevsky Prospekt, you'll
enter (per Christian tradition) through the west-facing main door, which is down a side
street (Ulitsa Kazanskaya).
Entering, let your eyes adjust to the low light. Appreciate the brilliant silver-arched
iconostasis. Notice the rounded arches of the Neo-Romanesque-style interior.
Worshippers wait in a long line to kiss the church's namesake, the Icon of Our Lady
of Kazan. Considered the single most important icon of the Russian Orthodox faith, the
icon was discovered by a young girl (directed by a vision of the Virgin Mary) in a tunnel
beneath the city of Kazan in 1579. A monastery was erected on that site, and replicas of the
icon were sent to other Russian cities—including St. Petersburg—to be venerated by the
faithful. The original icon was stolen from Kazan in 1904 and went missing for nearly 100
years (it resurfaced in the Vatican and was returned to Kazan in 2005, although its authen-
ticity has been questioned). Either way, this is a replica, but still considered holy.
The icon is important partly because it was invoked in many successful military cam-
paigns, including the successful defense of Russia during Napoleon's 1812 invasion. In the
left transept, find the statue and tomb of Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov (1745-1813),
who led Russian troops during that conflict. Up above, notice the original Napoleonic ban-
ners seized in the invasion. On the left are the symbolic keys to the Russian cities that Ku-
tuzov's forces retook from Napoleon.
▲▲▲ Church on Spilled Blood (Спас на крови) —This exuberantly decorative
church, with its gilded carrot top of onion domes, is a must-see photo op just a short walk
off Nevsky Prospekt. It's built on the place where a suicide bomber assassinated Czar Al-
exander II in 1881—explaining both the evocative name and the structure's out-of-kilter
relationship to the surrounding street plan. Ticket windows are on the north side of the
church, facing away from Nevsky Prospekt. Go inside to appreciate the mysteriously dim
interior, slathered with vivid mosaics.
CostandHours: 250 R, audioguide-100 R; May-mid-Sept daily 10:00-19:00, may stay
open until 23:00 for extra charge; mid-Sept-April daily 11:00-19:00; last entry one hour
before closing, Kanal Griboyedova 2b, tel. 315-1636, http://eng.cathedral.ru .