Kronstadt Maritime Nikolsky Cathedral

The silhouette of this grandiose cathedral can be seen from several dozens of kilometres away. The Maritime Nikolsky Cathedral which is visible from St. Petersburg in good weather is not only one of Kronstadt island’s main landmarks but also its pride.

For many years Kronstadt had been a forbidden area along with its only access being across water. Following the opening of a motorway leading to Kronstadt at the end of the 20th century the island town had become open for everyone.
At the present time Kronstadt is one of St. Petersburg’s administrative districts. The construction of the cathedral was decided to be performed at the Yakornaya Square (“yakor” is an anchor in Russian). The square received its name due to the fact that once it was used for storing anchors and anchor chains of the ships that were to be demolished. The square’s main and unique feature is its well-preserved cast-iron paving.

The author of the cathedral’s project was architect Vasily Kosykov. Initially the cathedral was considered a monument to outstanding navy commanders. The construction lasted for ten years – from 1903 to 1913. It became the main focus of not only Yakornaya Square but the entire town. This magnificent building’s plan resembles the Church of Hagia Sophia (6th century A.D.) in Constantinople but the proportions of its parts differ from the prototype.

The cathedral was unparalleled with respect to the décor compared to other cathedrals of its time. On the outside its walls are fronted with granite and greyish-yellow brick and are decorated with polished architraves, portals’ columns, terra cotta ornaments, majolica friezes and mosaics. The icons of saints to whom the aisles are dedicated to are placed above the front entrance’s lateral portals. The main dome and belfries’ domes are decorated with gilt copper relief ornamentations. The southern and northern facades are adorned with high arches and circular stained-glass windows.

The system of big and small semi-domes nicely integrates with entire building’s composition. The main copper dome and the domes of belfries are enlaced with relief ornamentations made of anchors and life-buoys. The cross of the main dome also has a sea feature: it is kind of merged into a steering-wheel. According to architect’s design the ceiling of the cathedral was painted as a sky and the floor was decorated as a sea. Thus, there are images of fishes, jelly-fishes, sea plants and small boats made of marble fringed with thin copper setting on the floor.

Religious services were held at the Maritime Cathedral until 1927 before it was turned into a cinema theatre. At the present time restoration works are underway at the cathedral, set to be completed in the spring of 2013. The system of big and small semi-domes nicely integrates with entire building’s composition. The main copper dome and the domes of belfries are enlaced with relief ornamentations made of anchors and life-buoys. The cross of the main dome also has a sea feature: it is kind of merged into a steering-wheel.

According to architect’s design the ceiling of the cathedral was painted as a sky and the floor was decorated as a sea. Thus, there are images of fishes, jelly-fishes, sea plants and small boats made of marble fringed with thin copper setting on the floor. The services were held at the Maritime Cathedral until 1927 before it was turned into a cinema theatre. At the present time restoration works are underway at the cathedral, set to be completed in the spring of 2013. Tour to st Petersburg