One of the few churches that survived the city’s Communist years, the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral remains an impressive sight with its fairytale-esque white and ice-blue façade capped with five glittering gold cupolas. Commissioned by Empress Elizabeth in 1753, the cathedral’s fanciful Baroque design was the brainchild of architect Savva Chevinskiy and was named in honor of Saint Nicolas, the protector of the seamen.
Located at the heart of the 18th-century sailors’ quarter, the church was affectionately nicknamed the "Sailor’s Church" and served as an important naval center, from where pre-voyage prayers and blessings were made. Today, the two-story church remains a place of worship, as well as a popular tourist attraction, with visitors flocking to admire its magnificent paintings and gilded iconostasis, pay their respects at the memorials of lost seamen and take in the views from the belfry.
The St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is located at the intersection of the Kryukov and Griboedov Canals in downtown St. Petersburg, a short walk from the Mariinsky Theatre. The cathedral is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and adult admission is R300.