Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 79, St.Petersburg, Russia

Nopi wants to quickly see the Church of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God .....

Completed in 1783, the beautiful and historic the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in St. Petersburg and presents a truly fascinating combination of baroque and classical architectural styles.

The church is crowned with five onion-shaped cupolas, which rise into the sky
above Vladimirskaya Ploschad in one of the most historic areas of the city.
An impressive four-tiered bell tower stands adjacent to the church. The church is also home to one of the oldest and most elaborate iconostases in Russia.

The church was built to shelter the historic Vladimir icon of the Mother of God. The icon traveled to Jerusalem, Constantinople and then Kiev, where Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy bought it and brought it to the ancient Russian city of Vladimir after which it is named. Subsequently the icon was credited by the Orthodox Church with freeing Moscow from the control of the Mongols.

The founding of the cathedral dates to 1746 in the house of a certain Yakimov where the first iconostasis was assembled.

In 1831, a stone portico was added to the main building with two stairways leading to the second floor, designed by A. Melnikov.

In 1833, another two-story portico was built on the northern and southern facades of the church including a two-story room for a staircase, designed by A. Golm.

In 1848-1849 a fourth tier was added to the bell tower to a plan by architect F. Rusk. In 1850-1851 a fence was installed around the church, and two stone chapels were also added.
The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Church, bell tower and chapels were also gilded at this time.

Although most of the church's treasures were looted during the Revolution, the incredible iconostasis on the church's upper level survived.

A vigorous restoration of the church began in the 1970s, including restoration of the facade and icons. Nevertheless, the effects of years of neglect have been difficult and slow to correct.

In 1990, after the church had been returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, the first services where conducted in what observers described then as a gloomy and cold environment where there were only two icons donated by church parishioners. Moreover, the church did not have a cross for more than a year after it reopened!!

Valery says that bridges are an essential part of St. Petersburg's architectural make-up, unsurprisingly considering that the city is built on over 100 islands.

St. Petersburg boasts the largest number of bridges of any city in the entire world....and was considered the Venice of the North.

With a total of 539 bridges (315 in the downtown area alone), not even Venice, Stockholm or Amsterdam can beat the city's total!

The first bridge in St. Petersburg was built in 1703, in the first year of the city's history. It connected the Peter and Paul Fortress with the rest of the city.

The longest bridge in St. Petersburg is the Alexander Nevsky Bridge (Most Aleksandra Nevskovo ) – 2971 feet 5 inches (905.7 meters) long.

The widest bridge in St. Petersburg (and in the world) is the Blue Bridge (Siniy Most ) - 319' 2'' (97.3 meters) wide.

The narrowest bridge in St. Petersburg (excluding bridges in parks and gardens) is the Bank Bridge (Bankovskii Most ) - only 6' 1'' (1.85 meters) wide.

The first permanent bridge across the mighty Neva River is the Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge (Most Leitenanta Schmidta ) and was built between 1842 and 1850.

Small rivers and canals dissect the historic centre of St. Petersburg, and it's hard to walk more than a few hundred meters without crossing a bridge.

Many of these structures are masterpieces of engineering and architecture.
Running directly through the heart of St. Petersburg, the narrow Fontanka River had to be bridged from the very first years of the city.
Many of the Fontanka's bridges date back to the 1780s, and those that have survived unaltered are particularly impressive

One of seven bascule bridges built across the Fontanka River in the 1780s, the Lomonosov Bridge has retained its charming historical aspect, and is still one of the most elegant in St. Petersburg.

The design of the bridge is attributed to the French engineer Jean-Richard Perrone.

Measuring 57.1 meters, the bridge consists of two broad, arched side-spans, and a shorter central span that was originally of wood, but replaced with steel in 1913.

Although Lomonosov Bridge no longer rises to allow passing traffic, it has retained its four charming Doric pavilions, which once housed the drawbridge mechanism. It is these that give the bridge its distinctive outline and particular charm.

In 1915, granite obelisks with elegant cast-iron streetlamps were added to the bridge, and in 1948, the bridge was given its current name.

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