Built between 1753 and 1762, this blue and white cathedral is one of St. Petersburg's most beautiful. In the 18th century, this part of town was the sailor's quarter, which is why the cathedral was named after Nicholas - the patron saint of sailors, and why locals sometimes call it "the sailor's church".
The two-storey Baroque building has low ceilings and a warm and inviting interior. At the church gates on the Kryukov canal, there is an impressive four-story bell tower.
The St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral was built by Savva Chevakinsky from 1753 to 1762. It is a supreme example of eighteenth-century Russian Baroque. The cathedral houses 10 spectacular icons in gold frame that were a gift from Catherine the Great. The icons portray saints who are celebrated at Russian Navy celebrations.
One of the most revered places in the cathedral is the image of Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, given to the church by Greek sailors, which was taken from Russia by the French in 1812, and returned to Nicholas I by the Prussians in 1835.
St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of a very few cathedrals in the city that was not closed in Soviet times. In 1941, it became the official residence of Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod Alexey (Simanskiy), who served in the cathedral from 1941 to 1944 during the 900-day siege of the city.
In 1989, a memorial plaque was installed in the cathedral to honor the 42 sailors who lost their lives off the coast of Norway. The inscription reads "In eternal memory of the sailors of the Russian Float who were taken by the sea on April 7, 1989."
With an inventivness worthy of Rastrelli, Chevakinsky used every variety of ornament to give his cathedral a festive look. The exterior is painted ice-blue, with white Corinthian pilasters and window surrounds, crowned by five gilded cupolas and onion domes. The large windows have moulded platbands on which cherubs peep out from behind the clouds, and the top oval windows are framed in elaborate stucco garlands.
This church was dreamed of by Peter the Great, its construction started by Elizabeth and completed by Catherine II. With a group of five Byzantine golden domes the architecture of this church is very oriental. Saint-Nicholas is the patron of Russian sailors. Every year on June 24th, the anniversary of the victory of Cesme, a solemn Te Deum is sung here in honor of Peter the Great; it ends with these words: to the founder of the Russian fleet, the commander of naval victories, Peter the Great, eternal remembrance.