advertisement

This prominent landmark on Nevsky Prospekt is an example of nontraditional Russian Orthodox architecture adapted to satisfy church tradition. To fit with the city's careful design, the cathedral's columned, curved facade faces Nevsky -- but Orthodox custom requires that the nave run east-west, so the entrance to the cathedral is actually around the side. Completed in 1811, the cathedral was partly inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Its centered single dome, horizontal line, and gray color scheme have little in common with the more vibrant, vertical cathedrals typical of previous centuries. The cathedral was named after the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, whose intriguing tale is the first item in church brochures. For more than 60 years it housed the State Museum of Atheism and Religion, and for a while in the 1990s it managed to be simultaneously a functioning church and a museum to godlessness. The museum has since moved and dropped the "Atheism" from its name.