Tag Archives: Russia

Out and About in St. Petersburg on a Cloudy Afternoon

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After visiting Yekaterinburg, we headed to St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.

On our first day in this lovely city, we did a half-day tour of its tourist attractions.  It was cloudy and while the weather made it a nice day for strolling, it resulted in my photos having that dreary look.

House of Soviets
This was planned to host the administration of Soviet Leningrad government and was never used for the intended purpose.  It was instead used as a local command post for Soviet Red Army during the Siege of Leningrad and later housed the Soviet research institute.

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House of Soviets is located on the outskirts of St. Petersburg City itself and I took the photo while onboard our bus from the airport to the hotel.

Moscow Square
This is in front of the House of Soviets featuring a monument of Vladimir Lenin.  The fountains were added only in 2006.

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Statue
This bronze statue on granite base is of Rimsky-Korsakov, head of  the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1871.

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Moyka River
This river encircles the central portion of St. Petersburg, thus making it an island.

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Rostral Columns
An integral part of the city’s central panorama, these columns once held St. Petersburg’s main port.  It’s a most impressive sight on major public holidays when torches are lit on top of them.

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Peter and Paul Fortress
This is the first structure to be built in St. Petersburg and thus regarded as the birthplace of the city.

It was intended as a defensive fortress, but  throughout its history was utilized for various purposes, including being a military base, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial family,  the site for scientific experiments, and a jail for some of Russia’s most prominent political prisoners.

State Hermitage Museum
This is the city’s most popular attraction and one of the world’s largest and most prestigious museums.  It consists of Hermitage Theatre, Old Hermitage, Small Hermitage, Winter Palace and has over 3 million items in its collection, which includes Impressionist masterpieces and Oriental treasures.

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Trivia:  It has such an impressive collection that one needs 11 years to view each exhibit on display for just 1 minute.

Winter Palace
This is formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars and St. Petersburg’s most famous building.  Designed by many architects, most notably Natolomeo Rastrelli.  The architectural style is Elizabethan Baroque.  The palace is so grand it has been calculated to contain 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Whoa.

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Neva River
This is a site of numerous major historical events, including the Battle of the Neva in 1240 which gave Alexander Nevsky his name, the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, and the Siege of Leningrad by the German army during World War II.

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The city’s historical structures like the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Winter Palace surround the river.  Here’s a zoomed-in shot of the former.

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Trinity Bridge
This is a a bascule bridge across the Neva linking Kamennoostrovsky Prospect with Suvorovskaya Square.

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The photo doesn’t really show the bridge, but this is one of its obelisks.

The Flying Dutchman
I wasn’t really listening when we passed by here, but sources online identified this as an upmarket restaurant that is a replica of a 30-canon Dutch ship, Amsterdam.

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Pardon the shot as this was taken onboard our bus.

The Church of the Savior of the Blood
I included this in my teaser post about Russia as this was easily one of St. Petersburg’s (and even Russia’s) popular attractions.  This is where Emperor Alexanded II was assassinated in 1881 when a group of revolutionaries threw a bomb at his royal carriage.

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I was in awe of the church at first sight.  So much that I barely listened to our guide.  She did notice our group’s excitement and was amused at how we were taking photos of it from the main road where our bus was parked.  “Go all the way at the back where the views are nicer,” she shared.

Here’s a zoomed-in shot of its façade and onion domes from across the road.

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After going around it, we realized our guide was right.  It was a better photo-op site.

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Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel).

Just look at how richly decorated its façade is.

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What intricate the details!  Really, really amazing!  This is perhaps the most beautiful church I’ve seen.

More zoomed-in shots of its façade and domes.

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And in front of the Church are these beautiful structures.

Too bad we were in a rush so we did not linger to enter the church or explore its nearby sights/sites.

Palace Square
This is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire. It was the setting of many events of worldwide significance, including the Bloody Sunday (1905) and the October Revolution of 1917.

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Alexander Column
This column is the focal point of Palace Square and named after Emperor Alexander I.  At its pinnacle is an angel holding a cross with a face that said to be modeled after the Emperor.

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The column’s body is made of a single monolith of red granite.  Its construction is considered a terrific feat in Engineering as it weighed an incredible 1,322,760 pounds (600 tons) and yet, it was erected in under 2 hours without the aid of modern cranes and engineering machines.

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The most celebrated building on the square is the Winter Palace, which I covered earlier.  The square is actually called Palace Square because well, it i where the Winter Palace is located.

General Staff Building
This monumental Neoclassical building in Palace Square used to be the headquarters of the General Staff (western wing), Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry (eastern wing) before the country’s capital was transferred to Moscow in 1918.

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Aside from the above, I also chanced on these sights during our quick tour of St. Petersburg.

I’ll end this post with a photo of what is perhaps the city’s most famous attraction: The Church of the Savior of the Blood.

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Russia: Out and About in Yekaterinburg

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Since our event in Yekaterinburg was still in the evening, we had some free time to go around the city on Day 02.

As we already did a quick tour the day before, we had no itinerary that day and decided to just walk around.  We stayed at Novotel, which was really convenient because it’s just walking distance from the bank, the mall, and Yekaterinburg’s attractions.

This is our view of Vysotsky Skyscraper from our room.  Vysotsky is the tallest building in Russia outside of Moscow.  Technically, it is not the tallest structure in Yekaterinburg as an unfinished TV tower that I shared on my previous post holds this distinction.

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After changing some USD into rubble, we decided to look for a mall because my colleague, Olga, needed stockings.  Thankfully, she’s Russian so I needn’t worry about asking for directions and just had to follow her lead.

We passed by the unfinished TV tower that I mentioned earlier on our way to the mall.

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The weather was dreary, so the skyline looked bleak.  And boy, was it cold, but not too cold, so it was okay (it’s actually a nice experience for me as I have always lived in a tropical country where it’s always hot).

We also passed by this river, which I think is the same river that flows into the Weir.

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As I was working on this post, I noticed that if only we went straight ahead, I would have been directed to the same locations we visited a day prior. I can tell by the river and the dome-shaped architecture; by the way, the dome-shaped building is Yekaterinburg Circus, one of the city’s landmarks (the unfinished TV tower is beside it and both are visible from the main photo from this post).

Walking around Yekaterinburg was actually relaxing because of the cold weather.  That, and because of views like the river and these colorful trees.

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I don’t know what this building is, but Olga said it’s some sort of government building.

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This is just another random shot taken while waiting for the stoplight to turn green.

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In a way, Yekaterinburg reminded me of our province.  It’s obviously still not as urbanized as Moscow or St. Petersburg. And yes, my hometown also has some electrical wires that are evident in the above photo.

Aaand finally, we reached our destination, which was Yekaterinburg Greenwich Mall.  It’s right at the city center and at its entrance was this sculpture.

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Inside the mall were other statues like the ones below, though I was more interested in its ceiling of gifts.

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After Olga bought her stockings (I couldn’t believe I forgot my hair ties so I had to buy a pack at almost USD 5!), we had lunch.

We ate at the mall’s food court where we got to pick among their already prepared food.  I really had no idea about what I was putting on my tray, but I did my best to choose what seemed familiar to me: some sort of chicken pie, lasagna, salad, and of course, dessert.

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Thankfully, my meal was really good, especially the chicken pie and the dessert.  Russia’s sweets actually became my favorite during this trip.

On our way back, we passed by the same route and these were just some of my views.

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I also got to see these old wooden houses. Too bad the views were ruined by the many electrical wires.

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Come Day 03, we had an early flight to St. Petersburg so we didn’t get to see more of Yekaterinburg, but I did get to take photos from my bus’ window seat.

The clouds were looking so defined that day.

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And I don’t know what these trees are, but they sure looked pretty.

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A typical view at the still rustic Yekaterinburg.

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And lastly, one of my favorites from this set:

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Russia: A Glimpse of Yekaterinburg

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Yekaterinburg is Russia’s fourth largest city.  While also known as Ekaterinburg, I opted to use Yekaterinburg after finding out that it’s named after Yekaterina, the wife of Tsar Peter the Great.

This is my first view of this still quiet city, which I took from the window seat of the plane.

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For someone who grew up and lived all her life in a tropical country, it was almost magical to finally see an unraveling autumn season.

We were in Yekaterinburg for a business trip and had limited time to tour the city, so I only had glimpses of what the city has to offer.

Cathedral on the Blood
The Church on Blood in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land is an Orthodox Church built to commemorate the Romanov sainthood.

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As mentioned in my teaser post about Russia, beneath its beautiful architecture is a heartbreaking story because it was built on the site where Tsar Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia and his family were murdered.

We were pressed for time so I was not able to see the church from the inside.  We only had our photos taken from the front steps.

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I don’t know what this is called, but it’s near the Cathedral (Google Images isn’t of help since most churches in Russia look the same, so I cannot pinpoint this exactly).

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Sevastyanov’s House
According to this blog, this is the most beautiful house in Yekaterinburg.    Nikolay Sevastyanov was a successful businessman who made a fortune during the Gold Rush in Yekateriburg at the beginning of the 18th century.

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Monument Tatischev an de Gennin
Vasil NikitichTatishchev and Vilim Ivanovich de Gennin are the founding fathers of Yekaterinburg.  This monument, which is made of brass is just beside Sevastyanov’s House.

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Because of its steps, it has become a popular skateboarding area for kids in the neighborhood.

Weir on River Iset
Yekaterinburg lies on the river Iset and this weir (a low dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream or regulate its flow) is located at the heart of the city.

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Did you notice the tall structure in the photo?  It was once the tallest building in Yekaterinburg.  This blog even described it as the tallest abandoned structure in the world.  It was originally intended to reach 440 meters, but when the USSR collapsed, they had to stop its construction.

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The Weir on River Iset is perhaps Yeketerinburg’s most popular attraction.  It’s also a favorite hangout for locals.

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Near these benches is a garden art of a bear.  It was so cute we couldn’t resist a photo-op.

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There was some sort of Love Bridge at the end of the river, with love padlocks from lovers who have declared their love there.  Our Russian staff mentioned that it’s common in Russia and so she’s planning to bring her Filipino husband to her native Khabarovsk so they could do the same.

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Vodonapornaya BashnyaNa Plotinke Museum
I didn’t know that this is a museum until I did a Google search of what this could be.  Unfortunately, all are in Russian, so I have no idea what’s here.

I’m pleased though to have captured this couple as I passed by the museum because they lent a romantic vibe to the photo.

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Chapel of St. Catherine
This was named after the Great Martyr St. Catherine, the patroness of the mining art and Yekaterinburg City.

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For more information about this quaint church, visit this site.

Yekaterinburg City Hall
This 5-storey building’s facade is made of granite and stucco.

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Here’s a close up shot.

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Lenin Statue
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, more known for his alias, Lenin was a communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist.  His statue in Yekaterinburg is across the city hall.

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We toured Yekaterinburg only for a couple of hours, so I wasn’t able to see much of the city.  Nevertheless, I will always remember its lovely buildings and still mostly rustic scenes despite its being a city.

Here’s my favorite because again, I was so amazed with my fall/autumn experience while in Russia.

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Teaser Post about my Trip to Russia

Hello, and sorry for the long hiatus.  The past month was my busiest this year.  September is my birth month and usually, I reward myself with a trip or a visit at home, but I decided to do away with this in 2014 as I was saving up to renovate our kitchen.  Still, an unexpected blessing came in the form of a business trip to Russia, which got me so busy.

Russia is sooo beautiful!  Here’s my favorite photo from this set.

I don’t know the exact place where this was taken.  All I know is that it’s on the bridge after Moscow’s Red Square.  Funny, map-challenged me actually got lost and when I saw the skyline getting pinkish, I decided to just keep walking to its direction until I could find a spot where I could watch the sunset.

Aside from Moscow, we also visited Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city.

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Here’s a photo of me in Yekaterinburg’s Church of the Blood, which was built on the spot where the last Emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his family, were executed.  He and his family members are now saints.

During this trip, I was also able to tick one item off my wish list.

Isn’t St. Petersburg’s Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood magnificent?  It’s my dream to see this after seeing it in a magazine.

This Church was dedicated in the memory of Tsar Alexander II as it was built on the site where he was assassinated.

Honestly, It was morbid to  know the story behind Russia’s stunning churches.  How can these architectural wonders be built under such horrifying circumstances?

I would have loved to post more and continuously, but I couldn’t as I have scheduled trips to Gigantes Island and Vietnam and Cambodia this month.  Those, and tons of workload to catch up to.

Till next!