IF IT’S NOT BAROQUE…

Onion-domed churches are one of the most defining visual symbols of Russia. Yet you would be hard-pressed to spot them around Saint Petersburg, save for the famous, whimsical Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. That’s because traditional Russian Orthodox cathedral architecture, so prevalent in Moscow and the Golden Ring of Russia developed during the…

CURIO and CURIOUSER

Saint Pete’s is full of the fun and the funky, of the unusual and the unexpected. Here’s just a small sampling: Lions and Boobs Those are the predominant themes in architectural decoration in this city. One signifies might, another …I’ve got nothing. I guess breasts are just generally a good thing? Museum of Curiosities There’s…

WALKING THE WALK

Over the last two weeks you have heard all about how gorgeous Saint Petersburg is. You don’t have to take me at my word: Streets, Buildings, Details. Canals, Embankments, Bridges.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Moscow vs. Saint Petersburg. Which city is superior has been a subject of debate for Russians and foreigners alike pretty much since the latter was built on the marshlands of the Gulf of Finland in the early 1700s and subsequently  inaugurated as the capital of the Russian Empire, borrowing that title from Moscow for some…

THE HERMITAGE or HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!

These were the exclamations that kept coming out of my mouth — to myself, out loud — as I walked from room to shining room of the Winter Palace, former residence of Russian emperors and now home to one of the greatest art museums ever. The Hermitage, according to multiple sources, is actually the largest…

(Letting go of) THE BEST LAID PLANS

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to plan, and the thing I love to plan above all is travel. Mapped out itineraries, color-coded Excel timetables, museum tickets purchased in advance – all this stuff gives me the special kind of tingles. So when an opportunity presented itself not just to go to Saint…