Religion

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

The Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the spiritual symbols of Kazan, and is a vivid example of the Petrine era; the so-called "Russian", or "Naryshkin" baroque style. It is located in the historical centre of Kazan near the Kremlin. This cathedral is admired by all guests of the city, and the reason is its unique decor. Exceptional elegance is given to the architectural monument by its inner decor, frescoes, stucco molding, bright colours and an abundance of facade details. The elegant fence was built based on the project of the famous architect Michael of Corinth. All Russian emperors starting from the time of Catherine II visited this place, as well as state public figures, writers, including Alexander Pushkin and other notable internationally historical figures. Mention of the cathedral is contained in the writings of the likes of Alexander Humboldt and Alexandre Dumas. Feodor Chaliapin also often sang at cathedral services during his time of residence in Kazan. The ancient seven-layered iconostasis of 1723-1726, richly decorated in the traditional Russian baroque style has also been preserved here. Among the main shrines of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is the miraculous Icon of the Mother of God of Seven Lakes. It was transferred to the cathedral from the Church of the Wonderworkers from Yaroslavl at the Arskoe Cemetrey of Kazan, where it was kept for many years, having been saved by confessor Hieroschemamonk Seraphim (Koshurin), after the closure of the Seven Lakes Area in 1928.

Historical reference

Tsar Peter I, while heading for the battle of Persia in 1722, stopped at the house of Ivan Mihlyaev - the richest merchant in Kazan. In memory of this event, Ivan Afanasyevich decided to build a two-story stone cathedral instead of the small wooden St Peter and Paul Church. Based on legend, the Tsar himself participated in the initial construction of the cathedral, although no documentation of this particular act have survived to confirm this. The church was built relatively quickly for those times and in 1726, the bell tower was built and the church was consecrated. Underneath lies the family crypt of the Mihlyaev family. The merchant's house has been preserved and stands in the courtyard of the cathedral. During its long history, the temple has gone through a great deal of ordeals, namely the fires of 1742, 1749, 1774, 1815, and 1842. It was partly reconstructed in 1824-1825 with a more large scale reconstruction taking place in 1888-1890. Mikhail Litvinov, the architect of Kazan University, restored the original appearance of the cathedral including the detailed drawings. This was one of the first examples in Russia of a highly professional restoration of architectural monuments. After its closure in 1939, it was officially considered an architectural monument, protected by the State. In the 1950-1980s it housed a planetarium, and in 1989, the building was returned back to the church.

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