Thursday, June 16, 2016

Saint Petersburg

St. Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg served to be the perfect starting point for our Russia trip. The city is large, elegant, rugged, and beautiful. It isn’t like when I went to Rome. Rome, being the capital of one of the greatest empires in history, breathed an aura of grandiosity. Its cathedrals were decadent. A testament to their might. Saint Petersburg’s cathedrals gave off an aura that can only be experienced. No amount of pictures or words can reproduce the atmosphere of the cathedrals. It is far more than architecture. It is, more than anything, a sense of culture. The cathedrals, like the ones in Rome, are immaculate. But nonetheless, they don’t present an aura of grandiosity. Upon entering the Kazan Cathedral in the center of Saint Petersburg, I saw a crowd of church goers.
Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
Regardless of this, it was almost completely silent. The only sound that echoed through the structure was the sound of chanting monks. They chanted for the entire time that I was there, though I never saw them with my own eyes.
Anyone that spoke only did so at a whisper, and without even being told, I, as well as my group mates, followed suit. Even as an outsider, even as an atheist, you feel the power that exists between the stone walls of the cathedral. You feel the history, the tradition, of an entire nation. You see it with your own eyes. You hear it with your own ears. You feel it in the vibrations of the air. All else in the city could be forgotten, and this experience alone would still make the trip extraordinary.

By David Obst

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