St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral (St. Nicholas Cathedral of the Epiphany)
A trio of golden crosses tops this blue-and-white Baroque Orthodox cathedral in Saint Petersburg. It actually contains two churches: Saint Nicholas Church on the ground floor, with Epiphany Church above. It’s also an important site for the Russian navy, and there are memorials here dedicated to the crews of sunken Soviet submarines.
With its distinctive Russian Baroque architectural style, this landmark cathedral is an included stop on many tours of the city, which range from short excursions to multiple-day itineraries. These tours generally combine the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral with other top sites, such as the Hermitage Museum, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospekt, and Palace Square. Since the cathedral is located on one of St. Petersburg’s many canals, it’s also possible to see the exterior when exploring the city on a kayak tour.
Things to know before you go
- This is a great destination for Soviet history buffs. Look for the memorial to the nuclear Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets.
- Visitors are asked to wear long pants or skirts and cover their shoulders.
- Female visitors are asked to cover their heads inside the cathedral.
How to get there
The cathedral is located at Nikolskaya Square, a short distance from Mariinsky Theatre. Just across the canal is the Nikolskaya transit stop, with service from the #3 tram and a handful of buses (numbers 49, 50, 181) and share taxis (numbers K-7, K-62, K-195, and K-212). There is also a bus stop behind the cathedral, on Prospekt Rimskogo-Korsakova, with service from bus numbers 1, 2, 27, and 60.
When to get there
Mass is held in the morning and the evening. While the cathedral is still open to visitors at this time, a small area at the front of the sanctuary is roped off for worshippers.
Other Churches to Visit in Saint Petersburg
Multi-colored onion domes top the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the city’s most famous religious landmark. There are far more to see, however, such as the pale-yellow Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a basilica that reopened following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In striking pink-and-white stripes is the small Chesme Church, built in the 18th century to mark a Russian victory over Ottoman Turks.
- Mariinsky Theatre
- Central Naval Museum
- Russian Vodka Museum (Muzey Russkogo Natsional'nogo Napitka)
- The Republic of Cats Museum and Café
- Nikolaevsky Palace
- Senate Square (Senatskaya Ploshchad)
- St. Isaac’s Cathedral (Isaakievskiy Sobor)
- Bronze Horseman
- Stroganov Palace (Stroganovsky Dvorets)
- Admiralty Building
- St. Petersburg Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad)
- C-189 Submarine Museum
- The General Staff Building
- The Menshikov Palace
- Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan (Kazansky Sobor)