Baltic Cruise - Day 5, St. Petersburg

Egyptian Sphinx on River Neva

For some, this was one of the favorite days of the cruise, probably because we had our own private tour guide who spoke English, and van with a driver who knew where we were going. They even took us to clean restrooms that didn't require coins when we asked, in gift shops with complimentary hot tea, coffee, cookies, and vodka (we were in Russia, after all!) The day started out a bit rainy, but the Lord was kind and brought the sun out before our evening boat tour.

Church of the Spilt Blood
The church is built on the site of where Tsar Alexander II was hit by grenades, which mortally wounded him.

Bronze Horseman, Peter the Great
Throne Room in Hermitage Museum
Mosaic Floor at Hermitage Museum
Intricate Door in Hermitage Museum
For our family, the Hermitage was not the highlight of our tour in St. Petersburg (too many violations of the 2nd Commandment and too much nudity), not to mention just too much materialism. We wish we had asked to tour the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineering and Communications Troops, which is a "must see" for military history buffs (I think there a few in our family!) But we went to the Siege Museum instead, which was very interesting. It is to remember the 900-day siege by the Nazis during World War II. We had a guided tour by a woman who was very enthusiastic about the exhibits, but our English speaking guide was not quite as enthusiastic, although she appreciated that the museum depicted how bad it really was.
Diary of a young girl during the siege of Leningrad
Doorway to altar in Peter and Paul Cathedral
We were probably must struck by the opulence in St. Petersburg, which is evident in this tiny portion of the altar in this cathedral, which is the burying place of all Russian Emperors and Empreses from Peter the Great to Alexander III. It is situated in the middle of the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is a city within a city on a small island the Nev River to protect from a possible attach by the Swedish army and navy.
One of the many bridges
Palace Facades on Water
When Peter the Great built St. Petersburg, he wanted to show all of Europe that Russia was powerful, and he spared no expense. There are no records of how many peasants died building the extravagant palaces for the government officials, but it was more than a few thousand. Knowing that most of the Russians lived in extreme poverty under communism, seeing the wealth of the government was astounding. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule,  the people mourn." Proverbs 29:2 KJV


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