St. Isaac's Square
St Isaac's Square is considered one of the most famous and magnificent areas in the historical city center of St. Petersburg. The number of historical and architectural monuments of Saint Isaac's Square competes only with that of the Palace Square.
In the center of the square stands the famous St. Isaac's Cathedral, which became the symbol of the city. The construction of the monumental Cathedral took a very long time, even by the standards of the 19th century, and was completed in 1858. The architect of the Cathedral, A. Montferrand, has forever inscribed his name in the history of the city as a brilliant architect of the time. St. Isaac’s accommodates more than 12 000 people at a time with a total area of about 10 000 square meters.
Opposite the cathedral at the far end of St. Isaac’s square, behind the Blue Bridge across the Moika, stands the Mariinsky Palace, built in 1829-1844 by the architect A. Stackenschneider for the daughter of tsar Nicholas I, Maria – the tsar presented this palace to her as a wedding gift. Upon Marie death, her children sold the palace back to the Crown, and for some after that it housed the Council of the Empire.
The Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace on the west side of the square was designed by Auguste de Montferrand, the same architect who built the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. The main façade on the house looking out onto the Admiralty is adorned with a fine portico of eight Corinthian columns mounted on an arcade protruding far enough for coaches to ride up to the front door along the wide ramp. On granite pedestals white marble lions guard the central archway like sentinels (sculptor Paolo Triscorni, 1810).
One of the last buildings to be erected on the square was the Neo-Classical German Embassy (1911-12), built to the design of the architect Peter Behrens. The monumental frontispiece featured Doric columns of red granite. The roof was originally embellished by a sculptural group of two Teutonic warriors holding shields and leading their mighty steeds (the original idea is usually attributed to Wilhelm II).