Visit the tombs of influential historical figures in this fittingly grand cathedral and learn more about their lives and deaths.
The Cathedral of the Archangel contains 46 tombs of Russian leaders who ruled between the 14th and 18th centuries. Come here to explore the tombs and appreciate its mesmerizing religious artwork.
This Russian Orthodox religious structure was named after the Archangel Michael, the protector of Muscovy’s leader. The building took shape in the early 1500s under the watchful eyes of Ivan the Great. From then on, the wealthy and powerful of Russia were buried here until Peter the Great decreed St. Petersburg the country’s new capital city.
Alevisio Novi, an Italian architect, was responsible for the Cathedral of the Archangel we see today, melding traditional Russian designs with Italian influences, resulting in a beautiful Byzantine-style building. Look for distinctive Italian elements, such as scalloped designs on the exterior and note how the staples of Russian church design, namely its domes and pillars, are also evident.
Venture inside the cathedral for a dazzling sensory experience. In contrast with the white exterior, deep dark colors dominate inside. Marvel at the frescoes plastering the wall, which depict various religious scenes, such as the Last Judgment and, appropriately, Archangel Michael confronting the devil.
Stop at the grave of Russia’s first tsar, Ivan the Terrible. He is buried next to a son whom he murdered and another son who became leader after his father’s death. Look for the Farewell to the Family painting nearby, a 16th-century fresco that was uncovered in the 1950s during restoration. This painting depicts a nobleman passing away with his family at his side.
Walk along the south wall to see portrayals of famous Russian historical figures, including prince and national hero Alexander Nevsky and Prince Daniel, his son, a 13th-century ruler.
Reach the Cathedral of the Archangel by taking the metro to Alexandrovsky Sad station. The church is located in the Cathedral Square complex, which has many religious buildings. The cathedral has an entrance fee and is open every day except Thursdays.