MUSEUMS. Smolny Cathedral and the Smolny Institute
- 137 Room, 3 Proletarskoy Diktatury Square (Ploschad)
- Metro - Chernyshevskaya
- Open Monday through Friday, from 11.00 am to 04.00 pm for tours only.
The cathedral at Smolny is one of the most fabulous of all Rastrelli's building and the Smolny Institute next door was the hub of the October Revolution.
The cathedral is the centrepiece of a convent mostly built, to Rastrelli's designs, in 1748-57. His inspiration was to combine Baroque details with the forests of towers and onion domes typical of an old Russian monastery. There's special genius in the proportions of the cathedral, to which the convent buildings are a perfect foil. Today the convent houses the city administration's offices, the cathedral is a concert hall open only for performances.
The Smolny Institute was built by Quarenghi in 1806-08 as a school for aristocratic girls. Later in 1917 the Petrograd Soviet was set up here. In its Hall of Acts (Aktovy zal) on 25 October, the All-Russian Congress of Soviets conferred power on a Bolshevik government led by Lenin, which ran the country from here until March 1918.
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