Here is another photo of Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress as I approached.
One of the churches inside the fortress.
One of the fortress' gates.
The view from the fortress across the river.
Petrovskie Gate, commemorating Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War.
Another view of the fortress, as I left from the other side.
A footbridge over a canal leading to the iconic Church of Christ the Savior on the Blood, built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. You can see padlocks on the bridge, which are placed there by couples in love, signifying their unbreakable bond.
The striking Church of Christ the Savior on the Blood.
Another view of the church, as it sits along a canal. Just to the right of the above photo is the Russian Museum, where I spent the next several hours with their amazing collection of Russian icons.
About 4:00 (it was already getting dark and cold), I headed over to the Hermitage Museum (seen above), but the lines were several hours long (out in the cold), since there was free entrance in celebration of the Museum's 250th anniversary.
That evening, I met with some young Russians who came up to me after my talk at the conference. They took me to visit their parish, the Feodorovsky Cathedral. I was amazed at the parish's vitality and the number of young people, including a group of young men who were learning Byzantine chant. I took photos of the posters above, which show the church's history. The most disturbing part was that the Soviets turned it into a dairy factory. In the photo below, in the upper right, you can see that they even transformed a mosaic from reading "Glory to God" to "Glory to the Workers."
The parish has an impressive website with the full history of the church in English here.
Finally, one of my new Russian friends took me to visit the Church of St. Xenia, the patron saint of St. Petersburg.
It was a very full and rewarding last day in St. Petersburg. The next morning we were off to the airport.