The Smolny Cathedral was built in 1748-1769. Its name comes from the Russian word “smola” (tar): it was here that tar was made for the shipyards in the time of Peter the Great. The church, which is a part of the New Convent of the Resurrection of the Virgin, was commissioned by Empress Elizabeth in 1748 after she decided to take the veil. It was to become Rastrelli’s greatest masterpiece. His inspiration was to combine Baroque details with towers and domes typical of an old Russian monastery. The building was finished by Vasily Stasov in 1835. The most ambitious part of Rastrelli’s design, a 140-metre-high tiered belfry over the main entrance, was shelved due to lack of funding, but also to the fact that, as the highest structure in the city, it would have caused offence in certain quarters.
Its five domes can be seen in fine weather from Vasilievsky Island.
Events: concerts, exhibitions.
The Concert Hall: up to 900 persons.
The Smolny Cathedral is not an active church. It has perfect acoustics and is used for musical concerts.