St. Petersburg--July 27, 2005--Alexander Nevsky Lavra and Necropolis, Pavlovsk Palace, Sailing from St. Petersburg
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Our morning visit took us to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and Necropolis (240-248). This consists of a monastery named after Alexander Nevsky, who defeated the Swedes in 1240; the monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1710. Peter also defeated the Swedes in 1709. Next to the monastery is a cemetery with the graves of many famous names of music and literature including Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Dostoevsky (242-248).
In the afternoon, we were off to the Pavlovsk Palace and grounds. Pavlovsk was given to Paul, son of Catherine the Great, and was the home of his widow, Maria, after the assassination of Paul. It is unusual in that it contains many of the original furnishings. This is possible because the director of this museum moved immediately at the start of World War II to store many of its treasures before the Nazis advanced. The staff of many other similar palaces (such as those visited on the previous two days) dawdled at the start of the war and, consequently lost most of their furnishings. The building itself was severely damaged (see photo 257) but was restored to its former luster (258 for comparison to 257). Out back, the site had beautiful gardens (264, 266, 277-280) and we once again heard a fine musical performance (269).
On the way back to St. Petersburg, we passed some of the newly constructed apartments (281) south of the city and then it was time to sail. The ship next to us (282) sailed first with the accompanying musical sendoff and then it was our turn as passengers let balloons loose into the sky of St. Petersburg (284-285). Soon thereafter, we passed a cooling tower (283) for a nuclear power plant of which we would see many in Russia and a very modern bridge (288). Now if was off on the lakes, rivers and canals of Russia on our way to Moscow.
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