Visit to the Catholic Church of St. Catherine. The Catholic community was one of the biggest in St. Petersburg, made up of many different nationalities, including French, Italian, and Polish, and in 1738 was gifted a site by the Russian empress Anna Ioannovna. In 1739 the architect Trezzini prepared a Baroque style project that was never finally completed. In 1761, Frenchman Vallin de la Mothe prepared a new project, preserving Trezzini’s core idea: in order to solve the visual problem presented by church being situated between two taller buildings, it would be connected to them by two elegant arches. Accordingly, the church façade was built as a triumphal arch with a sculptural group and two belfries at the top. Inside, the organ was famous for its acoustics, and in 1897 a new mural was created by G.D. Grimm and new stained-glass windows were installed by masters from Riga. The last Polish king, Stanislav Avgust Ponyatovsky was buried here, while today the area in the front of the building is often called “Saint Petersburg’s Montmartre” thanks to the modern painters who display and sell their work there.
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