Monday, March 25, 2013

From Church to Swimming Hall and back again

Do you think that's cazy? Well it is, but also it isn't. During the Chrutshev era churches were changed to swimming halls (1963). In the post Stalin era sports were pushed and churches had large halls that one could use to build a swimming hall. I'll show you one in St. Petersburg that changed back into church again.

The Lutheran Church off Nevsky Prospekt

On Nevsky Prospekt you stumble upon the Lutheran church, which has a statue of Goethe in front. The church had connections to Germany and there had been ceremonies in German, because the church served the Germans in St. Petersburg. Nowadays the church again has closer ties with Germany as you can see in the picture with our former president.

200 years of the German Evangelical-Lutheran Community St. Petri (St. Peter)

The church as a swimming hall

First Lady Mrs. Wulff, President Wulff and the Pastor

During the Stalin era the congregation has been deported to Siberia, which has been depicted in frescoes in the krypt of the church.

Deported into the Siberian forests

Down there you can also have look at the old basin. The church main hall now rests on a construction, which has been driven through the basin.

Construction through the basin under the church's main hall

You can also look at the old superintendents and construction plans of the church, which has been founded at the wish of Empress Katharina the Great.

Pictures of the superintendents on the wall

There's an exhibition on the second floor. You oversee the assembly hall, the old seats of the swimming hall, and exhibits. If the organist plays, just sit down, relax, and listen to fugues by Bach, Telemann, and others or the songs that would be sung next Sunday. Such a pity that the organ is new, but the old one, thought to be the largest an most beautiful of Russia, had been destroyed. The sound of the new one is very good, however.

Interior of the main hall with seats of the swimming hall

From the exhibition

Interior with organ

The Lutheran Church is well worth a visit, especially as it is central, but off the beaten track, so off the beaten track that even Lonely Planet doesn't mention the church.

Related links for this travel:

Odessa's Opera  

Travel and Toilets  

Red Square (Красная Площадь)  

Cafe Pushkin and Coffee Mania  

The Monastery of Sergiev Posad  

Black Sea and Arkadia Beach  

The Wooden Church of Izhma  

On Renting a Car in Arkhangelsk  

Outskirts of Kiev 
Statues of old Old Comrades or Leaders  

New Logic or No Interest in Business  

The Burnt Muffin  

Love locks from the Black to the White Sea  

Antoniyevo-Siysky Monastery (Антониево-Сийский монастырь)  

On changing Moldovan Lei in Odessa  

The Very Basic Guide to Russian  

Crime and Punishment (St. Petersburg)  

Hram Ilias – the hidden silence near the Red Place in Moscow  

Kishinev – the prologue of this year’s travels (2012)   

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