Smolny Convent in St Petersburg

Smolny Convent in St Petersburg Censorship Russian Studies Philosophy

Smolny Convent, located near the Neva River in St. Petersburg, began as a home for Peter the Great's daughter Elizabeth. 

Originally denied succession to the throne, the future Empress needed a place to live.

When she was offered the throne, after a coup d'etat overthrew Tsar Ivan VI, Elizabeth decided against living a monastic life.  She became Empress but continued her patronage of Smolny Convent.

The Smolny Cathedral is the centerpiece of the Convent and its grounds, but the way of life there was forced to change after Vladimir Lenin came to power. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, which was led by Lenin, the Cathedral was no longer a church. 

Today it is a major tourist attraction, but it is also used for concerts.  The other buildings house offices for government employees and some of the faculties of Saint Petersburg State University.

What does "Smolny" mean? 

During the early days of the city, when shipbuilding was a major occupation, pitch (known as "smola" in Russian) was needed for building and maintaing the vessels.  The section of Saint Petersburg, where the pitch was processed, was known as "smolny" (or, the "place of pitch").

Click on the image for a wonderful view. 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 28, 2016

Media Credits

Image of Smolny Convent, including the central Cathedral, by Alexxx1979 and online via Wikimedia Commons.




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"Smolny Convent in St Petersburg" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 29, 2020.
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