It is the mandate and purpose of religion to bring people together, to give men and women of different beliefs and ideas some common ground to come together and share their aspirations, desires and troubles. The path of faith is a path of satisfaction and peaceful co-existence. Religion not only brings peace in a society but allows a man to stay at peace with himself.
The Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg is a monument of religious, social and historic importance whose relevance has only grown with the passing years. It has remained a source of spiritual inspiration for millions of followers from around the world cutting across religions and beliefs.
St. Petersburg was our next stop in Russia after Moscow. The city is quite different from Moscow is many respects. It is a city where life is much more than the simplicities of self centred existence. The city blooms with faith and love. It is home to many important churches and cathedrals and is a center of utmost religious importance in Europe. The believers of Christian Orthodoxy attach special significance to the city of St. Petersburg in Russia.
Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg | Image Resource : thousandwonders.net
The Kazan Cathedral is among the biggest churches in all of Russia. The large dome and the beautiful interiors were designed by the best artisans of the day and time. The sculptures and paintings are renowned for their detail and unique art forms. They are not inspired from other orthodox churches in Russia and are ironically closer to Catholic traditions. This novel feature of the cathedral has interested art lovers and historians over the years into the monument.
The Lady of Kazan was worshipped and invoked by all of the great generals of Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. The Kazan Cathedral is therefore a part of Russian nationalist sentiment.
Inside View of Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg | Image Resource : asergeev.com
The visit to the cathedral was a spiritual experience for me and my family. It was a moment away from the self centric routines of life and the race for materialistic luxuries. As a businessman I am often overpowered by the will to maximize my gains but there are moments like these when a person realizes the true meaning of life.
Relentless travelling across the length and breadth of South Africa had not tired us one bit but the thought that the trip was actually ending bought such remorse that we had heavy hearts while visiting the last sightseeing attraction while in South Africa- the Voortrekker Monument Pretoria South Africa. Built in memory of the Voortrekkers who departed from the Cape Colony after the demarcated year 1854, the Voortrekker was commissioned by the then President Paul Kruger and designed by Gerard Moerdijk. In the year 2011, the monument has been awarded the status of a National Heritage Site by the prestigious African Heritage Resource Agency.
Voortrekker Monument Pretoria South Africa | Image Resource : marquetteeducator.wordpress.com
On display are the timeless and priceless pieces such as the historical Frieze hailed as the biggest in the world. The other relief works or the panels depicted the rest of the activity of the Voortrekkers of daily lives, their work styles, the historical evidences of their religious practices and the ever important chapter of the history- the Sand River Convention of 1852. It is said that on 16th of December every year, the first ray of sun at 12 falls onto the cenotaph- the focal point of the exhibits which reflects the sentiment- ‘We for Thee, South Africa’. This for the people is the blessings of the God. There are symbolic flags, wall tapestries and other artifacts belonging to the Great Trek. We also viewed the ‘lantern’ in the northern section which is supposedly has remained illuminated since the year 1938.
Other noteworthy sculptures in the Voortrekker Monument Pretoria South Africa are the Voortrekker woman and children by Anton van Wouw, the Statue of Piet Retief among so many others historically significant articles which are for the visual delight of the tourists. It has been overwhelming, this day and all the others in the South African continent which has so much to offer to the tourists that any number of days spent in this beautiful majestic land would seem less. As we wound our trip, the mutual feeling was of fulfillment and a greater thirst to experience so much more of the place. Given an opportunity, I would visit the place once again and possibly will include none of the sightseeing but make room for simply lazing around to enjoy the fantastic weather. If only and to that, Amen!