A simple Friday afternoon turned out to be one of my most favorite days when a friend and I had decided to seek out Datsan Gunzechoinei, or Russia’s most northern Buddhist temple. In 1909 a representative of the Dalai Lama was granted permission to build a Buddhist temple in Saint Petersburg and it was then built from 1909-1915 from one block of granite. Today, not only is it a temple, but it is also an educational institution.
In order to get there you have to take the purple line up to Staraya Derevnya. From there it’s about a 10 minute walk to see what seems like an out of place building amidst other people and apartments. Walking into its courtyard we could see Tibetan prayer flags hanging all around us. Additionally, we saw how grand and beautiful the outside of the temple was. The inside was just as gorgeous, and although they don’t allow any photographs, images of beautiful mosaics, colors, and shrines stay imprinted in my mind. It was just one room and we finished in just a half hour. However, it was worth the 35 minute metro ride to see it.
As we were leaving we saw what looked to be another park on the other side of the road, and because we finished so soon we decided to check it out. Immediately we were greeted with the smell of blini, from a little waterside shop. With blini in our stomachs we were elated to wander through the park to see what other places we could find. The park was huge! With row boat rentals, beach volleyball, a petting zoo, rope climbing, and roller skate rentals! We had stumbled across ЦПКиО Park, or TsPKiO Park. I highly recommend taking a weekend to go and wander through. I was even lucky enough to come the week after for Oда Еда festival, which was a huge food festival in Saint Petersburg. I would never have known to come to the food festival if we hadn’t decided to wander off. If I can give any advice it would be to get away from Nevsky Prospekt, as alluring as it is, and to explore other parts of Saint Petersburg with a friend. You never know what treasures you can find!
Posted by Zahabya Mama / 09.30.2015