In the very heart of St Petersburg, at 14 Pochtamtskaya Street, one finds a unique
museum, the State Museum of the History of Religion (SMHR), sitting right next
to the world-famous architectural masterpieces – the Admiralty and St. Isaac’s
Cathedral. Today, it is the only museum in Russia – and one of the few in the
world – that is devoted solely to the universal phenomenon of religion and the
role it plays in human culture. The museum was founded in 1932 by Vladimir Bogoraz-
Tan, an outstanding Russian citizen and director of academic institutions.
He was a scholar of linguistics, ethnography, anthropology, and history of religion,
as well as a poet, author, journalist, teacher, and full member of the Academy of
Sciences of the USSR. For 85 years, the museum has been acting as a research
centre, studying religions of the past and present, in addition to playing a significant
role in the culture of the city of St Petersburg.