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Museum or church? St. Isaac's becomes bone of contention in Russia

The governor of St. Petersburg announced last month that the city would return the iconic cathedral – which has served as a museum since the Soviet years – to the Russian Orthodox Church. Locals are not happy with the decision.

Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

It cost twice the price of Alaska, took more than 40 years to build during the 19th century, and is the fourth largest church in the world. The immense, golden-domed St. Isaac's Cathedral dominates the skyline of historic St. Petersburg, occupies a special place in the hearts of its citizens, and is a main tourist attraction. It's been a state museum for 80-plus years, is a UNESCO heritage site, and receives 4 million paying visitors per year.

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