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The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is
also variously called the Church on Spilt Blood and the
Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, its official name.
This Church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II
was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory.
Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a
memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly
and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in
1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the
support of many private donors.
The Church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal.
The embankment at that point runs along either side of a
canal. On March 13, 1881, as Tsar Alexander's carriage
passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an
anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt,
got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the
presumed culprit. Another conspirator took the chance to
explode another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding
the tsar. The tsar, bleeding heavily, was taken back to the
Winter Palace where he died a few hours later.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics—according
to its restorers, more than any other church in the world.
This record may be surpassed by the Cathedral Basilica of St.
Louis, which houses 7700 square meters of mosaics. The
interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian
artists of the day—including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail
Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief
architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy
Sobor in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral (sobor) in the
city and was the tallest Eastern Orthodox church upon its
completion (subsequently surpassed only by the Cathedral of
Christ the Saviour). It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of
Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great who had been
born on the feast day of that saint.
The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar
Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure. A
specially appointed commission examined several designs,
including that of the French-born architect Auguste de
Montferrand (1786–1858), who had studied in the atelier of
Napoleon's designer, Charles Percier. Monferrand's design
was criticised by some members of the commission for the dry
and allegedly boring rhythm of its four identical pedimented
octastyle porticos. It was also suggested that despite
gigantic dimensions, the edifice would look squat and not
very impressive. The emperor, who favoured the ponderous
Empire style of architecture, had to step in and solve the
dispute in Monferrand's favour.
The cathedral took 40 years to construct, under
Montferrand's direction, from 1818 to 1858.
The severe neoclassical exterior expresses a traditional
Russian-Byzantine formula: a Greek-cross groundplan with a
large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It is similar
to Andrea Palladio's Villa La Rotonda, with a full dome on a
high drum substituted for the Villa's low central saucer
dome. The design of the cathedral in general and the dome in
particular later influenced the design of the United States
Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the Cathedral in Helsinki.
The exterior, which barely hints at the riotously rich
interior, is faced with gray and pink stone, and features a
total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals,
each hewn and erected as a single block: 48 at ground level,
24 on the rotunda of the uppermost dome, 8 on each of four
side domes, and 2 framing each of four windows. The rotunda
is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues
gaze down from the roof, and another 24 from the top of the
The cathedral's bronze doors are covered in reliefs,
patterned after the celebrated doors of the Battistero di
San Giovanni (Florence) in Florence, designed by Lorenzo
Ghiberti. Suspended underneath the peak of the dome is a
sculpted dove representing the Holy Spirit. Internal
features such as columns, pilasters, floor, and statue of
Montferrand are composed of multicolored granites and
marbles gathered from all parts of Russia. The iconostasis
is framed by eight columns of semiprecious stone: six of
malachite and two smaller ones of lazurite. The four
pediments are also richly sculpted.
Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian
Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul
Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the first and
oldest landmark in Saint-Petersburg,
built between 1712 and 1733 on Zayachy Island along the Neva
River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally
built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico
Trezzini. The cathedral's bell tower is the world's tallest
Orthodox bell tower.
The current building, the first stone church in Saint-Petersburg,
was designed by Trezzini and built between 1712 and 1733.
Its golden spire reaches a height of 404 feet and features
at its top an angel holding a cross. This angel is one of
the most important symbols of St. Petersburg.
The cathedral's architecture also features a unique
iconostasis (the screen which separates the nave of the
church from the sanctuary). In the Eastern Orthodox Church
the iconostasis is normally a flat wall or screen with three
doors through it, the central Holy Doors used only for very
solemn entrances, and the two side doors, by which the
clergy and others enter and leave the sanctuary. However, at
St. Peter and Paul, the iconostasis rises to form a sort of
tower over the sanctuary.
The cathedral houses the remains of almost all the Russian
Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II
and his family who were finally laid to rest in July 1998.
Also was Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for 34 years.
Kazan Cathedral or Kazanskiy Kafedralniy Sobor, also known
as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, is a cathedral temple
of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Nevsky Prospekt in
Saint-Petersburg. It is dedicated
to Our Lady of Kazan, probably the most venerated icon in
The construction was started in 1801 and continued for ten
years. Upon its completion the new temple replaced the
Church of Nativity of the Theotokos which was disassembled
when the Kazan Cathedral was baptized.
It was modelled by Andrey Voronikhin after St. Peter's
Basilica in Rome. Some art historians assert that Emperor
Paul intended to build a similar church on the other side of
the Nevsky that would mirror the Kazan Cathedral but his
plans failed to materialize. Although the Russian Orthodox
Church strongly disapproved of the plans to create a replica
of the Catholic basilica in Russia's then capital, several
courtiers supported Voronikhin's Empire Style design.
After Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, and the
commander-in-chief Mikhail Kutuzov asked Our Lady of Kazan
for help, the church's purpose was to be altered. The
Patriotic War over, the cathedral was perceived primarily as
a memorial to the Russian victory against Napoleon.
In 1876, the first political demonstration in Russia took
place in front of the church. After the Russian Revolution
of 1917, the cathedral was closed. In 1932, it was reopened
as the pro-Marxist "Museum of the History of Religion and
Atheism". Services were resumed in
Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Alexander Nevsky Lavra or Alexander
Nevsky Monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 at
the eastern end of the Nevsky Prospekt in Saint-Petersburg
to house the relics of Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of the
newly-founded Russian capital. In 1797, it was raised to the
rank of lavra, previously bestowed only upon Kiev Monastery
of the Caves and the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius.
The monastery premises contain two baroque churches,
designed by father and son Trezzini and built in 1717–22 and
1742–50, respectively; a majestic Neoclassical cathedral,
built in 1778–90 to a design by Ivan Starov and consecrated
to the Holy Trinity; and numerous structures of lesser
importance. It also contains the Lazarev and Tikhvin
Cemeteries, where ornate tombs of Leonhard Euler, Mikhail
Lomonosov, Alexander Suvorov, Nikolay Karamzin, Modest
Mussorgsky, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky,
Karl Ivanovic Rossi, Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze, a
Georgian aristocrat, Sergei Witte and other famous Russians
The Chesme Church is a small Russian
Orthodox church completed by architect Yury Velten in 1780
at the direction of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
It was erected adjacent to the Chesme Palace between Saint-Petersburg
and Tsarskoye Selo to commemorate Russia's 1770 victory over
Turkish forces in Chesme Bay during the Russo-Turkish War of
1768-1774. The church is a rare example of very early Gothic
Revival influence in Russian church architecture.
Catherine's lover Alexander Lanskoy had a replica church
built in his manor near Staritsa.
St. Sampson Cathedral
St. Sampson Cathedral
is one of Saint-Petersburg's
oldest surviving churches. This charming azure and white
baroque cathedral with its striking belltower is both an
active church and a museum run by St. Isaac's Cathedral,
with a fully restored and richly decorated interior
containing several historic works of religious art.
The Cathedral's history dates back to 1709, when Peter the
Great ordered the construction of a wooden church on this
site to honour Russia's decisive victory over the Swedes at
the Battle of Poltava, which fell on the feast day of St.
Sampson - 27 June. One of the city's first cemeteries was
established next to the church, and became the final resting
place for some of St. Petersburg's most prominent foreign
citizens, including the sculptor Carlo Rastrelli, the
architect Domenico Trezinni, and Peter's private physician,
The stone cathedral and belltower replaced the wooden church
in 1740. Although there are no records of the name of the
cathedral's architect, it is presumed to be the work of
Domenico Trezinni. Initially built with only one central
dome, the cathedral was altered in 1761 with the addition of
four smaller cupolas in traditional Russian style.
The dazzling cupolas of Smolny Cathedral, one of the most
beautiful churches in St. Petersburg, rise majestically from
its waterside location on the banks of the Neva River.
Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect
Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who came to Russia as a boy with his
father, who was invited to the country by Peter the Great
and who constructed the Winter Palace and the palace at
Tsarskoe Selo. Smolny Cathedral was one of Rastrelli Jr.'s
last projects, and one that the great architect left
The cathedral was part of a complex planned by the Empress
Elizabeth to include a nunnery and a new school for girls -
the first and most famous girls' state school in the Russian
Empire. Construction began on October 30, 1748, and by 1761
construction of the cathedral was complete. However, in
December of that year, Elizabeth died, and work on the
monastery came to a halt. Rastrelli was relieved of his
duties at Smolny by Catherine the Great, and left Russia in