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The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of Saint Petersburg

The Church of the Resurrection of Christ, better known as the Savior on Spilled Blood, is a significant monument of Russian architecture of the late XIX – early XX centuries. The cathedral was built in 1883-1907 on the very place where on March 1 (13), 1881 Tsar Liberator Alexander II was mortally wounded by the bomb of the People's Liberator I. Grinevitsky. Erected on the orders of Alexander III, the cathedral was called upon to serve as a monument to the tragically perished emperor. This destiny determined the status of the temple as a special, memorial, in which mass services were never held.

On March 2, 1881, the day after the tragic death of Alexander II, the City Duma decided to turn to the new Emperor Alexander III for permission to “build a chapel or a monument” to the murdered Tsar. Within a month and a half, a temporary wooden chapel was built at the scene of the attack, designed by L. Benoit. However, Alexander III expressed a desire that the monument to his father was not a chapel, but a church. During the contest, he personally considered all the projects - he wanted the church to be built in the style of Moscow and Yaroslavl churches of the XVII century. Only at the third stage did the emperor approve the project created by A. Parland and Archimandrite of the Trinity-Sergius Desert by Father Ignatius (in the world of Malyshev), but subject to subsequent revision. Finally, the project was approved only in 1887. The chapel after the laying of the cathedral was dismantled.

At the ceremony of laying the cathedral, held on October 18, 1883, the son of the murdered king himself laid the first stone in its foundation. Construction management Alexander III entrusted his brother - Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, President of the Academy of Arts.

The temple was built 24 years old and was consecrated only on the feast of the Transfiguration on August 19, 1907, already under Nicholas II, the grandson of Alexander II. Palace of Vladimir Alexandrovich was built twice as fast. The commission, which was responsible for the construction of the cathedral, discovered a large embezzlement of public funds, in which the conference secretary of the Academy of Arts P.Iseev was found guilty. Despite the intercession of his superior, the Grand Duke, Iseev was exiled to Siberia, where, according to rumors, he lived very richly.

During the construction of the cathedral was used a new, original waterproofing system. Instead of the usual pile driving under the foundation, Parland installed a powerful concrete base beneath the entire area of the building. This decision was an innovation in the urban planning practice of the time and was first used in the construction of buildings in St. Petersburg. For the construction of the bell tower on the waterfront built an 8-meter ledge.

The cathedral was a very modern structure. He was lit by 1,689 electric lamps, it was built a complex system of steam heating.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ was not a parish church and was not intended for regular mass visits. Services were conducted in it in memory of the murdered Tsar Alexander II and sermons were read. Like St. Isaac’s Cathedral, it was maintained by the state.

The magnificent decoration of the temple was very fragile. So, the marble plates with which they inlaid the mosaic floor were only 5 millimeters thick, and before the October Revolution, it was possible to walk here only on specially made carpets. When access to the temple was opened to all comers, the unique floor was almost completely destroyed.

In 1923, after the closure of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Savior on Spilled Blood became a cathedral, but in 1930 it was also closed. Soon it was decided to disassemble the building in parts, then it was decided to demolish. There is information that in the summer of 1941 explosives were laid in the building. Destruction prevented the beginning of the war. In the cathedral staged a morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness..

After the war, the building served as a warehouse for the scenery of the Maly Opera Theater. The cathedral was intended to be demolished several times, but by some miracle these plans were not realized. As a result, the director of the State Museum "St. Isaac's Cathedral" G. Butikov was able to prove that the monument has great historical and artistic value.

In 1971, the Savior on Spilled Blood was transferred to the Museum of St. Isaac's Cathedral as a branch. It took many years of restoration work before the temple was once again accessible to visitors.

The opening of the museum-monument "Savior on Blood" was held on August 19, 1997, on the 90th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral.


There was a lot of talk about the fact that the temple was built on the people's money collected throughout the Russian Empire. In fact, donations were actually made, but they amounted to a relatively small part of the funds spent on construction (580 thousand rubles from more than 5 million). The state has allocated an estimated 3 million 600 thousand rubles in silver, but the real cost of construction was another million rubles more. Missing money contributed by the royal family.

The architect Parland developed the project of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ together with the archimandrite of the Trinity-Sergius Desert, Ignatius. It was said that that after the murder of Emperor Alexander II to Father Ignatius, the Mother of God herself appeared in a dream, which showed him the foundations of the future church.

In the Savior on Blood, there is supposedly an icon on which all important dates in the history of Russia are presented in encrypted form. Among them, 1917 (the October Revolution), 1941 (the beginning of the Great Patriotic War), 1953 (the death of Stalin) and a number of other dates. According to legend, one of the dates on the icon refers to the future, but no one has yet managed to look at the numbers.

Another legend was born at the end of the Soviet era. Restoration of the temple, which began in 1970, stretched endlessly, and it seemed that the forests would never be removed. Then they began to say that while the cathedral is surrounded by restoration forests, the Soviet power in the country will be unbreakable. (Apparently, this rumor was the echo of an older legend that the House of Romanovs would not fall while the forests around Isaac were standing). It must be said that the forests were removed in 1991, right before the famous August events in Moscow, after which the Soviet power in Russia soon came to an end.

The nine-domed cathedral can accommodate 1600 people. Its highest dome rises 81 meters high. This figure corresponds to the year when Alexander II was killed. The second dome is 63 meters high. At the basement of the temple, 20 slabs of dark red granite are installed, where the main reforms perpetuated in the reign of Alexander II are immortalized in gold letters (from February 19, 1855 to March 1, 1881).

The cathedral is striking in the richness of decorative ornaments. Chief among them is the unique mosaic decoration, the total area of which is 7065 square meters. This collection of mosaics is no longer in any Orthodox church, and it is one of the largest in Europe. Mosaic images of the emblems of Russian cities, provinces and counties, located on three sides of the bell tower, represent the most striking detail in the decoration of the facade of the cathedral.

In the internal decoration of the mosaic play a leading role, almost completely covering the walls, pylons and vaults. They are made according to the originals of the artists V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V.Nesterov, A.P. Ryabushkin, N.N.Kharlamov, V.V.Belyaev, etc. In the mosaic technique, even the icons “The Mother of God with the Child” and “Savior” are created in the iconostasis of the temple. Italian marble, Ural and Siberian gems, colored tiles, etc. are also used in the decorative decoration of the cathedral outside and inside. The five heads of the cathedral are covered with jewelry enamel covering 100 square meters.

In the space of the temple, the place where the attempt on Alexander II occurred was highlighted. A special hipped canopy was built above it, which was supported by jasper columns and inlaid with Siberian gems and topazes. As relics, a fragment of the embankment fence, pavement slabs, part of the cobblestone pavement, where the mortally wounded Alexander II fell, were preserved.

Of interest is the forged semicircular fence separating the Savior on Blood from the Mikhailovsky Garden. It was created by the project Parland in the years 1903-1907. The Lattice drawing - a large floral ornament - bears the features of early modern.

Events and holidays
Ceremonial events in the Savior on Blood Museum are usually timed to the anniversary of the opening of the cathedral on August 19, 1907, and also to the celebration of the International Museum Day on May 18.

The best points of view and photo / video
A wonderful view opens from the other side of the canal, as well as from the bridge leading to Konyushennaya Square.

What to bring from the Savior on Blood
In the cathedral there is a kiosk selling many souvenirs, as well as jewelry. You can buy books about the cathedral in several languages, books about the history and artistic values of the cathedral, great art albums, calendars, postcards. There are multimedia discs on sale, including the album “Savior on Blood”. The kiosk is open from 10.00 to 22.00 in the summer and from 11.00 to 19.00 in the winter.

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