Russia: The Church of the Saviour on Blood, the “jewel” of Saint Petersburg

16.10.05-09-San Pietroburgo, Russia (435)
The legends tells of a cold and moonless night in Saint Petersburg. That night a teller predicted to the zar Alexander the Second that he would die in one of the 7 assassination attempts to his person. She was wrong, but just barely: he died at the 8th attempt.

It was March 1st, 1881, when a big exlosion shaked the Saint Petersburg grounds, along the banks of the Ekaterininskij river. A member of a terroristic organisation set up a bomb that caused the emperor a deadly wound.
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The new zar, his son, by the name of Alexander the Third, decided to commemorate the death of his father with a sacred temple, to remind his death as a martyr. From this comes the name “on Blood”.

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The construction of this splendid building, beautiful example of the orthodox Russian art, began in 1883. It was palce on the exact spot were 2 years before Alexander the Second was murdered. It was only finished in 1907 though, under the government of the zar Nicola the Second.

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Befor the construction, Alexander the Third, announced a contest. He wanted to have more than one project to choose from and to opt for the more adapt one. If the Ekaterininskij Church is so pictoresque and original today, we have to thank the political and aesthetical ideals of the zar, who was conservative. He decided to drp alla the monern style projects and to go back to an “authentic Russian from the 18th century style”,  following the traditions of the architectural “Big Orthodox Russia”.

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The Church of the Saviour on Blood (Spas na Krovi, in russian), according on a 2004 TripAdvisor survey, is considered to be at the 8th place among the most beautiful monuments and buildings of the World.

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Completely adorned with splendid mosaics, the Church of the Saviour has been varnished both in the domes that in the iconostasis. A true artistic and jewellery piece of art.

16.10.05-09-San Pietroburgo, Russia (469)

16.10.05-09-San Pietroburgo, Russia (467)

Sadly, the church went through a dark period under the Sovietic domain: it was turned into a food storage for the Red Army (gaining the unfortunate name of “Church of the potatoes”).

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Unfortunately or, if you prefer, providentially, all the Sovietic Government plans to knock down the church were abandoned and this amazing symbol of Saint Petersburg was able to survive to today.
We could actually say that while the symbols of the Sovietic past of this country have almost entirely been destroyed and forgotten, these religious symbols are shining with new life and splendour.

AUTHOR: Francesco

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