The Church of Our Savior on Blood is definitely one of a kind for many reasons. First of all it is the only building in the European capital of Russia not built in typical European style. As magnificent as it is today, at the time of construction not all the contemporaries were happy with the design of the church fearing that it would destroy the European atmosphere of St Petersburg – which actually never happened, as today our city is unimaginable without the colorful domes seen even from Nevsky Prospekt.
Secondly, the Church of Our Savior on Blood is practically the only building in the city whose location was chosen not by the architect but by the customer. After the death of the Tsar Alexander II his son decided to create a small chapel directly on the place where the assassination took place.
However instead of the chapel it was decided to construct a church in the style of Moscow and Yaroslavl churches, for Alexander II loved Moscow. The church was to become a memorial to Alexander II and that is why even the dimensions of the church remind us of the Tsar. For example, the highest dome of the building is 81 meters to remind us of the assassination date – the 1st of March 1881, and the second highest dome is 63 meters – this is how old Alexander II was when he died.
In Soviet times the church was neglected and perceived by the regime as “a church of no artistic value.” It was used as a storage room and even as a morgue. In the 1930’s there a plan to demolish the church. Fortunately it never happened, and in 1960’s the restoration works finally started. Nowadays the church is almost completely restored.
What the Church of Our Savior on Blood is most famous for are almost 21,000 square meters of mosaics that cover the walls of the building both from the inside and from the outside. The mosaics were created in Russia, which makes them even more valuable. They will impress you with their beauty and skill of craftsmanship.
The Church of Our Savior on Blood is used now mainly as a museum, which not only shows us the breathtaking interior but also tells about the restorations of the building. It actually took longer to restore the church, than to build it. In the summer time (from May 1st to September 30th) the museum is open till 10:00 pm, so you can also include it in your evening program if you wish.
Sometimes the Church is used for religious services, and now and then in the evenings they also organize concerts of classical and spiritual music, which can also become a once in a lifetime experience enjoying gorgeous music by Russian composers in the most Russian building in St Petersburg (please contact us for further information).
The Church of Our Savior on Blood might remind you of St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow or of the Disney castle, and this special icon of St Petersburg is absolutely a must-see for all tourists coming to St Petersburg.