Thursday's Child: Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Thursday, December 13, 2012

St. Petersburg's Church on Spilled Blood is one of the most stunning places of worship I've ever seen.  It also has one of the most dramatic histories; there aren't many buildings that have survived near-destruction as many times as this one.   

Even its beginnings were violent.  The Church on Spilled Blood, also known as Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.  And like so many great buildings in Russia, it was badly damaged in the twentieth century.  In the first world war, it was looted.  In the second world war it was used as a temporary morgue during the German Siege of Leningrad.  It was also used as a warehouse for vegetables, which explains its nickname "Saviour on Potatoes".

The exterior was built to resemble Moscow’s St. Basil's Cathedral, and it is striking.  But it’s the interior that really dazzles, as it is covered with over 75,000 square feet of mosaics.  Numerous biblical stories are played out on pillars, arches, walls and ceilings. 

Restoration work began in 1970 and finished 27 years later, although the church was never reconsecrated.  It is designated as a Museum of Mosaics.  But given its tumultuous history and breathtaking visuals, it could only be known by a moniker as dramatic as Spilled Blood.



28 comments:

Bonnie said...

Beth, How amazing this building could be reconstructed. It is beautiful both the interior and exterior. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in person.

Claudia said...

I have spent two years researching Russia for a play - the church had nothing to do with it but I came across it and was thrilled by it. And here you are with such evocative photos and and some history. The fact of it - I am wistful - but happy.

Belinda said...

What a name. What a stunning building - I can imagine what it must be like to stand there.

Valerie said...

Gorgeous. It must have felt amazing to stand in such a historical building, and just wonder at the people who passed through...

Gloria said...

Beautiful Beth love yours poctures!:)

Claire Davis said...

Gorgeous colors, really beautiful! It always amazes me that vibrant colors like that can stand such a test of time (and apparently a bloody one, too.

yummychunklet said...

Such classic images.

Rita Huneault said...

So majestic!Love it.
Rita

bakewithjill.com said...

Fantastic! What a beautiful building.

Guru Uru said...

I love the regal building my friend :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Kathy said...

Beth, Your photos are gorgeous…this church looks so majestic! Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

Patty said...

Beth, you've been everywhere!!! I'm dying to see this, thanks for sharing some information on this beautiful building and your lovely pics;-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've been to St. Petersburg, but that was back when it was Leningrad. It's a beautiful city.

Barbara said...

Your photos are wonderful, Beth. Showing the details perfectly. What an amazing history!

Jasline (Foodie Baker) said...

Hi Beth! Beautiful photos! I wish I can visit there one day!

Angie's Recipes said...

The church looks spectacular!
Thanks for sharing, Beth.

Julie said...

I love beautiful churches! Thanks for sharing another wonderful post.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I've been there! Really gorgeous building, and the history is so interesting. There's so much to see around St. Petersburg - really worth a trip if anyone has the opportunity.

Lizzy Do said...

My parents have been to Russia a number of times...I'll have to ask them if they've seen this church. I hope to someday...wow.

artofnaturalliving.com said...

What a beautiful place!

Joanne said...

What a beautiful cathedral!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what absolutely fabulous pictures of this amazing Cathedral and what a wonderful place to visit!

Jemi Fraser said...

So beautiful! A TON of man hours must have gone into its creation :)

Food Gal said...

I love wandering into cathedrals when I'm traveling. They never cease to be breath-taking and intimate peeks into the history and culture of a community.

Elaine said...

It is stunning! It must have been amazing to be there in person.

grace said...

how beautiful. i would absolutely lose my breath in a place like that!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Wow, that is absolutely gorgeous. And what an interesting, and tragic, history it has! Thanks for sharing, Beth!

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Love the history behind this church! It's really amazing how places of worship are so resilient, given their turbulent histories.

Post a Comment