This church has been used as everything from a warehouse to a refuse heap, but it is now back at its best as one of St. Petersburg’s premier religious buildings.
The Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood, or Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as it is officially known, boasts a huge amount of mosaics. Admire the intricate and colorful decorations and learn about the solemn history behind its impressive architecture.
Visit the church and stand on the spot where Alexander II fell victim to a fatal bomb plot by a terrorist group named People’s Will in 1881. The church was created as a monument to Alexander II by his son, Alexander III. Its intricate mosaics are part of the reason it took from 1833 to 1907 to construct. Following the Russian Revolution, it fell into decline and was used as a junk pile and later a warehouse. Luckily, a multimillion-ruble renovation was undertaken, beginning in the 1970s.
Walk around the church to see its five distinctive domes, two of which feature a 3-D square design, and one which twirls up into the sky. Note the golden crosses on top, another striking feature in this dramatic church. Architect Alfred Parland borrowed elements from Moscow’s Baroque St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is similarly bombastic.
Take time to appreciate the level of detail present on the 80,729 square feet (7,500 square meters) of mosaics adorning its walls. There are a variety of artistic styles on display here, including modernist and Byzantine. Stories from the Bible are depicted with the fine mosaic pieces. Look for one depicting Jesus holding the gospels, which is based on work by painter Nikolai Kharlamov. Christ even looks down on the congregation from the dome of the church. Alexander Nevsky, an important hero in both St. Petersburg and Russia as a whole, is also seen in one particularly grand mosaic image.
Don’t miss the remarkable shrine to Alexander II on the spot he died. Featuring fine gems such as topaz and lazurite, it is decorated with more mosaics with religious iconography and is largely made of jasper stone.
Walk to the Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood from nearby Nevsky Prospekt and Gostiny Dvor metro station. It can be visited every day, apart from Wednesdays, and there is an entrance fee.