Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood

Spas na Krovi

Ironically, this is precisely the place where on March 1, 1881 a member of a terrorist organization inflicted a deadly wound to the most liberal of the Russian emperors of the 19th century, Alexander II, who freed peasants from serfdom. A chapel sponsored by merchants was built straight away on the place of the tsar's death to host the burial services. In his turn, the heir to the throne, Alexander III, declared the best church project tendering. The requirements were to pertain the characteristic features of Russian religious architecture of the 17th century and to add a side-chapel that would stand on the place of the assassination, as Alexander III ordered to leave untouched the exact spot of the pavement where the blood of his father was spilled. As a result, a project by an architectural academy member, Alfred Parland was approved and a cathedral in Romantic Nationalism style was erected. The funds to immortalize the memory of the martyr tsar were gathered from all around Russia. The temple was under construction during 24 years and was finally consecrated only in 1907, already during the reign of emperor Nicholas II, son of Alexander III. New construction technologies were applied to the church, the building was fully electrified, it was lit by almost 1,700 electric lamps!

Despite the fact that it was meant to be a memorial, the church has a rather bright and even festive exterior. Some of the cathedral's domes are gilded, some are enameled with different paintings. We can still observe these unique ceramic tiles and mosaics inside the church, as well as a depiction of Jesus Christ on the ceiling with an unusual optical effect, wherever a visitor goes, it will seem to him or her that Jesus is looking straight on them.

The history of the temple also has a lot of symbolical coincidences. For instance, the height of the central construction is 81 meters, which corresponds to the year Alexander II died, and the second highest dome towers 63 meters above the pavement, as at the time of assassination the emperor was 63 years old. There is also a mystical story related to this unusual church. In 1961 a 150 kg German shell was discovered stuck in the central dome. It lied there unnoticed for almost 18 years after the WWII.

The Church of Savior on Blood is the only Russian sight that was elected to become part of TripAdvisor's Top 25 most popular tourist sights of the world. Across the road from the church the Museum of stone is situated. Just like Spas, this museum is part of the four cathedral museum collectively referred to as the St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Address: Griboedov Emb., 2A (Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboedova, 2A)
Opening hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 10.30 am – 6.00 pm, closed on Wed, fee is charged.
How to reach: Nevskiy Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor metro stations
Coordinates: 59.940049, 30.328703