Famous Ceilings: The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

Written by Milan Jara

One of the most popular places to visit in St. Petersburg, Russia, is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Its recognizable facade of fantastically colorful onion domes and gorgeous exterior architecture can captivate an onlooker for hours. However, that's nothing compared the wonders that await inside. Incredibly detailed Christian mosaics line the inside of the church, glittering with thousands of hues. The gold that lines many of the figures can make an overcast day in St. Petersburg seem like glowing sunlight.

A Troubled History

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, otherwise known as the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, seems like an ancient construction; however, the church was completed as late as 1907. This huge monument had a troubled history from its inception. The church marks the place where the emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded in 1881. This dignitary had initiated several major reforms, but was killed by a group of revolutionaries. His royal family, along with many private donors, paid to mark where he was injured with the church. Since then, it has had a complicated history. Luckily, the church had narrowly escaped destruction, which was desired by Lenin's followers at the time. However, it was hardly used respectfully, at one point serving as a warehouse for potatoes and vegetables. From the 1970s to the late 1990s, the church underwent meticulous restoration.

A Beautiful Future

Today, you can take advantage of the more than twenty years of restoration and view the church's neo-Medieval Russian nationalist artwork as it was originally intended. Now, you can view over 7,500 square meters of mosaics depicting more than 60 biblical or evangelic scenes by about 25 different artists. There are many different types of marble on the floor, and thousands of pieces on ceiling. It's embellished with many semi-precious stones as well. All of the walls and ceilings are covered in these intricate mosaics. After such a long history, the church continues to delight tourists to this day.


- Milan Jara

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