Pearls of Russia
The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
This marvelous Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor AlexanderII was assassinated in March 1881. After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of the disastrous defeat of Russia in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms. In 1861 he freed the Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost slaves). Within the first half of his reign military, judicial and urban reforms were undertaken and Russia became truly a capitalist country. However, in the second half of his reign Alexander II was no longer keen on continuing reforms. After a series of attempts on his life, including an explosion in the Winter Palace and the derailment of a train, Alexander II was assassinated by revolutionaries, who threw a bomb at his royal carriage.
It was decided to build a church at the spot where the emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built in 1883-1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (a.k.a. Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood). Most of the money for the church was donated, by the royal family and thousands of private donors. Both inside and outside, the church is decorated with unique mosaics, designed by the most prominent Russian artists of the time (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov, M.A. Vrubel, etc.) and created in 1895-1907. For all the "Russian look" of the church, its main architect A. Parland was not even a Russian by origin.
The church was closed for services in the 1930s, when Bolsheviks were destroying churches nationwide. For the last 20 years it has been under restoration. The restoration work is currently near completion and the church has just reopened. A view of the church from Nevsky Prospect is breathtaking.
NOTE: In different books translations of the church's name vary. You can find Church of Savior on Blood, The Resurrection Church, The Church of the Resurrection of Christ, etc.
Location: Naberezhnaya kanala Griboyedova.
Reopened in late August, 1997 after almost 30 years of restoration.