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Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood — beautiful and vibrant Church in pseudo-Russian style, was founded in 1883 on the site of the tragic events of 1st of March 1881. Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded here by two terrorists. The origin of the name of the temple is devoid of mystery. It’s very simple: the meaning of the word Savoir is the most common epithet assigned to Jesus Christ (the Savior). And the blood, because the temple was founded on the place where Emperor was wounded.

Due to the construction of the Church the shape of the channel was changed — foundation of the Cathedral moved the river bed by 8.5 meters. In the Western side of the church, directly under the bell tower with a large golden dome, you can see the pavement and fencing of the river canal of XIX century. Today Church of the Savior on blood — the world’s only Orthodox Cathedral with more than 7000 sq. m. mosaic decoration. Exterior walls and all interior decoration of the temple are covered with mosaic icons and ornaments.


After the revolution the church was supposed to blow up or destroy like all Orthodox churches in Russia. But for some reasons it has been only robbed — silver and icon were stolen, part of the mosaic walls were spoiled. Special commission of churches made a decision to dismantle the temple in November 1931. Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was called as an object that has no artistic and architectural values. But the realisation of this project was unexpectedly delayed until 1938. That year this issue was again raised by the same commission. The decision was made — the explosion of the temple was scheduled for the summer of 1941. The walls were drilled and the explosive were put into it, but due to the beginning of the Great Patriotic war the explosion of the church was delayed again. Shells and bombs miraculously passing by the church, as if it really was under spell.

During the siege of Saint Petersburg in the church was located morgue with the frozen bodies of the citizens, who died because of starvation or wounds. Later the temple was used as a vegetable store, and later on as a warehouse for theatrical scenery. The most part of the interior were destroyed in those days.

The next attempt of the Soviet authorities to get rid of the temple was undertaken in 1956. The reason — it interfered with the construction of a new highway. Easier and cheaper to demolish the temple than to pave the way to the bypass. But this attempt was not successful again, a unique monument of architecture was defended by historians and architects.

In the 60-ies fascist bomb was found in the main dome of the church. by happy circumstances it did not explode over many years. Bomb weighing half a ton as if laid on the arms of the Savior.

Later on the Church was transferred under the administrative patronage of the Museum “St. Isaac’s Cathedral”. In 1997, exactly 90 years after its consecration, the Museum-monument “The Temple of the Savior on Blood” was opened for visitors.

Tips & tricks

Before entering inside the temple, please turn off the sound on your smartphone and try to behave as quietly as possible. According to the Orthodox traditions women’s head should be covered with a headscarf, as well as female legs closed with a long skirt. Church of the Savior on Blood is located in the center of Saint-Petersburg and very close to Nevsky avenue that’s why you can find a lot of cafes and restraunts where you can have a rest after excursion and enjoy the city view.