Onion-Domed Church

One of the more obvious signs that you are in Russia is the presence of the famous ‘onion dome’ churches and one of the most spectacular examples of these is to be found in Saint Petersburg.

With the fanciful name of Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood it owes its title to the fact that it was constructed between 1883 and 1907 on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was wounded and later died after being attacked by anarchist conspirators setting off grenades in 1881.

Funding was provided by the imperial family and private donors with the costs running over estimate and coming in at 4.6 million rubles.

Architecturally it harks back to the Russian Romantic Nationalism style of the medieval era with the interior being covered in 7,500 square meters of intricate mosaics giving it an almost unique appearance.

After the revolution it was ransacked and badly damaged with the Soviet government shutting it down in the 1930’s, although it was used as a temporary morgue during the siege of Leningrad.  Post-war it was used as a warehouse for vegetables.

It was re-opened in 1997 after 27 years of painstaking restoration work but has not been reconsecrated, functioning now as a museum.

The church on the banks of the canal as seen at night.

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