Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

St Petersburg: Church on Spilled Blood

Posted by Lisa Hill on August 29, 2012

The Church on Spilled Blood was built on the spot where the Tsar Alexander II was assassinated.  In the slide show, the canopy is the actual place where it happened.  What ever you think about the tsars, it is chastening to see any site of a cold-blooded murder. ..

Alexander II was not such a bad tsar, as tsars go.  He emancipated the serfs and he was toying with the idea of a Russian parliament at the time of his death.  But compared to Britain and the rest of Europe Russia was still firmly in the grip of autocratic rule and so he was murdered by revolutionaries in 1881.   The church was built amidst revolutionary fervour which continued despite strict censorship and repression: in 1887 Lenin’s brother was hanged for plotting an attempt on the life of Alexander II’s successor, Alexander III.

As you can see from the slide show, the Church on Spilled Blood is florid, to say the least.  It’s built in what’s called Russian Revival style with lavish mosaics and extensive use of precious minerals such as jasper, rhodondite and porphyry, not to mention heaps of Italian marble.  (Russia at this time was, according to our guide Igor, the richest country in the world so no expense was spared.)

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