Travel bucket list idea:
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the Spilled Blood
St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia|
Famous for its ornate, onion-bulb domes and the extraordinary gold mosaics housed within the spectacular façade, the Church of the Resurrection (more commonly known as the Church of the the Spilled Blood) is one of St Petersburg’s finest religious sites – a must-see, even for those who wouldn’t normally visit a church.
Built in 1881 in memory of Alexander II, the church stands on the spot where he was assassinated, when a bomb was thrown into his carriage. Outside, the domes are exuberantly decorated in bold golds and teal, and covered with jeweller’s enamel.
Inside, the scale of the mosaics is jaw-dropping; floor-to-ceiling gold-leaf depictions of different scenes from the bible, set against a vivid, deep blue backdrop.
Once inside the church, look out for a small canopy; this marks the exact spot where Alexander II was murdered – the eighth attempt on his life.
On the walls there are 144 different coats of arms – each representing the different territories that were under Alexander II’s reign.
Getting there & doing it
The church is located in the centre of St Petersburg, right on the Griboedov Canal, and just a short walk from the State Hermitage Museum.
The church doesn’t offer guided tours, and it’s very straightforward to explore independently. Many tourists visit the church as part of a pre-booked day tour.
If you are visiting independently, book tickets online in advance as this will enable you to avoid the queue. Tickets are for individual days, rather than time slots, meaning you can visit whenever you like on the day.
When to do it
The church is open all year round, Thursday to Tuesday (closed on occasional days for special services).
It’s hugely popular with tour groups; aim to be at the church when it opens to avoid the worst of the crowds. Inevitably it is much busier in the spring and summer months – go on a cold winter day and you may have the place almost to yourself.
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The great civilisations of the past have left a legacy of constructions that still stand out and inspire. Built without the wonders of 20th-century technology, many are also monumental feats of engineering; others offer such grace and beauty, that they’ll literally take your breath away.