When one observes the skyline of St. Petersburg the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral is predominant. The Peter and Paul Fortress was the first structure Peter the Great built in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1703. Today it marks the founding of the city, but the fortress was used as a political prison for centuries and the cathedral holds the tombs of the Romanov Tsars. The Peter and Paul Fortress sits on the northern banks of the Neva River, and the tall golden spire of Peter and Paul Cathedral marks the location. This spire was the tallest point in Saint Petersburg until a television tower was built in the mid-1960s. Many famous persons have been incarcerated in the Prison. Feodor Dostoevsky was imprisoned here for his part in the attempt on the Czar’s life. While standing to be executed, the czar commuted his death sentence and sentenced him to many years in Siberia. This episode in his life is assumed to be the motivation for his novel Crime and Punishment. It is remarkable to see the semi precious stone tombs of the likes of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. All of the Romanov Czars’ remains are in the Peter and Paul Cathedral with the exception of Peter the III.
The remains of the last Czar , Nicholas II, and his murdered family are in the Cathedral in a special room. They were placed there in the last few years after the remains were discovered in the Urals near where they were murdered.
Many children will recognize the name of one of Nicholas’ children, Grand Duchess Anastasia from the Disney movie of the same name.
The Church on Spilled Blood was built in the late 19th century on the site where a terriorist tossed a bomb under the carriage of Tsar Alexander II. The Czar was rushed to the Winter Palace where he died from his wounds.
The church’s fascinating, colorful appearance is the result of the numerous materials used in its construction. Much like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the church is a challenge to the visual senses–there is so much to see. For example, the bell tower is covered in 144 mosaic coats of arms, representing the regions and towns of Russia.
The five domes are covered in jeweler’s enamel, and glazed ceramic tiles cover much of the exterior. The intricate design and detail of the church are an interesting contrast to the simplicity of most of the rest of the buildings in St. Petersburg.
The Church on Spilled Blood is an easy walk from the Hermitage and many of the other sights in St. Petersburg which every visitor must see.
For those who have been to Moscow, the resemblance to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is no coincidence. The architect, Alfred Parland, was trying to copy St. Basil’s, and most would say the two churches do look much alike, although their environs are certainly different.
The Church on Spilled Blood is one of the “Must See” sights of St. Petersburg. This is true even for the brief St. Petersburg shore excursions. Fortunately the church can be included on any guided tour of St. Petersburg after a full day of other visits since it remains open for tours until 7 p.m. (19:00).
For those on St. Petersburg holidays who wish to see the beautiful city from the canals, our private boat tour is one of the most relaxing and picturesque tours of St. Petersburg. It begins just a short walk from the Church on Spilled Blood.
If you want to buy souvenirs in St. Petersburg, one of the best places is in the market just to the rear. Another reason to have a proper tour of St. Petersburg, is to have a St. Petersburg tour guide with you when you shop. You will be able to consult with him/her regarding the quality and value of your potential purchases. In fact, several of the vendors in the market behind the Church on Spilled Blood represent skilled artists. I have purchased original oil paintings which I have admired in my home for years.
You will certainly see the Church on Spilled Blood if you book our:
The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg , sometimes called the St. Petersburg Synagogue, is the second largest synagogue in Europe. It was built between 1880 and 1888, and consecrated in 1893.
Kazan Cathedral is a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, probably one of the most venerated icons in Russia.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg is one of the world’s largest domed cathedrals, holding 14,000 people. This massive church and its golden dome can be seen from many locations in St. Petersburg.St. Isaac’s was commissioned in 1818 by Tsar Alexander I to celebrate the victory over Napoleon, and the French architect Auguste de Montferrand was the designer. St. Isaac’s took 40 years to build, and Montferrand died the year it opened. It sits on a marshy bank of the Neva River, and thousands of huge wooden pilings were sunk into the mud to support the church. The exterior of St. Isaac’s is of Renaissance and Baroque design, and the interior is spectacular because of the mosaics and many precious stones and minerals used. The golden dome is covered with 220 pounds of gold. During the Soviet era, the Orthodox Church was closed to worshipers and became a museum of atheism. Fortunately, many of the wonderful 19th century works of art were retained and decorate today’s St. Isaac’s.