The church of our savior on Spilled Blood
Church of Resurrection of Christ put on the spot where Alexander II, the Emperor of Russia, was mortally wounded on 1 March 1881. The church owes its second, popular name, of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, to this tragic event.
According to the request of citizens and with the support of Alexander III it was decided to preserve for posterity the memory of Alexander II, during whose reign important social and economic reforms were undertaken. This memorial temple was erected between 1883 and 1907 to designs by Alfred Parland and Archimandrite Ignatius (Malyshev). The building was designed in old Russian style and modelled on Moscow and Yaroslavl seventeenth-century churches. The central enamel cupolas recall the domes of the Cathedral of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The temple is particularly remarkable for the richness and variety of its decor. The mosaics, which cover a vast area of the outer and inner walls (approximately 7,000 square meters in total) make the church a monumental of international significance. They were executed with the utmost artistic and technical skill within twelve years by Russian mosaic artists in the private workshop of the Frolovs brothers and in the workshop of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. The mosaics were made of smalt - an alloy of glass with metal oxides.
The mosaics were created after painted originals prepared by 32 artists, including Victor Vasnetsov and Mikhail Nesterov. The subjects are based mainly on the New Testament. The arrangement of the panels corresponds to the canons of Orthodox iconography. The southern wall is devoted to the events from the Nativity to the Baptism of Christ. The northern wall features the miracles and miraculous healings worked by Saviour. The western wall shows the scenes of the Passion.
In interior decoration of the church are amply used natural semi-precious stones from Russia and Italy. Russian stones rhodonite and various kinds of jasper - were employed for the canopy and icon frames. The floor laid out with various kinds of Italian marble looks like a mosaic carpet. The upper plaques of marble are 5 millimeters thick. Italian marble was also used for the magnificent carved iconostasis.
Before 1917 the church had a special memorial role - only the Commemoration Services for the Departed Alexander II were sung in it. In 1917 the church became an usual parish church and in 1930 it was closed and used mainly as a warehouse.
In 1970 restoration work began in the building. The principal phase of the work continued for 27 years and was finished by summer 1997. On 19 August 1997 the Saviour on the Spilled Blood was opened as a museum. The restoration of the church is almost complete and the work goes on in the functioning museum.