Russian cathedral built on site of famous murder
One of the most interesting buildings in St. Petersburg is impossible to miss. The city's most recognizable cathedral, Savior of the Spilled Blood, is built on the site of a famous Russian murder.
"On the first of March 1881, one of Russian Emperors whose name was Alexander the 2nd, who was well known as Alexander the Liberator, who abolished slavery in Russia was killed here by members of Terrorists organization, People's Will," said WTHR tour guide Elena. "(The Cathedral) was built on the place where he died by the order of his son, Alexander the 3rd. It was built as a memorial place for Romanov dynasty, just for Russian emperors, not for anybody else. It reminds us architecture of Russian churches which were built in 16th and 17th centuries. It took a long time to restore it because it was quite badly damaged during the Soviet times. And, it's quite a miracle that we have this church in St. Petersburg because the plan was to explode it."
Inside Savior on the Spilled Blood, visitors can see the spot where the Russian czar was murdered.
"The canopy represents a hidden roof made of semi-precious Russian stones. They're covering part of the embankment of this canal. These cobblestones they are supposed to keep the blood of that poor Russian emperor, Alexander the 2nd," said Elena.
The artwork inside the church is spectacular, featuring one of the largest mosaic collections in Europe. According to the official website, "the mosaics form an extensive collection of Christian images representing 277 names and 68 biblical and evangelic scenes using colored marbles and decorative stones from the Urals and Altai region."
"The surface inside is almost 7,000 square meters. All the walls and ceilings are covered with them and you are standing as if you are standing under the mosaic sky looking from the ground, as if you're in a fairytale. And, I'm not exaggerating. Each time when I come there, I feel like I'm a member of a fairytale," said Elena.
While tourists explore this fascinating cathedral, Russian brides and grooms gather outside for wedding photos on the nearby "kissing bridge."
"This is a traditional place for people who get married to come here. We are worshippers. We are Orthodox. We believe in God and want to come to come to this beautiful place, this bridge and Church on the Spilled Blood," said one bride.
Couples celebrating the future outside a place where the past is not forgotten.