Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo Nostalgia - Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg (2009)

In June 2009, I entered the Russian Federation for the first time, arriving from the once-Soviet state of Estonia. Heading east from Tallinn, I would disembark in the wee hours of the morning in St. Petersburg, the home and resting place of my favorite author, Fyodor Dostoevsky. There were many iconic landmarks to choose from as my "first order of business," but for whatever reason I settled upon the Church on Spilled Blood, which is sometimes confused with Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral (no doubt because the former was built to resemble the latter). As the name implies, the church was built over the location of the mortal wounding (by bomb) of Tsar Alexander II, which occurred just a month after Dostoevsky's death in 1881. Curiously, it never functioned for liturgies, even prior to the communist revolution; however, it is decorated within similarly to the greatest cathedrals in Russia. Although officially called "cathedral" (Russian = sobor) today, it was historically known as a "church" (Russian = khram) due to the above reason.
My approach to the church took me from my hostel, further down the Kanal Griboyedova, to the also-striking (and older) Kazan Cathedral, part of which can be seen at left.

Statue of Mikhail Kutuzov, native of the city and commander of the Russian army against Napoleon in 1812, near the Singer House (left) on Nevsky Prospekt and looking towards the Church on Spilled Blood

The exterior of the Church on Spilled Blood (officially the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood) has been long celebrated throughout the world, not least of which for its cupolas (domes)

Despite a chip or two, they still hold up nicely

As with most Russian Orthodox churches, this one is covered with icons from top to bottom

A peek into the altar

It was easy to forget about the floor... but I remembered to take a photo

When I have time this coming month, I will update the blog with other photo exhibits on Russian landmarks in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and beyond.

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