St. Petersburg: Holy Mosaics! The “Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood”

Posted in: St. Petersburg


church st pete

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most famous sights in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although the Cathedral touts an old romantic style, it is, in fact quite young, constructed between 1883-1907.

Officially named the “Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,” the church was built as a memorial to the slain Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who was mortally wounded on the site in 1881. It was closed by the Bolsheviks in the 1930s, but reopened in 1997 after 30 years of restoration work.

When I visited St. Petersburg last month, I stopped by the church on my second night. I had heard that there were some masterful mosaics to behold inside. But I didn’t realize that the entire interior was covered in mosaics, from floor to ceiling–including the walls, arches, ceiling, and altar!

Indeed, the church contains over 7,500 square meters of mosaics, more than any other church in the world. Here are some of my photos from the interior. Remember, these mosaics are pieced together from tiny, tiny tiles…

alter spilled blood st petersburg

spilled blood ceiling

spilled blood ceiling

mosaic up close

Read more about the church on its website, including its history, near demolition, and use during the 20th Century as a warehouse for opera sets.

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

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3 thoughts on “St. Petersburg: Holy Mosaics! The “Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood””

  1. Angela, far better than San Marco — but not as free!

    The restoration work they’ve done inside is amazing. I can’t remember if they force you into a “tour” or not, but it’s certainly worth it to slink away and spend as much time simply gazing at the walls (and floors) as you need.

    The exterior is also worth a visit during daylight hours. Thankfully it’s just a short walk from the very central Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor station.

  2. Oh. that’s so cool! I remember driving past it when I was in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) in 1987, but no one knew much about it, and we certainly weren’t allowed inside. I am anxious to get back there someday — and more so after seeing your photos. Very reminiscent of San Marco in Venice…


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