I was wondering what to start writing about when it came to St. Petersburg in Russia and then I decided to write about one of the places that caught my eye from the moment I stepped into its sacred halls. I’m talking about none other than the Church of the Savior on Blood. Honestly when I heard the name I was a little puzzled. I’ve come across many churches in my day but none that have borne a name similar to the Church of the Savior on Blood.
MAKING YOUR WAY TO THE CHURCH OF THE SAVIOR ON BLOOD
That’s where we are going!
The Church of the Savior on Blood is located on the Griboyedov channel embankment in St. Petersburg. It is in the heart of the city and it is close to many of the other attractions in the vicinity. I know this because we traipsed around the city from point to point in slush and snow but it was all worth it!
Our first glimpse of the church was impressive despite the rain. While Shawn got busy clicking a few photographs I noticed that with Spring round the bend the canal had started melting. There were small puddles and the ducks were having a ball. It was fun watching them.
CHURCH ETTIQUETTE IN RUSSIA
A miniature lies within!
This is as good a time as any to tell you that there is a form of church etiquette in Russia. It is something you should know before you enter. I’m not just talking about the usual cover your body. That’s probably because everyone is covered up since it was really cold. What I’m talking about refers to your hair.
When we first got into one of the churches in Russia Shawn was asked to remove his cap. To me removing your cap is a sign of respect so I removed mine too. The man however appeared flustered and said something in Russian that I could not really get. All that I understood was that I didn’t have to remove my cap and that was quite wrong.
According to the Russian Orthodox church tradition states that the man should not wear his cap and a woman must. Now I don’t know why because my Russian language skills are really really poor! I just understood what was acceptable and what was not by single words and loads of actions.
INSIDE THE CHURCH OF SAVIOR ON BLOOD
The tiles in the mosaic reflects the light giving the walls a really unique look.
Somehow entering the Church of the Savior on Blood is a little different from the other churches in Russia. It is a little bigger and more spacious in comparison. However like all churches the Church of the Savior on Blood looks larger on the outside than it does on the inside.
The whole church sort of overwhelms you. This is because every inch of the walls is one large mosaic of art pieces. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that each artwork is a mosaic of small tiles. I’m talking about seriously beautiful pieces that stretch in every direction that you look. I’m just going to let the photographs do the talking.
Look up my friend! Look up!
When we were walking through the Church of the Savior on Blood we found a tomb that was a large focal point in this church. A sign at the side mentioned that the tomb belonged to Alexander II. I’m not going to go into the depths of the history of this Emperor but if you are really interested you can check out the Wikipedia page about him.
But long story short… The church of Savior on Blood was built on the site where the Tsar Alexander II was injured mortally. It led me to wonder whether that was how the church got its unique name. If you do make it here don’t forget to look at the walls near the tomb. Large keys serve as both decoration and symbolism. It is said that the keys were taken after one of Alexander II’s victories in France.
While life seems to go on as usual in St. Petersburg, time seems to come to a standstill inside the Church of the Savior on Blood. You find yourself being drawn back into time. The colorful designs on the walls and on the floors leave you marveling at the craftsmanship of the artists who must have spent hours laboring on them. I think we spent around 2 hours in this small cozy church. Time that relaxed us in mind and warmed our bodies for the cold outside was biting!