A Touch Of History And A Dash Of Beauty

/////A Touch Of History And A Dash Of Beauty

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.


The location of the Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg

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 of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg

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.


Church of the Savior on Blood Mosaic walls in St. Petersburg

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.

Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg

Look up my friend! Look up!


Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg
Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg

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!

2018-08-11T13:04:40+00:00 March 1st, 2017|Asia, Destinations, Russia, St. Petersburg|9 Comments


  1. Abbi @ Spin the Windrose March 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I have always wanted to visit this church! It looks beautiful from the outside but I had no idea just how stunning the inside is as well. That artwork is so intricate – I would gaze at it for days! I also have a funny story about wearing hats… I was in Riga, Latvia earlier this year and there was a sign to say no hats (a photo of a hat and a cross through it) at the door of a church we went into… inside, all the women were wearing hats, so I put mine back on as people were giving me funny looks! Very peculiar!

    • Penny March 2, 2017 at 4:32 am - Reply

      I know exactly what you mean!! Oh well to each their own I guess!

  2. Kyntra Strickland March 4, 2017 at 9:13 am - Reply

    So beautiful. I will definitely visit when we go to St. Petersburg! I had no idea about women having to cover their hair though, that is good to know. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  3. Leigh | Campfires & Concierges March 4, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    How beautiful! Even though I’m not religious, I love visiting churches when traveling, especially when they are so ornate like this.

  4. Katie @ The Katie Show Blog March 5, 2017 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Wow it looks really interesting & beautiful! I think I could spend some time there just looking at it all! Good to know about the etiquette too because I wouldnt have known that so thanks for sharing’

  5. Alina from Reverie Chaser March 5, 2017 at 8:31 am - Reply

    When I was reading about the bit of bigger/smaller on the inside, I was like – like Tardis, bigger on the inside? No, the opposite!
    It’s good you mention how one should dress in churches. I have a lot of orthodox churches in my own country (btw, same Riga, Latvia as in the comment abode) and I have been to a few myself, but here the dressing bit is not observed as strictly, I think it depends on the pastor.

    • Penny March 12, 2017 at 1:16 am - Reply

      I think a lot of it is also related to culture. It changes with region. As far as I noticed the need for keeping/removing your hat was uniform in all the churches that I visited.

  6. Alice Chen March 5, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Wow! These are gorgeous! It looks exactly what I think a Russian church should look like! Haha!

  7. Sarah March 6, 2017 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Wow I love the miniature, it’s so cute!! I always go to churches when I travel.

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