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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Church of the Spilled Blood

As I mentioned in my earlier blog, the Church of the Spilled Blood is by no means the largest, most beautiful, or most historically or religiously significant church in SP, but I'd guess that it IS one of the most photographed.  That's probably based on a couple of factors.  One is location; it's right between Nevsky Prospekt and the Winter Palace and easily visible down one of the main canals.  You'd have to be blind to miss it.  Two, it is this amazing confection of Orthodox gingerbread, vibrant colors, and imperial symbolism and aspirations, all in this compact and immediate package (unlike the scope and grandeur of St. Isaac's or the grandiosness of Kazan Cathedral).  Three, you can even feel virtuously historical while taking photos, since the whole reason for the church's existence is to commemorate and inspire prayers for the "spilled blood" of Czar Alexander II.  I mean, it's a tourist trifecta!

So here is Jaime's homage to the Church of the Spilled Blood.  Really wonderful photos!

I couldn't decide which of these photos I liked best.  The top one gives a better sense of the colors, while the bottom one is more suggestive of the ambiance.  Besides, I like the glowing dome on the bottom!

One of the great things about the church is that you can easily walk all the way around it, so here are some close-ups of our circumnavigation.

The mosaics and other decorations above the doors outside were striking.

One of the things I've always found both beautiful and exotic ever since I first saw them in Alaska as a kid are the "onion domes" on the Orthodox church towers.  Here they're covered with colored, geometric decorations.

 (Yes, I know this picture is ostensibly underexposed, 
poorly lit, whatever, but I actually prefer it for its atmospherics.)

I particularly had to giggle at the prominent display of Romanoff eagles everywhere, but given the church's origins, it makes a twisted sort of sense.

Across the street, next to the little market that's developed there, is this interesting, much more understated building.  I was wondering if it was the church's baptistry, but since the gates were locked whenever we went by, I didn't go check it out in more detail.  One of its aspects that really struck me was the shape of the building itself and its tower; you can see the latter better in the second picture.

On a somewhat tangential note, you should see what Blogger tries to substitute for grandiose, Romanoff, and baptistry.  Is it required that we be illiterate to blog?!

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