Church on the Spilled Blood

Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood

Top choice in St Petersburg

This five-domed dazzler is St Petersburg’s most elaborate church, with a classic Russian Orthodox exterior and an interior decorated with some 7000 sq metres of mosaics. Officially called the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, its far more striking colloquial name references the assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II here in 1881.

The church, which clearly resembles Moscow's iconic St Basil's cathedral, is so lavish it took 24 years to build and went over budget by 1 million roubles – an enormous sum for the time. The project was co-authored by Alfred Parland, a Scottish-German architect from St Petersburg, and archimandrite Ignaty, who presided over the Russian Orthodox Church at the time. Following decades of abuse and neglect during the Soviet era, painstaking restoration began in the 1970s and took 27 years to complete.