Mark JohnstonFAVORITE CHURCHES OF RUSSIA Britnee Johnston August 12 Round the World Trip, Russia, Travel 5 Comments While passing through Russia it’s hard to not notice the many spires of Russian Orthodox Cathedrals scattered throughout the country. Each one is unique with richly decorated interior walls and iconic onion domes on the exterior. Some of the churches still act as worshipping centers while others have been converted to museums. It’s hard to choose from so many, but we narrowed them down to our favorites from each town we stayed in: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood – St. Petersburg This church was built in 1907, and reopened in 1997 after 27 years of renovation work. What makes this church so spectacular is that more than 80,000 square feet of wall space is covered with mosaic tile artwork, which is the most out of any church in the world. The intricate mosaics form depictions of Jesus and other biblical figures and holy scenes. The church has never functioned as a place of worship and acts as as a memorial for the assassination of Alexander II. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most popular destinations in St. Petersburg and is just a few blocks away from the Hermitage. There is an entrance fee to visit the church. Church of All Saints – Yekaterinburg Most known as the execution site of the Romanov Family, the Church of All Saints was built upon the site as a commemoration to the family. I was a fan of the animated film “Anastasia” when I was a kid, so it was interesting to see this memorial. Formerly the site of an old engineer’s house that has since been torn down with the new Church of All Saints opening in 2003. Inside the church in the back, right corner is where an alter was built exactly on top of where the execution happened. We were there at noon the day we visited which was also the same time as a prayer service in front of the memorial. There we watched the holy prayers and heard beautiful singing that echoed in the church. It was free to enter the Church of All Saints. Church of the Epiphany – Irkutsk This was the very first Russian Orthodox cathedral we visited in Russia near the Mongolian Border. It was here that I learned the rules that women’s heads should be covered with a scarf and they should be wearing a dress while visiting and worshipping. Many churches provide scarves and apron-like dresses to women who can borrow them during their visit. The Church of the Epiphany was built in 1746 and has intricate painted artwork on the walls and ceiling throughout. It was free to enter the Church of the Epiphany. St. Demetrius’ Cathedral – Vladimir St. Demetrius’ Cathedral is popular for its exterior facade that was carved with the biblical story of King David. Built in 1191, we liked it for its ancient appearance because the outside looked so different from other cathedrals we’d seen. The interior is currently a museum with a small fee to go inside. We paid to go in, but there really wasn’t much to see except for the old cross that used to be on top of it and some old, faded paintings on the wall. If I were to do it again I would skip going inside and just admire it from the outside. St. Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow This really is the crown jewel of Russian Orthodox Cathedrals. Probably the most well-known sight in Russia, St. Basil’s lived up to its famous reputation for us. Originally built in 1561, it’s been regularly renovated and freshly painted to continue to impress. What surprised us is that we were allowed to go inside and that it was actually a museum inside. The two-level cathedral was interesting to explore and we saw many ancient items on display such as gold church banners, religious paintings, old Bibles and goblets. This is a must-see and is well worth it to go inside. 5 Responses Laura August 13 I have always wanted to see St. Basil’s in person, but ALL of these churches are so gorgeous! Beautiful photos Mark Johnston August 17 Thanks Laura. St. Basil’s alone made the trip to Moscow worth it! Charlie August 13 Ohh woah, they are all so incredible. I’d love to travel in Russia one day and hope that I’ll get to see them first hand. The roofs and architecture are just fantastic. Joe September 23 Seeing these pictures really makes me want to go and visit these places! You took awesome photos!!