The Church on Spilled Blood is also known as the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood or the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. It is built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 and dedicated to his memory. The church was used as a warehouse during the Soviet period – something I find quite sacrilegious given its magnificent beauty – but reopened in 1997 after nearly 30 years of restoration. Photographs really do not do it justice – it is even more stunning in real life, and is easily the most humblingly beautiful building I’ve ever seen.
The Catherine Palace was commissioned in 1717 by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine and reconstructed by their daughter Empress Elizabeth in 1743 who bought over 100kg gold to ornament both the interior and exterior.
The most impressive feature is the incredible Amber Room – a room covered entirely in amber. Before World War 2 the Russian curators covered the room with wallpaper in an attempt to hide the beautiful amber from the Germans. The ruse failed, and the Germans dismantled the room in under 36 hours. The Russians began to rebuild it in 1979 using drawings and photos as a guide. It was finally reopened in 2003, which goes to show that beauty takes far longer to create than to destroy.