Onion-domed churches are one of the most defining visual symbols of Russia. Yet you would be hard-pressed to spot them around Saint Petersburg, save for the famous, whimsical Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. That’s because traditional Russian Orthodox cathedral architecture, so prevalent in Moscow and the Golden Ring of Russia developed during the middle to late medieval period (12th through 17th centuries), before Saint Petersburg was ever conceived. Saint Pete’s, on the other hand, was being built during the Late Baroque and Neoclassical periods, something that is reflected in the city’s secular and ecclesiastical architecture alike. Furthermore, the Europeanization of Russian culture, society and even geopolitical orientation, which took place throughout the 18th century, resulted in many of Saint Petersburg’s Russian Orthodox churches looking more like Catholic cathedrals of Rome and Vienna. As for the Savior on Spilled Blood and a handful of other properly Russian-looking churches scattered throughout the place? These are examples of the Russian medieval revival style, born out of the spirit of romantic nationalism, which surged in Russia during the 19th century.

Churches & Cathedrals of Saint Petersburg

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood


13 thoughts on “IF IT’S NOT BAROQUE…

  1. That’s really interesting about the time difference in which they were built. You are correct, had you shown me those first photos without context, I would have guessed Tuscan.

    • Moscow has a number of Baroque churches as well, but many of those are part of multi-generational church/monastery complexes, with foundations, crypts and many buildings dating back centuries.

  2. Pingback: MOSCOW CHURCHES | Home & Away

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