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Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood

Did you know? Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood isn’t an usual church (despite its name) but rather a memorial!  Do you struggle identifying Church on the Savior on Blood and Saint Basil’s Cathedral? Well, no worries, in fact the architecture of the first mentioned was inspired by the lattest, which explains why they resemble each other so much. You’ll get more comfortable with it by reading about both of them.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (4)

The Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood cathedral has been built in 1907 following the orders of Tsar Alexander III. However, it has been erected as a memorial and mourning place following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the Liberator, on March 1st 1881.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (12).jpg

In fact, and even if weekly requiem and sermons are given to remember Alexander II, Christ the Savior on the Spilled blood became a cathedral only in 1923. It has been closed about nine years later on the orders of the Soviet leadership to become a garbage dump. Nowadays Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood is an annex of St Isaac’s museum due to its stunning mosaics. That’s why if many believes that this world-known building is one of the most important church of St-Petersburg, it rather is, due to its history and architectural style, a memorial symbolising the Russian dilemma between liberalism and conservatism. And of course, it demonstrates (if needed) the Russian savoir-faire when it comes to architecture and religious art.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (10).jpg

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To Do in Moscow Top

Top 3: Unusual Things To Do in Moscow

Tourists, tourists and again tourists… tourists are everywhere! Taking pictures of the same buildings and bringing home the same “so original” souvenirs. But you’re not like them. No, you’re a true explorer. Someone that wants to do what locals do, and bring home truly unusual objects and memories. You’re not a redneck and neither are we, so follow this top and experience another Russia!

In St Petersburg? Check this unusual top 4!

  • Take Height at 354 ‒ Restaurants & Observation Deck

You were considering in taking a “Russian tea” at Caffé Pouchkine ? Seriously ? Well, first, Russian tea doesn’t exist. Second, Caffé Pouchkine is amazing but kind of Moscow’s must-do. Instead go take a cocktail at Ruski at the 85th floor of OKO Tower. More than diving into contemporary Russia by exploring Moskva-City, you’ll jump into the highest restaurant in Europe and in the very heart of Moscow’s “hypeness”. Take height and enjoy some fresh air, by letting your kids in the children’s room and entering the highest ice bar in the world! With its set of restaurants and bars, the terrace in summer and the highest skating rink of Europe in winter, the 354 will offer you an unusual and magnificent view!

Ruski Restaurant - 354m Height in OKO Tower
Ruski Restaurant – 354m Height in OKO Tower

But maybe, you’ll prefer to stay down-to-earth and visit Moscow by night in a soviet military van (called UAZ) or even enroll for a pub-crawl!

  • Mystic Moscow & Russian Superstitions

You may know that if you whistle inside a house in Russia, it’ll bring misfortune to that household… As every city, and because it’s the former Soviet Capital, Moscow has many legends, stories, tales and dark secrets to deliver. Diving into these will require bravery, strength and abnegation (act of renouncing) in order to explore the dark secrets and stories of Moscow and its famous people. It probably also requires a good guide whether by enjoying a walk, or using transport. But be careful, in the end you’ll never know which are tales and which are true stories…

Picture: Mystical Moscow
Mystical Moscow
  • The Dark Secrets of Lubyanka 

Remember when your parents threatened to put you in the cellar without light if you didn’t calm down? (or is it just mine?) Well, explore Lubyanka around former KGB headquarters and you’ll regret your cellar. For those who don’t know, Lubyanka has been the black heart of the Soviet secret intelligence, enforcing “security” inside and outside USSR. For this one, bring your own kinds. Stories of torture, prison and disappearance will give you a real and efficient leverage on these monsters. And well, except you already know all these dark secrets, you’ll need a guide!

Picture: Moscow - Lubyanka Square & FSB Building (former KGB)
Moscow – Lubyanka Square & FSB Building (former KGB)

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To Do in Moscow Traveling in Russia

Christ the Savior ‒ the Largest Church in Moscow

If you’re living in Moscow or even if you’re only passing by, you can’t miss this enormous cathedral in the very heart of the city! The Cathedral of the Christ the Savior is shining from afar thanks to its white walls and golden cupolas. The Christ the Savior overlooks the Russian federal capital from its 103m high, that makes it the 2nd highest Orthodox church in the world. Seat of the Russian orthodox patriarchate, Christ the Savior is currently the center of Moscow’s religious life. But it has not always been as it!

Picture: Cathedral of the Christ The Savior in Winter
Cathedral of the Christ The Savior in Winter

Indeed the biggest cathedral of the Russian Federation has been built in 1839, then destroyed but rebuilt in 1995. The first cathedral has been built from 1839 to celebrate the end of the Napoleonic wars and remember the numerous Russian deads. However, the Soviet leadership decided to destroy the cathedral in 1931, replacing it by a public swimming pool: the world biggest open-air swimming pool! Despite the popular desire of keeping the swimming pool, the Christ the Savior Cathedral has been rebuilt between 1995 and 2000, and given back to the Russian orthodox patriarchate.

Picture: Inside the Cathedral of the Christ The Savior
Inside the Cathedral of the Christ The Savior

Nowadays, the Christ the Savior remains a stunning cathedral on the inside as on the outside. However, if major orthodox events are celebrated in it, Christ the Savior knows less enthusiasm from the everyday believers than other Muscovite churches.

Picture: The Cathedral of the Christ The Savior on a Sunny Day
The Cathedral of the Christ The Savior on a Sunny Day

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Top 10: Good Deals in Moscow & Saint-Petersburg

Traveling may be expensive. Whether alone, with your lover, with children or even with your step-mother, you don’t want to come back with empty pockets. But avoiding visits, experiences, adventures (or worse, restaurants) is NOT acceptable, especially in Russia’s two capitals ‒ the cultural Saint-Petersburg & the business Moscow. Follow us and you’ll be able to treat yourself tonight, eating caviar in front of the Kremlin!

  • Moscow by Bike

Curious people, this one’s for you! Especially if you like cycling and feeling the breeze on your skin. Moscow bike sharing system Velobike is definitely the best deal you can find to discover quickly all the main areas of city. For 150₽ a day (2$) you can rent a bike anywhere in Moscow, for the time you want (for free up to 30 minutes), and return it in any bicycle station. Easy and cheap, take a bike and explore the city at your convenience. Also, that’s your chance to “forget” your step-mother or your terrible kids in a remote area of the city… Sorry, not sorry.

Picture: Cycling in Moscow ‒ Renting a bike made easy with Velobike bike sharing system
Cycling in Moscow ‒ Renting a bike made easy with Velobike bike sharing system

If ever you happen to be in Kazan, riding around the city is one of the best ways to discover the capital of Tatarstan.

  • Open Museums Once a Month (Moscow & Saint-Petersburg)

As culture is very important to Russians, every public museums offer free entrance on the third Sunday of each month. In fact, museums may be somewhat crowded on these days, but come on… it’s free! This is the perfect opportunity to visit or reexplore expensive museums and galleries without spending a kopeck (unless you give in and treat yourself with a coffee break or even souvenirs). Hopefully, Russian museums are like Russia, big and large so you (and your children) can breathe and contemplate the numerous masterpieces (I bet you can’t do it in most museums in Europe).

Picture: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow

Yet, you may prefer to visit museums on a quiet day, take the Pushkin Museum for example.

  • Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)

One fantastic thing in Moscow is that you can visit many famous artists’ houses. For example, Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita (but you probably knew that), lived in Moscow city center and his house is opened to the public… for free! The house is very small but you have to go and visit it! You’ll see a traditional Soviet interior and dive into Bulgakov’s world. Well, let’s give it a try !

Picture: Bulgakov House-Museum in Moscow
Bulgakov House-Museum in Moscow
  • Winzavod Contemporary Art Center (Moscow)

Winzavod is a huge center for contemporary art in Moscow opened to public for free. Located in several former industrial buildings (and among them Moscow’s beer factory) in Moscow’s city center, it presents to public several contemporary projects. A bit underground (but not too much since Dmitri Medvedev visited it during his presidentship), Winzavod is a good way to spend a casual afternoon in Moscow for free, and discover a younger kind of Russian intelligentsia (you can call them hipsters). Let’s chill there!

Picture: Inside Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow
Inside Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow

If you like contemporary art, here you can read more about Russian Contemporary Art.

  • Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River (Moscow)

Imagine yourself, a sweet breeze on your face, water lapping makes you dreaming, you open your eyes and admire the magnificent monuments of the Russian Capital. Discovering Moscow on the Moskva River is a unique experience, since you can at the same time relax, admire the city, and even sip a delicious cocktail. Boarding on the new, bright and comfortable Flotilla Radisson Royal boat is the treat you deserve, when you already had a busy day or week visiting the city.

Picture: Flotilla Radisson Royal Cruise on the Moskva River in Moscow
Flotilla Radisson Royal Cruise on the Moskva River in Moscow

And if you’re still eager to learn about Moscow, you may want a guide to accompany you on the Radisson Cruise.

  • Moscow Subway & Arbat Street

Did you know that Moscow metro stations were built as palaces for its people? Probably, but you may not know that Moscow subway was also built as a refuge in case of nuclear conflict. Muscovites are lucky that the metro is so beautiful, it makes them forget that going from the beginning to the end of any line takes 2 hours. And tourists in Moscow are even more lucky, since you can buy a ticket for a very few rubles and explore the most beautiful stations, just like in a museum. And about exploring Moscow for free (or almost), another outstanding place is Arbat street. I must be honest, this area is quite touristy. But, on this very nice street you’ll find an unequalized concentration of Russian souvenirs, crafts and antiques, and watching all the variety of items shops have to offer is kinda like admiring masterpieces in a museum (with the temptation to buy them for your family & friends as a bonus).

Picture: Moscow's Palace-Like Metro Stations: Komsomolskaya
Moscow’s Palace-Like Metro Stations: Komsomolskaya

These are not the only free museum-like places, take the Cathedral of the Christ the Saviour for example, the entrance is also free and whether you like religion or not, this is just sublime. If you want to visit the best metro stations in Moscow, Arbat street, and the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in a record time without missing anything about them, this tour was made for you!

  • Izmaylovo Kremlin (Moscow)

This one’s tricky. If the entrance is free, you’re at risk of going out from there way poorer than expected. Is that a challenge? I’ll let you judge… Built like a Moscow’s “wonderland”, the Izmaylovo Kremlin hide behind its walls two markets. One is for tourists, with lots of souvenirs, Russian traditional artefacts and fur. The other one is a bric-a-brac, where babushkas (grandmas) and dedushkas (granddads) sell ancient objects from Soviet times and even before. You may also find icons and wooden art over there. And in case you get hungry or cold in this little world, go take a rest in the food court, they make wonderful shashliks and hot tea!

Picture: The "Vernissage" at Izmaylovo Kremlin in Moscow
The “Vernissage” at Izmaylovo Kremlin in Moscow

By the way, if you like to do a series of visits, you could begin with Izmaylovo, see some beautiful metro stations, and have a walk in VDNKh and visit some of its pavilions, such as the Soviet Game Museum.

  • Church of the Savior on Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

Usually churches are free… but this one is technically not a church, in fact it’s a museum (did you know that or are you just pretending?), and thus it isn’t free. But the famous Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, built as a memorial to Alexander II’s murder, is absolutely divine. For a few rubles you’ll be able to pay a tribute and pray for the Russian tsar’s memory… and also admire the exquisite shining and goldish mosaics that cover all its walls and its roof.

Picture: The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint-Petersburg, aka the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint-Petersburg, aka the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood

If you want the visit of this world-known monument to be memorable, the best way is to learn the history of the Church of the Savior on Blood with a guide! 

  • Saint-Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

This one is a church, and a famous one… but also a museum. So for a few rubles, you’ll enter the very heart of Saint-Petersburg religious life and a cathedral with rich ornamentation and dimensions beyond the norm. For the atheists reading this top, you’ll find in Saint Isaac a real museum of stones as the cathedral has been crafted in such varieties of stones from all Russia. One over there, it’s also worth exploring the colonnade which will offer you a marvelous view on the city!

Picture: Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint-Petersburg, aka Isaakievskiy Sobor
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint-Petersburg, aka Isaakievskiy Sobor
  • State Kremlin Palace (Moscow)

The Bolshoi, the Mariinsky and many other theatres in Russia are expensive. But Russians love theatre, opera and ballet and so you can find quite easily good tickets very cheap. Surprisingly one of them is the Kremlin Ballet Theatre, aka State Kremlin Palace. I know you thought about it and didn’t look at the prices as “it will be the most expensive of all”. Wrong! The Kremlin Theatre, located in the heart of the Kremlin, offers good operas and ballets (with a strong taste for classics) for not so many rubles. You can even be well seated for only 600r (10$). So take a ticket and you’ll be able to brag yourself while back home!

Picture: The State Kremlin Palace, aka the Kremlin Palace of Congresses
The State Kremlin Palace, aka the Kremlin Palace of Congresses

Although, if you’ve been dreaming about the Bolshoi for a while, we’ve got a VIP access to the backstages that any ballet-lover would like to get.

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!