Jægerspris Castle has belonged to the Danish monarchs for most of its history which dates back to the 13th century. In the 1850s it became a retreat for King Frederik VII and his morganatic wife Countess Danner, who sought refuge there to escape the controversy their marriage had caused among the establishment in Copenhagen. After the king's death, Countess Danner turned it into an asylum for women. Today the castle serves as a historic house museum and is also noted for its park.
Until 1677 the estate was known as Abrahamstrup. It is not clear who Abraham was but the name is believed to be a reference to King Valdemar II's son Abel since most of Hornsherred in the 12th century was owned by the king. A source from 1318 refers to the estate as land belonging to the Crown.
In 1673 the castle passed into private ownership when it was acquired by jægermester Vincents von Hahn. In 1677 he renamed it Jægerspris, which literally translates to Hunter's Praise. In 1679, the castle passed back into royal ownership and shortly after Frederick IV's ascent to the throne in 1699, he used it as a summer residence for a few years but then gave it to his younger brother Prince Charles of Denmark in 1703. Prince Charles carried out a comprehensive expansion and rebuilding of the castle. The south wing was extended with an extra storey and the single, square guard tower of the southern facade of the castle was given a twin tower to the east to add symmetry to the building. Several buildings associated with the forestry and agricultural operations of the estate were also built on the grounds. They included a pheasantry and a stud farm. The adaptions of the castle were completed in 1722. In 1726, three years before Prince Charles' death, the stud farm relocated to Vemmetofte, one of his other estates.
After Prince Charles' death in 1729, Crown Prince Christian (VI) took over the estate. Thereafter the castle continued to serve as a hunting lodge for the Danish monarchs until it was ceded to the Danish state in 1849 in connection with the adoption of the Danish Constitution.
King Frederik VII acquired Jægerspris Castle on 21 April 1854, the birthday of his morganatic wife Countess Danner, as a place to spend their private life, away from the controversy their liaison had caused back in Copenhagen. They carried out a major renovation of the castle assisted by the architect Johan Henrik Nebelong.
After Frederick's death in 1863, Louise lived a discreet life there. In 1866 she opened part of the castle to the public as a historic house museum where everything was left exactly the way it was, thus commemorating the popular king and their lives together. In 1873, she founded the Frederick VII's Foundation for Poor Women from the Working Class, and the house was called 'The Danner House'. On her death, she left Jægerspris Castle 'to the benefit of poor and destitute servant girls'.
In the years around 1770 the sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt erected a large number of monuments in the park commemorating famous Danish and Norwegian men and women. There are 54 monuments in the park and the adjacent forest, Slotshegnet. The park also contains Countess Danner’s burial mound and Herman Wilhelm Bissen's bust of Frederik VII. The large oak trees in the southern section of the park were planted by Frederik V to ensure the availability of timber for naval construction. To the north there are avenues of lime trees.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.