The Château de Blain was originally constructed by order of Alan IV, Duke of Brittany, around 1108. The fortress passed by marriage to the Clisson family in 1225. Following Olivier I de Clisson's revolt against the Duke, the castle was razed in 1260.
Olivier I's son, Olivier II obtained permission from the Duke to rebuild the castle. The Clissons progressively enlarged the castle during the 14th century. In 1407, the castle became the property of the House of Rohan. Louis, duc de Rohan is buried here. During the French Wars of Religion, the castle was besieged and set on fire in 1591 during the fighting between the Duke of Mercœur and Jean de Montauban, the knight De Goust. It was restored by Catherine de Parthenay, who installed herself there with her children. In 1628, Henri II de Rohan having become the leader of the Protestant princes, Cardinal Richelieu ordered the dismantling of the castle which thus lost its military role.
The castle suffered further serious damage during the French Revolution. It was pillaged and burnt, along with the Rohan family archives. It served as a barracks and later as a prison. It passed through the hands of several proprietors, including Marie Bonaparte in 1918. These owners remodelled the north wing (known as the Logis du Roy) and the Mill Tower (la tour du moulin).
The South West Tower and the Drawbridge Tower with the buildings on either side form the entrance to the castle. Along with the Constable's Tower (tour du Connétable), the two towers in the south east and the monumental entrance on the south facade of the logis du Roi, they date from before the 17th century. Together with the remains of the towers and the fortifications linking them, these have been classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. The north wing of the logis du Roi was remodelled in the 19th century. The castle is home to a fresco centre and an ancient printshop. It has been listed since 1977 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.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.