Torkilstrup Church was built of hewn fieldstone rather than brick, indicating it is one of the oldest churches on the island from before 1160. The western part of the chancel and the nave from the Romanesque period are built of hewn fieldstone with a few limestone trimmings. Rounded-arch friezes, sometimes with ornamental lilies, decorate the north and south walls of the nave, indicating an early design. The round-arched south door is still in use while the north door is bricked up. In addition to the Romanesque window in the chancel, there are traces of Romanesque windows in the nave's north wall. The extension of chancel possibly occurred as early as the 14th century but could have been during the Late Gothic period when the tower and porch were added. One of the bells in the tower is dated 1491.
The low Romanesque chancel arch was probably adapted when cross-vaulting was added to the nave in the Gothic period. Traces of frescos from the second half of the 15th century have been found in the vaults. The altarpiece (1650) is the work of Jørgen Ringnis, as is the pulpit (1640). The altar painting (1840) is by Lucie Marie Ingemann, depicting the Bible story Suffer the little children to come unto me. An Early Gothic crucifix from c. 1300 hangs in the church. B. S. Ingemann's father, Søren Ingemann, is buried under the floor in the west section of the nave. The almost barrel-shaped Romanesque font of sculpted granite has a rope-shaped rim.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.