Fredriksvern or Stavern has probably been a harbor since ancient times. The name is found in written sources the 11th century and in the 12th century it is referred to as a good fishing harbor. The military activities in Stavern began with building of Staverns Fortress, part of a major construction of Norwegian Fortresses which took place from 1675 to 1679 under Christian IV. Citadellet Fort was built in the 1680s by count Fredrik Gyldenløve and had an important role during the last Nordic war from 1709 to 1720.
During the winter of 1748-1749 Fredrik V ordered construction of a shipyard and a drydock in Norway and in 1750 the first Norwegian naval command base was constructed. The king did so as a defensive measure in the event of a war with Sweden. A naval station in Norway could support land strength in the event of a Swedish invasion by cutting off naval transport of Swedish troops and supplies, reducing the risk of such an invasion. Fredriksværns Værft (the shipyard) was finished in 1750 and a number of vessels were built there, including a frigate in 1775. Fredriksvern Church was finished in 1756 as the garrison church in a style with influences from both Renaissance and Baroque.
The main base for the Common Fleet was at Copenhagen, but when Norway and Denmark split in 1814 Fredriksvern became the main base for the Royal Norwegian Navy. The Common fleet had been decimated by the British robbery in 1807 and the Norwegians got the lesser share of what was left when the union was ended. It soon became apparent that major expansion of the navy had to take place. Fredriksvern had one strategic flaw, it was difficult to defend from a land based attack. In addition its capacity was too small for the new expanded navy. Already in 1815 it was decided to look for a new location for the main naval base. But Norway was extremely poor and both the fleet expansion and the building of the new base was delayed. During the 1830s a new main naval base was constructed at Horten, but Fredriksvern continued to be an important naval base and remained active as an air force academy until 2002.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.