The first Vannes Cathedral was erected around 1020 in Romanesque style. The tower is only structure left from it and accommodates the four bells of the church. The present Gothic building was erected on the site of the former cathedral. Its construction extends from the 15th to the 19th centuries, or if the length of the existence of the 13th century Romanesque bell tower is included, a total of seven centuries of construction. In this period the nave and the ornate gateway at the northern end of the north transept – whose twelve niches, according to Breton custom, were supposed to accommodate the Apostles – were built high. The northern tower is the main remnant of the former Romanesque building, while the vaults and the choir were built between 1771 and 1774.
The façade was carved in 1857 in a neo-Gothic style. Outside, in front of the central pillar of the large gate, stands a statue of the Dominican monk St. Vincent Ferrer, from Valencia. His activities in the 15th century greatly influenced Christianity in Vannes. The northern façade opens onto the garden of the cloister (ruins from the 16th century) and the Rue des chanoines ('Street of the Canons') through the beautiful portal at the top of the north transept, built in a Flamboyant late Gothic style (1514), and decorated with twelve niches designed to house statues of the twelve apostles. The cross, visible close to the northern façade, dates back to the 15th century and was brought from the cemetery.
During the Middle Ages, the floor of the cathedral had been covered by tombstones. For hygienic reasons, only the tradition of burying the bishops in their episcopal church has been preserved. However, some tombstones have been returned and can be seen today. The cathedral has only retained tombs dating back to the 17th century. Two bishops' tombs can be found in the crypt under the choir.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.