The Sint Janskerk (St. John's Church) is a large Gothic church, known especially for its stained glass windows, for which it has been placed on the UNESCO list of Dutch monuments.
The church is dedicated to John the Baptist, the patron saint of Gouda, and was built during the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1552 a large part of the church burned, including the archives. Most information of the early period is taken from the diaries of Ignatius Walvis. Around 1350 a tower was built (only the lower part remains). In 1485 the foundation was built for the present-day choir. This expansion made the church the longest in the Netherlands, with a length of 123 meters.
The stained glass windows were made and installed primarily by the brothers Dirk and Wouter Crabeth I, in the years 1555-1571, and after a short stop for the Protestant Reformation, until 1603. During the Reformation the church was spared, because the city fathers sided with the reigning king Philip II of Spain, rather than William the Silent, representing the Orange rebels. Later, after the orangists conquered the northern half of Holland, Gouda reverted to Orange in 1572. It was only during this period that the church was in danger, and three weeks later an angry mob stormed the church and plundered the contents, but fortunately left the windows intact. The church was closed, but many wealthy regents of the city attempted to have it reopened. In 1573 the Gouda council prohibited the practise of Roman Catholic religion and in the summer it was opened for the Protestant Dutch Reformed faith, which it still has today.
In 1934 the Van der Vorm chapel was added to house the 7 regulierenglazen from the monastery in the town of Stein in Limburg.
In 1939 the stained glass was removed in anticipation of war with Germany. Later during the war, in 1944, when 51,000 men were called for service from Schiedam and Rotterdam, about 2800 were marched to Gouda, where they spent the night in this church on November 10.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.