The octagonal Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It is situated between the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysées. In 1763, a large statue of king Louis XV was erected at this site to celebrate the recovery of the king after a serious illness. The square surrounding the statue was created later, in 1772, by the architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel. It was known as the place Louis XV.
In 1792, during the French revolution, the statue was replaced by a another, large statue, called Liberté (freedom) and the square was called Place de la Révolution. A guillotine was installed at the center of the square and in a time span of only a couple of years, 1119 people were beheaded here. Amongst them many famous people like King Louis XVI, Marie-Antionette, and Obelisk at Place de la Concorde, Paris revolutionary Robespierre, just to name a few. After the revolution the square was renamed several times until 1830, when it was given the current name Place de la Concorde.
In the 19th century the 3200 years old obelisk from the temple of Ramses II at Thebes was installed at the center of the Place de la Concorde. It is a 23 meters tall monolith in pink granite and weighs approximately 230 tons. In 1831, it was offered by the Viceroy of Egypt to Louis Philippe. The obelisk is covered with hieroglyphs picturing the reign of pharaohs Ramses II & Ramses III. Pictures on the pedestal describe the transportation to Paris and its installation at the square in 1836.
At each corner of the octagonal square is a statue representing a French city: Bordeaux, Brest, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rouen and Strasbourg. They were installed in 1836 by Jacob Ignaz Hittorf, who redesigned the Place de la Concorde between 1833 and 1846. That same year a bronze fountain, called La fontaine des Mers was added to the square. A second one, the Elevation of the Maritime fountain, was installed in 1839. Both fountains were designed by Hittorf.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.