Güstrow Palace is a Renaissance-era palatial schlossb built in 1558 for Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg. The palace features stucco decorations and a Baroque-classicist gatehouse.
Construction of the present palace was initiated in 1558 by Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, in place of a medieval castle. Franciscus Pahr was the master builder who constructed the additional south and west wings in a fusion of Italian, French, and German architectural styles, unique for the time and area.
In 1657, Gustav Adolf, the last Duke of Güstrow, engaged Charles Philippe Dieussart to refurbish parts of his palace in modern style. The Baroque gatehouse and the palace bridge were built during this time. After the end of ducal control, between 1817 and 1950, the palace became the farm house of Mecklenburg workers. Further restoration took place from 1963 to 1978, when the palace was restored to its original grandeur.
Güstrow Palace is quadrangular in shape. Some of the old furniture has been removed to Schwerin and other places following the death of Magdalena Sybilla which marked the end of the Güstrow lineage. In one part of the palace, there are well preserved Flemish paintings; one particular painting is of a Dutchman smoking. A theatre is in good shape with well preserved original stucco paintings. The stucco ceilings are retained in their original form in the palace. The banquet hall's ceiling has unique stucco paintings of hunting scenes which are adaptations from Dutch copper engravings. The medieval rooms in the basement of the palace, which are vaulted, have many artifacts of the medieval period of Germany. The art chamber contains exhibits of hunting and ceremonial weapons. The refurbished former dining halls, residential and reception rooms have exhibits of paintings of Cranach, Marten de Vos, and Tintoretto. Antique ceramic vessels and a large number of glass items are on display in the former chamber of the duchess. There are also displays from the 19th to 21st centuries.
The grounds contain stables and a well-tended garden. The garden has been redone with beds of lavender and walkways.
The palace houses a museum related to the male line of Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg's family, presenting also art exhibitions and concerts.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.