Poiters Cathedral construction began in 1162 by Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine on the ruins of a Roman basilica, and work was well advanced by the end of the 12th century. It is the largest medieval monument in the city of Poitiers.
It is built in the Romanesque and Early Gothic styles, the latter predominating. It consists of three naves almost equal in height and width, all three of which decrease towards the west, thus enhancing the perspective. Its length is 308 ft., and the keystone of the central vaulted roof is 89 ft. above the pavement. There is no apse, and the exterior generally has a heavy appearance. The principal front, which is broad relative to its height, has unfinished side-towers 105 and 110 ft. tall, begun in the 13th century.
Most of the windows of the choir and the transepts preserve their stained glass of the 12th and 13th centuries; the end window, which is certainly the first in the order of time, contains the figures of Henry II and Eleanor. The choir stalls, carved between 1235 and 1257, are among the oldest in France.
On the night of 25 December 1681 the organ was destroyed by fire. It was not until 1770-78 that a campaign was launched to build a replacement. François-Henri Clicquot, at that time the leading organ-builder in France, was appointed to undertake the work, but died in Pentecost 1790 before completing the work. His son, Claude-François Clicquot, finished the job, handing it over for presentation in March 1791. The instrument is a beautiful example of eighteenth-century organ design, and is still largely intact.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.