According to an inscription found next to the eastern town gate of Emona, on the site of the present Trg francoske revolucije square, the Roman town walls were built between 14 and 15 AD. The rectangular-shaped walls surrounding the town centre measured 2.4 metres wide and from 6 to 8 metres high. They included at least 26 towers and four main gates. The towers were erected at equal distances along the length of the walls and next to the town's side gates as extensions of Emona's roads. On all sides except the east, which was naturally protected by a slope descending towards the Ljubljanica river, the town was additionally protected by a double moat.
The wall shell was built from carved stone blocks bound with mortar and filled with a conglomerate of river pebbles, small rocks, sand and lime. The wall structure was so solid and robust that certain parts of the wall survived for as long as 2,000 years. The inner structure of the wall is visible in the Mirje suburb, the location of the part of the walls which stood to the west of the main southern gate of Emona. For security reasons some of the side gates had been walled up already in Roman times to ward off attacks from barbarian tribes. One of the surviving walled-up gates can be seen in the western part of the walls in Mirje.
In the 1930s, the town wall complex in Mirje was restored to a design by the architect Jože Plečnik. His additions to the surviving Roman walls include a stone pyramid, upward extensions of the walls, the gates to the wall complex, an arched vault covered in stone remains from nearby Roman buildings, and a park inside the walls. Also the colonnade next to the main southern gate is of non-Roman origin. The walls were renovated in the 1990s.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.