The Early Christian Centre occupied one of the Roman Emona's building plots, which usually measured from 3,000 to 3,600 square metres and were demarcated by four roads. The Centre was located in the vicinity of the Forum and the western town wall, the remains of which have been preserved in the Erjavčeva cesta road across the way from the Cankarjev dom cultural and congress centre. Like most of the buildings in Emona, the Early Christian Centre, referred to by archaeologists as Insula No. 32, was originally a private dwelling, later converted into a public complex. The remains of its foundations and original paving date from the 1st century AD, the time when Emona was first built. The earliest extensive renovation took place at the beginning of the 4th century AD. Renovated paving and newly built pools indicate that the building was turned into public baths.
In the second half of the 4th century, a colour mosaic depicting early Christian symbols was laid along the building's northern façade. Written sources suggest that at the beginning of the 5th century the building was renovated and converted into a centrally heated parish complex. A rectangular baptistery with a small pool was built next to the main courtyard, and to the south of it a large portico (covered walk) with a colour mosaic sufficiently preserved to reveal the name of its maker, Archdeacon Antiochus. The parish complex was pulled down at a time unknown.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.