The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here and hence it became the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages (Italian palazzo, French palais, German Palast).
According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. Another legend occuring on the Palatine is Hercules' defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where later a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed.
Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Excavations show that people have lived in the area since the 10th century BC. The Palatine Hill was also the site of the ancient festival of the Lupercalia. Many affluent Romans of the Republican period (c.509 BC-44 BC) had their residences there.
From the start of the Empire (27 BC) Augustus built his palace there and the hill gradually became the exclusive domain of emperors; the ruins of the palaces of at least Augustus (27 BC-14 AD), Tiberius (14-37 AD) and Domitian (81-96 AD) can still be seen. Augustus also built a temple to Apollo here. The great fire of 64 AD destroyed Nero's palace, but he replaced it by 69 AD with the even larger Domus Aurea over which was built Domitian's Palace
The Palatine Hill is an archaeological site open to the public. The Palace of Domitian which dominates the site and looks out over the Circus Maximus was rebuilt largely during the reign of Domitian over earlier buildings of Nero.
The House of 'Livia', the wife of Augustus, is conventially attributed to her based only on the generic name on a clay pipe and circumstantial factors such as proximity to the House of Augustus. The building is located near the Temple of Magna Mater at the western end of the hill, on a lower terrace from the temple. It is notable for its beautiful frescoes.
The House of Tiberius is located next to the Temple of Cybele, on the platform built by Nero and in the current Farnese Gardens.
There are also remains of other temples and palaces on the Palatine Hill.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.