St. Peter's is a Romanesque church in Syburg, now a suburb of Dortmund. Standing on a rocky outcrop above the confluence of the Ruhr and the Lenne, the sandstone church is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the area.
The church is surrounded by a graveyard, which contains the oldest gravestones in Westphalia; three stones date back to between 750 and 850, one of which is in the church.
In his desire for Christianization, Charlemagne conquered the strategic area in 775. The original church, described as a basilica, is documented in the Annals of Lorsch as early as 776, making it the oldest in Dortmund and probably in Westphalia. Remnants of the simple rectangular wooden building are now under examination. The neighbouring castle of Hohensyburg, taken the same year by the Saxons, was liberated by Pope Leo III in 799.
The present-day building was built around 1100 with a flat ceiling and was a Wehrkirche (Fortified church). The tower, still standing today, was built in the 13th century. The church was an important medieval pilgrimage site. The church was damaged by fire in 1673 during the Franco-Dutch War leading to the destruction of the Romanesque apse. Replacing the apse, the chancel was built in 1688 with pointed windows in the Gothic style.
In the spring on 1945, at the end of World War II, the church was badly damaged by a bomb which completely destroyed the nave. It was rebuilt, together with section of the chancel, from 1953 to 1954. During excavations in 1950-51, 1976-77 and 1983, foundations of a Romanesque apse and a square building from the time of Charlemagne were found.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.