Naumburg Cathedral is a renowned landmark of the German late Romanesque and has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. The west choir with the famous donor portrait statues of the twelve cathedral founders (Stifterfiguren) and the Lettner, works of the Naumburg Master, is one of the most significant early Gothic monuments.
The history of the town of Naumburg begins at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries. It is likely that Markgraf (Margrave) Ekkehard I of Meissen and the most powerful man on the eastern border of the Holy Roman Empire was the founder. Ekkehard's sons founded a small parish church in the western part of the area around the castle in the early 11th century.
In 1029, just to the east of the existing parish church the construction of the early-Romanesque cathedral was begun. In 1044, during the reign of Bishop Hunold of Merseburg, the church was consecrated. Rebuilding of the cathedral started around 1210. Of the old structure only the crypt survived and this lost its apse, but was expanded to the east and west such that it now extends not just under the new choir but also under the crossing.
In the mid-13th century the early-Gothic west choir was added, replacing the old parish church. It was likely finished by 1260. The western towers were raised by one floor shortly thereafter. In around 1330 the high-Gothic polygonal east choir was built, requiring the destruction of the Romanesque apse. Additional floors were added to the western towers in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Dreikönigskapelle was consecrated in 1416.
A fire damaged the cathedral in 1532, destroying the roofs. After that the eastern towers were raised. The fire also destroyed the three-aisled nave of the collegiate church dedicated to Mary next door to the cathedral, of which today only the choir remains.
The copper roofs and lanterns of the eastern towers were added in 1713/14 and 1725/28. Around mid-century the interior was turned into a Baroque church. This was undone by a 'purification' in 1874/78 aimed at restoring the cathedral to a medieval, i.e. Romanesque/Gothic look, even at the price of replacing Baroque items with new Romanesque/Gothic Revival art.
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.