Pazin Castle is built on a solid rock situated in the middle of the town of Pazin, the administrative seat of Istria County. It is the largest and best-preserved castle in that westernmost Croatian county. The fortified structure was constructed of hewn stone, and, during its 1100 years long history, subjected to several major reconstructions and renovations.
The Pazin Castle was first mentioned in 983 in a document issued by Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor, confirming the possession of the castle to bishop of Poreč. In the 12th century the bishops of Poreč ceded it to Meinhard of Schwarzenburg, owner of Črnigrad Castle, then to Meinhard I, Count of Gorizia, and finally to Meinhard, Margrave of Istria (d. 1193) and his successors.
In 1374 Albert IV, Margrave of Gorizia, died without successors and the castle was inherited by the members of the House of Habsburg. They rented or mortgaged it many times during the next few centuries to various noblemen closely related to them.
The castle was finally sold to Antonio Laderchi de Montecuccoli in 1766 and remained the property of his family until 1945. In the meantime, various countries around the castle changed many times over the last more than 200 years: after the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797, Pazin belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy, then to Napoleon's French Empire, again to the Habsburg Monarchy, in 1918 to Italy, in 1945 to Yugoslavia, and in 1991 to Croatia.
Today, the Pazin Castle houses the Ethnographic Museum with exhibits of the life of the Istrian peninsula inhabitants.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.