Nesactium was an ancient fortified town and hill fort of the Histri tribe. In pre-Roman times, Nesactium, ruled by its legendary king Epulon, was the capital of the tribal population of the peninsula called Histri, who were also connected to the prehistoric Castellieri culture. Some theories state a later Celtic influence, but who they were and where they came from has never been discovered for certain. It is believed that their main economic activities were trade and piracy all over the ancient Mediterranean Sea.
In 177 BC, the town was conquered by the Romans and destroyed. Rebuilt upon the original Histrian pattern, it was a Roman town until 46–45 BC, when the Ancient Greek colony Polai was elevated to Pietas Iulia, today Pula. The town was located on the ancient road Via Flavia, which connected Trieste to Dalmatia. The area was abandoned by the Romans in the 6th century, following the Slav invasions.
At the end of the fourth century, the walls were renewed. Two churches were added, next to each other, between the bathhouse and the forum. The southern one, the largest, was probably dedicated to Mary and used for the daily ceremonies; the northern one was used for baptisms and religious ceremonies. There are traces of fire, which may have something to do with the Avar attacks on Histria in 600 and 611.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.