The Schnitzturm is a stone tower in the municipality of Stansstad. The first fortification along the lake shore was the Teller, a wooden block building and wall built out in Lake Lucerne and dendrochronologically dated to 1206/07. In the late 13th or early 14th centuries the tower was built on an artificial spit which projected out into the lake as part of the defenses around Stansstad. In addition to the Schnitzturm, a defensive wall or palisade consisting of about 8,000 wooden pillars driven into the lake at a depth of about 2 m. The palisade had a channel in it, known as the Grendel, to allow boats to enter the harbor. Exactly when the tower was first built is unknown, but it appears in a 1428 chronicle of the 1315 Battle of Morgarten. According to the chronicle, during an attack of Habsburg troops from Lucerne, an enemy ship was destroyed by a mill stone launched from the tower. Despite the efforts of the defenders, the attackers broke through and Stansstad was plundered. After the 1315 attack, the defenses were strengthened with earthen and stone walls and ditches along the shore.
The Schnitzturm and other defenses lost their importance after 1332 when Lucerne joined the Old Swiss Confederacy. The palisade was not repaired as the posts rotted away. After the division of Unterwalden into Obwalden and Nidwalden in the 1350s, both successor half-cantons were responsible for upkeep of the defenses at Stansstad. This arraignment proved to be problematic and by 1587 the tower had fallen into disrepair. In that year, a special Landsgemeinde decided to repair the tower. The project took about two years and completely renovated the tower. The round arch windows were added as was the current entrance on the south side at ground level. The original entrance on the second floor corner was closed off. A flat hipped roof was built on top of the tower.
The roof was damaged by lightning in 1634 and only partly repaired in the following year. The interior was soon destroyed by the leaky roof and the tower began to be used to dry fishing nets. It was repaired again by Obwalden in 1736. The last military use of the tower was during the 1798 French invasion. The palisade was hastily replaced with floating fir tree trunks and the Schnitzturm was manned. They held off the French fleet for several days, but on 9 April 1798 French troops broke through on the land side and captured the town. The town and the tower were burned by the victorious soldiers. In 1880 the cantonal authorities repaired the tower, built a staircase and observation platform and readded the crenelations that existed before the 1635 roof.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.