Residenz Ansbach (Ansbach Residence), also known as Margrave's Palace was the government seat of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
The palace was developed from a medieval building. From 1398 to 1400 Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg, expanded a Stiftshof outside the city walls to a water castle. Structural remains are preserved in the northwest wing of the present building.
George Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, ordered the Swabian architect Blasius Berwart (his chief architect from 1563 to 1580) to build a palace. It was erected in Renaissance style from 1565 to 1575. A large hall was built from 1565 to 1575, now called the 'Gothische Halle' (Gothic Hall) because of its rib vault. It now houses the largest collection of fayence and porcelain of the former Ansbacher Manufaktur.
A century later, the major construction was done by Gabriel de Gabrieli (1694–1716), by Karl Friedrich von Zocha (1719–1730), and by Leopold Retti (1731–1749). Between 1705 and 1738 the building was changed to its present form.
Gabriel de Gabrieli created before 1709 the southeast wing with the main facade in a style similar to Viennese Baroque. The interior dates from 1734 to 1745 under architect Leopoldo Retti. Carlo Carlone created a fresco on the ceiling of the Festsaal (Festive hall). Meissen porcelain is shown in the Spiegelkabinett (Hall of Mirrors).
The interior of the palace has a hall of mirrors with French rococo features; the great hall was provided with painted ceiling and the rooms were fitted with Ansbach porcelain tiles of 18th century vintage. It had a garden that was laid out in the 16th century and modified in the 18th century with an orangerie.
The castle has richly furnished state rooms on the first floor. In 1791, Karl August von Hardenberg, Prussia's representative in Ansbach, added board rooms and a library. From 1806, once the Royal Bavarian Government of Rezatkreis started functioning in Ansbach, the castle's first floor rooms were converted into offices, while the rooms on other floors remained unchanged. Between 1962 and 1974, the last major renovations to the castle were completed. The Bavarian Administration of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes is in charge of the buildings and the museum.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.