I first saw this church a few years ago at the end of my Trans-Siberian trip. I hadn't read anything about it before the trip. I had seen St. Basil's in Moscow which is a well known and easily recognisable landmark, but this was something I was not expecting. I was blown away...we turned a corner looking for the market to buy some souvenirs and up pops this onion domed beauty! It is quite different from St. Basil's with it's enamel domes and elaborately ornate mosaics and tiling...and in the competition for my favourite onion-dome Russian church, this one is the winner so far!
This Church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. There is a small gazebo over the place where his blood was spilt. On March 13, 1881 (Julian date: March 1), as Tsar Alexander's carriage passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt, got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the presumed culprit. Another conspirator took the chance to explode another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding the tsar. The tsar, bleeding heavily, was taken back to the Winter Palace where he died a few hours later.