The Church on the Blood – Yekaterinburg, Russia - Atlas Obscura

The Church on the Blood

Church built on the site where the last tsar of Russia and his family were killed. 


Called the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land, this church stands on the site where the last tsar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, and his family were executed.

The year was 1918. After almost a year of confinement, Emperor Nicholas, his wife, and their children were gathered at an engineer’s home in Yekaterinburg, Russia, to meet their fate. The Bolsheviks who held them had received orders to kill the royal family and destroy the bodies with acid so that they would not become objects of veneration.

When Nicholas and his family arrived, the Empress complained that there were no chairs. Chairs were brought in, the family was seated, and they were then informed that they were sentenced to death. “What? What?” shouted a stunned Nicholas before he was killed in a hail of bullets to the chest. His daughters survived the first round of bullets, protected by the dozens of gems and diamonds sewn into their underclothes. The executioners, horrified that rumors that the tsars were supernatural might be true, quickly disproved that myth by stabbing the girls with their bayonets and shooting them at point-blank range in their heads.

The home which stood on the site was demolished in 1977, but the basement of the structure remained. Visitors still came to the barren location, despite the removal of the home, to remember the fallen family. Finally, in 2000, approval was given to erect a church on the spot of the murders. Construction was completed in 2003, with the basement from the original home becoming a part of the present structure.

Special Tsar’s Days are held each year during July in Yekaterinburg, accompanied by pageants held in remembrance of the Romanov Dynasty. Easter week is another important holiday, with the privilege to ring the bells of the church granted to visitors.

About ten miles outside Yekaterinburg, the seven chapels at Ganina Yama mark the mine shaft where the Romanov bodies were first buried.

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October 8, 2010

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