||Portrait of Emperor Alexander II
Alexander II, elder son of Emperor Nicholas I, was brought up by his father to be an able and informed statesmen. The start of his reign was clouded by the Crimean War and his coronation took place only after the conclusion of the war, on August 26, 1856. Alexander is best remembered today for a radical move, the emancipation of the serfs, announced in a Manifesto of February 19, 1861. He also introduced other, no less important, reforms, including granting self-rule to the Russian gubernias (provinces), uyezds (districts) and cities. His internal and foreign policies were equally successful-new territories were added to Russia, mainly in the East, and the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 was brought to a successful conclusion. But from 1886 onward, Alexander was the object of several assassination attempts. All were unsuccessful until March 1, 1881, when a bomb was thrown at him as he rode along the Catherine (now Griboedov) Canal in his carriage. He later died from wounds received as a result, and the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, which stands on the canal bank today, was built on the site where the assassination took place.