The spectacular Cathedral of Saint Basil in Moscow

The domes of the Cathedral of Saint Basil

The Cathedral of Saint Basil ©saragoldsmith/Flick

The Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow with its multicolored domes located at the edge of the Red Square is the most famous image of Russia. It has an impressive design and it was made to the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the victory of his the military campaign against the Tartar Mongols in Kazan in 1552. The cathedral was built between 1555 and 1561.

According to the legends Ivan was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the cathedral that he ordered the architect Yakovlev Postnik to be blinded to prevent the construction of other buildings that could rival with the cathedral.

However, the architect also built a cathedral in Vladimir despite his visual disability.

The name of the cathedral

The church was called “Saint Basil” after Saint Basil the Blessed (1468 – 1552), who was extremely popular among the masses of people in Moscow at that time and even by Ivan the Terrible. Prior to the Cathedral of Saint Basil at that place lied the Trinity Cathedral.

Saint Basil's Cathedral at the edge of the Red Square

Saint Basil’s Cathedral at the edge of the Red Square ©Bernt Rostad/Flick

Hard times for the church building

The church escaped several times from destruction during the very tumultuous history of Moscow. According to another legend Napoleon was so impressed by St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow that he wanted to take it back to Paris with him, but because such a thing was impossible, he ordered to be destroyed after the French withdrawal from the city. The French troops wanted to set the cathedral on fire but a miraculous heavy rain saved the building from it. In the early 20th century, the cathedral almost fall victim of the atheist principles of the Bolshevik regime. Thankfully Stalin the demolition plans of the cathedral. With the beginning of the Soviet regime the Saint Basil’s Cathedral was closed and then turned into a museum.

The architecture of the cathedral

The cathedral has a central chapel surrounded by eight chapels of brick towers, each crowned with a dome with a colorful and unique pattern in the form of an onion.

The domes of the Cathedral of Saint Basil

The domes of the Cathedral of Saint Basil ©saragoldsmith/Flick

The interior is a maze of dark corridors and delicately decorated chapels. One of them is sheltering a priceless paravane from the 16th century, decorated with icons that protects the inner sanctuary. In 1588 a new chapel was built to house the tomb of Basil the Blessed.

Nowadays the Cathedral of Saint Basil became a symbol of the city of Moscow and an important tourist attraction. It is ultimately one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in the world.

The Saint Basil's Cathedral

The Saint Basil’s Cathedral ©Tanya.K./Flick

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