St. Basil’s Cathedral

St. Basil Cathedral - Moscow

St. Basil Cathedral – The Red Square, Moscow

In the historical centre of the capital of Russia, Moscow, above one of the largest squares in the world overlooks Russian’s most recognizable landmark – St. Basil’s Cathedral. The cathedral was built by the decree of Ivan the Terrible in the fifties of the 16th century, to mark the conquest of the capital of the Kazan Khanate – Kazan. The temple was constructed on the site of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, in which the hallows of the fool in Christ Basil after his death rested, so much venerated by the Muscovites, it was in honour of him that the cathedral was named.

Eight domes that are located on the same number of chapels, surround the central tent-shaped temple, which is crowned by a small head. The chapels embowering the central part are arranged in the form of a cross, four large and four small churches. The number ‘eight’ appears in the architecture not by chance, it was chosen as a reminder of the eight decisive days in the battle for Kazan. However, at the end of the 16th century another chapel was added to the church, and it is in that chapel that the relics of St. Basil are held today.

St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow in autumn

St. Basil Cathedral in autumn

St. Basil’s Cathedral was within an ace of sharing the fate of many Orthodox Cathedrals when the Communists came, the decision to demolish this unique monument would have been signed by Stalin if the architect Baranovsky had not interfered and dared to send a telegram to the dictator defending the temple. He sacrified three years of his own freedom for that, but he somehow managed to save the Great Monument of Russia.

As for the appearance of the cathedral, it was originally different from what you can see now, it had white walls hiding the masonry of red brick, crowned with golden domes. But in the 40s of the 19th century the facade of the church was repainted and acquired a present appearance, the last major restoration was carried out in the end of the 20th century. As for the interior decoration of the temple, it is dominated by floral ornamentation and classical carving, the chapels and the central church are highly decorated with unique icons, many of which are framed in gold. Getting inside the temple, you feel as if you traveled several centuries into the past and the inseparable connection between the generations of Russian people becomes so tangible and obvious.

The domes of St. Basil Cathedral

St. Basil Cathedral – Moscow

It is also worth noticing that you can see a sufficient number of monuments next to the church, the majority of which are located outside the walls of the Moscow Kremlin. In the immediate proximity to the temple there is a monument to Russian heroes K. Minin and D. Pozharsky, whose army drove foreign invaders from Moscow during the Time of Troubles.

%d bloggers like this: