St. Basil's Cathedral

Moscow, Russia

St. Basil's Cathedral was built to commemorate the capture of the Tatar stronghold of Kazan in 1552, which occured on the Feast of the Intercession of the Virgin. It is named after St. Basil the Blessed. Basil impressed Ivan in 1547 when he foretold a fire that swept through Moscow that year. Upon his death, Basil was buried in the Trinity Cathedral that stood on this site at the time. The cathedral was constructed from 1555 to 1560. In 1588, Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich added a ninth chapel added on the eastern side to house the grave of St. Basil.

St. Basil"s Cathedral consists of nine chapels built on a single foundation. The riot of color and shapes that is St. Basil"s Cathedral is unmatched anywhere else in the world. The powerfully eastern design of St. Basil"s reflects both its location between Europe and Asia and its historical origins. Since the Kazan Qolsharif mosque had been the principal symbol of the Khanate captured by Ivan the Terrible, some elements from the mosque were incorporated into the cathedral to symbolize the victory.

Although the towers and domes appear chaotic, there is symmetry and symbolism in its design. There are eight domed chapels symbolizing the eight assaults on Kazan: four large and octagonal and four small and square. In the center is a tent-roofed spire topped with a small golden dome. The ninth chapel on the east side added in 1588 for Basil"s tomb interrupts the symmetery of design somewhat. It can be recognized on the outside by its green-and-gold dome studded with with golden pyramids.

The interior is a maze of galleries winding from chapel to chapel and level to level via narrow stairways and low arches. The walls are painted in floral and geometric patterns.

St. Basil the Blessed can be visited in his chapel on the lower floor, where he lies in a silver casket in gaudy splendor. Upstairs, the Chapel of the Intercession contains the equally splendid blue and gold iconostasis. Other chapels, such as that of St. Nicholas, are more restrained and even austere in their decor.

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Founded: 1555-1560
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anastasiia Iun (6 months ago)
Extremely pretty place. Beautiful. Wow. Such an amazing and astonishing place to visit. Absolutely highly recommend to visit it if you have never been there. Moscow is not Moscow without St. Basil's Cathedral. So far, this is the only church I would love to visit over and over again! ?
GOVIND CHAUDHARY (7 months ago)
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is an Orthodox church in Red Square of Moscow, and is one of the most popular cultural symbols of Russia. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, or Pokrovsky Cathedral. It was built from 1555 to 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. It was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600
Vijay Aadhithya (10 months ago)
St. Basil cathedral also known as the cathedral of intercession, is a very famous cathedral in Moscow, Russia. It is in the area called red square. It was build in 1555-1561. It has 8 distinctive onion shaped Towers.
Ecom Billionaire (10 months ago)
The setting inside is even more extraodinarily beautiful than the exterior. This is not one single church but a mosaic of individual chapels all uniquely decorated and linking one into the other. A dozen dramatic spaces steeped in orthodox imagery and richly textured walls connect together through narrow corridors like the intimate setting of a fantasy novel. This site must be experienced to be believed.
Jessy K George (11 months ago)
One of the most popular cultural symbols of Russia. The building is converted into a museum now.The design and the multi coloured onion shape domes dates back to 17th century
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