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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Details

Founded: 1555-1560
Category: Religious sites in Russia

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jessy K George (2 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
Juwita Triana (3 months ago)
The Orthodox Christian cathedral with a building shape that is somewhat different from the church in my country. The building is very unique, colorful, with a dome-shaped tower. It is located in Red Square, where many historical landmark buildings are located in Moscow.
Emma Louise (4 months ago)
Probably one of the beautiful spots on Moscow for tourists to take a picture
Giorgia Pgg (4 months ago)
Worth the entrance fee,this cathedral is just as beautiful inside with every inch of it painted and decorated. Very intimate and cozy with lots of stairs that lead to lookout points or interesting niches. Unlike at the Kremlin museum,here you are allowed to take pictures.
Alex K. (5 months ago)
these are stunning sights in Russia. Must visit when you are in Russia
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