St. Basil's Cathedral

St. Basil's Cathedral | OneTravel, photo: Brooke Schoenman

 

 

You simply can't leave Moscow without seeing it, and until you snag a peek of the colorful dome tops, you probably won't feel like you've arrived.

 

St Basil's Cathedral has proven to be an iconic landmark for the Russian capital city of Moscow. Stately and firmly seated in the heart of the Red Square, this cathedral attracts thousands of tourists every single day.  But what do you really know about this visually delightful attraction?

 

Have a read to discover 10 things you might not know about St. Basil's:

 

1.      The cathedral goes by several names, and while St. Basil's is the most popular for travelers, the main names given and used by the Russian Orthodox Church are “The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat” or “Pokrovsky Cathedral”.

 

2.      The cathedral took six years to build (1555 to 1561), and was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible after conquering Kazan.

 

3.      It is said that Ivan the Terrible thought the building to be so spectacular that he ordered the architect to be blinded so that he may never create something as grand anywhere else in the world.

 

4.      Originally, the cathedral is said to have had 25 domes, one representing God and 24 representing the Elders that were to surround him.  Today, there are nine.

 

5.      The nine domes sit on top of the cathedral's nine chapels.

 

6.      The walls of the original construction were all white.

 

7.      The cathedral has been nearly destroyed on three separate occasions. The first time was from a huge fire in 1737, and after restoration, it was given the look it has today.  In 1812, bombs during Napoleon's invasion nearly took it to the ground.  Again, in the early 1900’s, the Bolsheviks had their way with the cathedral.

 

8.      Stalin, however, refused to remove the cathedral, even against the request of a popular politician.

 

9.      The cathedral now has 19 bells that were collected after the fall of the Soviet Union from various countries around the world.

 

10.  St. Basils is now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

Photo: Brooke Schoenman

 

 

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