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Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

4.8
#2 of 362 in Historic Sites in Moscow
Must see · Church · Tourist Spot
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The symbol of Moscow for over four centuries, centrally located Saint Basil's Cathedral seems like an image plucked out of a book of fairy tales. Constructed in the 1550s on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral features vividly colored onion-shaped domes and an asymmetrical design unusual in traditional Russian architecture. Four of the eight side churches surrounding the main cathedral structure sit on raised platforms, designed to make them appear suspended in air. The massive structure contains a maze of vaulted corridors and vertical cylinders, the largest of which is 46 m (150 ft) tall. Walk inside to see the elaborate Baroque iconostasis, decorated with gilded cornices and corbel arches. Using our online itinerary creator, Moscow attractions like Saint Basil's Cathedral can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Saint Basil's Cathedral reviews

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4.8
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  • Absolutely stunning. The striking visual architecture of the church with the bright, vivid colours adorning every dome and brick is a sight to behold. Absolutely beautiful and an amazing cultural... 
    Absolutely stunning. The striking visual architecture of the church with the bright, vivid colours adorning every dome and brick is a sight to behold. Absolutely beautiful and an amazing cultural...  more »
  • Basil's Cathedral is a real visiting card of Moscow and probably the most recognizable place in Russia. For many who come to Moscow and come to Red Square, it becomes the most striking and memorable....  more
    Basil's Cathedral is a real visiting card of Moscow and probably the most recognizable place in Russia. For many who come to Moscow and come to Red Square, it becomes the most striking and memorable....  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • Saint Basil's Cathedral Saint Basil's Cathedral was built between 1555 and 1561 by Ivan the Terrible in Moscow, Russia. Legend has it that the cathedral's builder was blinded post-construction so that a structure of its beauty could never be built again. Part of its distinctive appearance can be attributed to the colorful domes and vivid redbrick towers. The domes belong to nine different chapels within the cathedral, and each dome is a symbol for the assault on the city of Kazan. The design of the cathedral draws from architectural designs found in Jerusalem, and holds strong religious meanings. When seen from the top, the eight domes surrounding the ninth dome in a circular fashion appear to form a star. The interior of the St Basil's Cathedral greatly differs compared to its exterior, comprising of modest decorations and narrow corridors. The cathedral has suffered damage due to fires, looting, and other incidents on several occasions throughout its history. In one legend, the French ruler Napoleon even wanted to take St. Basil’s Cathedral back to France with him. As this was not feasible, he instead ordered his army to destroy it so that no one else could occupy it. His army had prepared for attack and lit up the gunpowder, but a mysterious rain shower prevented any explosions from occurring.

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