St. Basil’s Cathedral is an iconic 16th-century structure in Moscow, Russia. It stands as a symbol of Russian imperial triumph, and its many tiers of colorful onion domes are unmissable for visitors to Red Square.
Constructed between 1555 and 1561, it was commissioned by Tsar Ivan the Terrible to commemorate a victorious showdown against the Khanate of Kazan.
The unique onion-shaped domes were intended to be symbolic representations of the heavenly sphere, representing heaven seen on earth. This breathtaking symbol has stood firm for over four centuries
Today, St. Basil’s remains a popular tourist destination and one of the most symbolically powerful structures in Moscow.
St. Basil’s Cathedral Facts for Kids
- St. Basil’s is located in Moscow, Russia.
- It was built in the 16th century.
- It has nine domes.
- It was named after Saint Basil the Blessed.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- It is a popular tourist attraction in Russia.
What is St. Basil’s Cathedral?
St. Basil’s Cathedral is an eight-domed Resurrection Church that was originally built in 1561 on the orders of Tsar Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the Terrible) to commemorate his campaign victory over the Mongol Empire on European lands.
It sits in Red Square, Moscow, and possesses a colorful blend of Russian and Byzantine styles.
Who Built St. Basil’s Cathedral?
The two architects responsible for building St. Basil’s Cathedral remain unknown, although tradition suggests that Barma and Postnik Yakovlev were responsible for its creation.
When was St. Basil’s Cathedral Completed?
Construction of St. Basils’ Cathedral commenced in 1555 and was completed within six years in 1561 AD, making it one of the oldest monuments still standing today in Moscow, Russia.
What Happened After Construction?
St. Basil’s Cathedral went through numerous periods of reconstruction after its initial construction, including restorations and rebuilds due to fires and damage.
From the 16th century until WWI, it received various renovations, including the installation of its first modern heating system in 1908. During WWII, restoration projects were undertaken to restore levels, platforms, ceilings, and galleries, resulting in the beautiful historical symbol of Russian strength and culture that we see today.
What is the architecture like?
The staggered layout, cylindrical shapes, white stone foundation, red brickwork, and architectural elements that mimic traditional Italian structures create a grandiose yet delicate presence in downtown Moscow.
From the outside, the cathedral appears slightly offset to the west, which creates an asymmetrical look.
On closer inspection, you can explore its maze-like pathways and stairwells within each chapel, leading to vertical cylinders encased by narrow corridors, many with ancient paintings and impressive iconostases (ornamental religious screens).
What influences did it have?
Although European influences were obvious during construction, there was much speculation that ‘Asiatic’ styles also played some role in its design, as certain experts suggested looking for Chinese or Islamic inspiration.
As such, names like Petrus Gallus from England were brought in alongside German builders who then added their own distinct customizations to features found within St. Basil’s Cathedral until completion – giving it a fascinating history that attracts millions to its grounds every year!
What makes St. Basil’s iconic?
St. Basil’s is renowned for its striking exterior – characterized by colorful walls decorated with geometric figures and ceramics meant to mimic the “rainbow” from Revelation – that make it instantly recognizable throughout the world as a symbol of Russia’s rich cultural heritage and remarkable history forged in its home at Red Square since the mid-15th century.
The iconic building stands tall today due to its maintained dominance within the Moscow skyline for centuries despite numerous attempts to demolish it over time. This was only done successfully after Napoleon’s plundering campaign during the French invasion of Russia during the 1812 War.
It almost completely destroyed all churches within 3 miles radius around the city center keeping only four sides on the main sanctuary with the central dome intact.
Important Facts and Overview
St. Basil’s Cathedral is a famous cathedral located in Moscow, Russia.
It is a popular tourist attraction and is often visited during religious holidays.
The cathedral is known for its distinctive design, which features eight onion-shaped towers arranged in the shape of an eight-point star.
Each tower represents one of the eight churches that originally stood on the site.
Inside the cathedral, there is a lobnoye mesto, or stone platform, where important announcements were made, and public punishment was carried out.
The cathedral is also known for its ninth spire, which was added in the 17th century.
It is said that the spire was added to honor the city’s defense against Napolean Bonaparte’s army.
The exterior of the cathedral is colorful, with intricate patterns and designs covering its surface.
The cathedral was built in the 16th century and has undergone numerous periods of reconstruction due to fires and other damage.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered a symbol of Russian history and strength.