Russia’s Epitome: St. Basil’s Cathedral

Russia’s Epitome: St. Basil’s Cathedral

Designed by Russian architects Postnik and Barma, the St. Basil’s Cathedral is situated on Red Square, opposite the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin. It wouldn’t be wrong to assert that St. Basil’s Cathedral is considered to be the most recognizable sight of Moscow. It has been named after the “holy fool” Basil the Blessed, who was very popular with Ivan the Terrible, the then reigning Russian Tsar.

St. Basil’s Cathedral has an interesting history behind its construction. In 1552, Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible won a decisive battle against the Tartars near Kazan. Upon his return home, he commissioned the construction of St. Basil’s Cathedral, in order to commemorate this victory. It took six years,that is from 1555 till 1561 for the completion of the cathedral. Since the victory of Ivan the Terrible over Tartars took place on the feast day of the Intercession of Virgin, the new church was named Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, which actually happens to be the official name of St. Basil’s Cathedral.

The structure of St. Basil’s Cathedral is a symmetrical architectural ensemble such that there are eight churches surrounding a central ninth, which happens to be the highest one. However, when it was built, the cathedral was very different from how we see it today. The cathedral was all white and the onion domes were gold instead of the multi coloured patterns they have today. As per legends, Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded so that they couldn’t create anything in comparison to St. Basil’s Cathedral’s glory. What is also interesting about the St. Basil’s Cathedral is the fact that it has no precedent in terms of architectural style, anywhere in any form of Russian architecture. Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to assert that St. Basil’s Cathedral is a unique structure.

St. Basil’s Cathedral has been subjected to a lot of destruction due to both natural calamities and man-made disaster, resulting in its deterioration over the years. Thus, it has been renovated a lot of times to restore it to its glory.

In order to reach Moscow, where St. Basil’s Cathedral is located, the best option is to take a flight and land at Moscow, which is well connected via flights with other countries. Once you reach Moscow, then a taxi can be hired or public transport can be used to visit St. Basil’s Cathedral, which situated on Red Square, opposite the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin.

Visitors ought to note that St. Basil’s Cathedral is open on all days except for Tuesday. The timings for visiting St. Basil’s Cathedral are from 11am to 5:30pm. So visitors should plan their visit accordingly and come.

As per travel enthusiasts, the months of April and May are considered to be the best months to visit Moscow, where St. Basil’s Cathedral is located, particularly if you want to avoid crowds. Winters are best avoided as Moscow is well known for its harsh and chilly winters. Though the the city is warm and bustling during the peak summer months, this also happens to be the ‘on’ season, when hotel rates escalate.

So to get a glimpse of Russian architecture, do plan a visit to St. Basil’s Cathedral!

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