Awesome St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most interesting and beautiful sights of the Russian capital. It was built in the 16th century by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. The cathedral was built in the period from 1555 to 1561 in memory of the capture of the fortress city of Kazan by Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich. There are many versions of who was the true creator of this architectural monument. The first of them is the architect Postnik Yakovlev nicknamed Barma. He was a well-known Pskov master at that time. There is also a version that the cathedral was erected by some unknown Western European master, presumably from Italy. The unique style in which the Cathedral was created harmoniously combined the traditions of Russian and European architecture.
There is also a legend according to which all the architects who worked on the project were blinded by Ivan the Terrible. He didn’t want them to build something similar again. But there is one problem. If the author of the temple is Postnik Yakovlev, then he could not be blinded in any way. Just a few years later, he also worked on the creation of the Kremlin in Kazan.
The cathedral has ten domes: nine of them are located above the main building, and one is above the bell tower. It includes eight churches which are located around the highest one. Domes have a bulbous shape, but differ from each other in their design. All nine churches stand on a common foundation and are connected by vaulted internal passages and a bypass gallery. Until 1595, the royal treasury and the most valuable property of wealthy citizens were kept in the basement. In 1929, the temple was closed and only at the end of the last century its decoration was finally restored.
Basil the Blessed is honored on 15 August. Nowadays, over the very burial of the saint there is a shrine with his relics, decorated with fine carvings. This Moscow shrine is the most revered among the parishioners and guests of the cathedral.
In 1918, the Soviet authorities recognized cathedral as a historical architectural monument of not only national but also international significance and took it under state protection.
Its first superintendent was Ioann Kuznetsov (archpriest). I must say that after the revolution, the temple was, without exaggeration, in a very disastrous condition: almost all the glass was broken, the roof was full of holes in many places, and in winter there were snowdrifts inside. Five years later, it was decided to create a historical and architectural complex on the basis of the cathedral. The museum was closed only during the Great Patriotic War. After the end of the war, the cathedral was restored.
Acoustics in the cathedral is great. The fact is that 460 years ago, builders put a large number of clay pots into the walls. Simple pots, what an effect!
Napoleon wanted to take the cathedral to Paris, but that was impossible. Then he ordered to blow up the cathedral. But a miracle happened – a sudden downpour extinguished the fuses.
The architecture of St. Basil’s Cathedral reminds of Heavenly Jerusalem, where wondrous herbs grow, wondrous birds sing.
It is a symbol of Moscow and all of Russia.