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Home / Russia Factfile / Seven Wonders of Russia /

Saint Basil the Blessed Cathedral





Photo: http://www.ruschudo.ru/

Other pictures of the Cathedral

   

Saint Basil the Blessed is not only the main temple of the Red Square in Moscow; it is a symbol of Russia as well. It was constructed in 1555-1561 under Ivan the Terrible decree in honor of the capture of the Kazan khanate. The attack of Kazan began on October 1st, 1552, on the holiday of the Protection of God's Mother; therefore the "official" name of the temple is the temple of the Protection of God's Mother.

The cathedral is a symmetric ensemble of eight churches surrounding the central church, which is topped with a tented roof. Each of the eight churches was named in honor of the saints, in whose day this or that important event of the Kazan campaigns of Ivan the Terrible happened. The central church is devoted to the holiday of the Protection of God's Mother, which gave the name to the temple. Churches are topped with brightly decorated onion domes. In all in the cathedral there are nine iconostases with about 400 icons of XVI-XIX centuries. The walls of the cathedral are decorated with fresco paintings. Also one can feast eyes with portrait and landscape painting and church implements. The communion cup of the XVII century, which belonged to the tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, is among the most valuable exhibits.

A lot of legends are connected with the cathedral. Earlier a temple of white stone stood on this place. The God's fool Basil the Blessed (Vasily Blazhenny). revered in Moscow was buried there. It used to be said that he raised money for the future cathedral himself, brought them to the Red Square and threw them over his right shoulder. Those coins lay on the ground untouched until the God's fool in his extreme moments gave them to Ivan the Terrible for the cathedral building.

The annals say that the architects Barma and Postnik(Faster) Yakovlev constructed the cathedral. However there is a theory that actually it was one man - Ivan Yakovlevich Barma, nicknamed Postnik (Faster) for his adherence to a strict fast. There is a legend that Ivan the Terrible, having seen the wonderful temple, ordered to strike blind the masters so that they could not repeat the masterpiece anywhere. Most probably, it is a myth, because the name of Postnik is found in later annals in connection with creation of other remarkable architectural monuments.

Author: Polina Orlova, "Izvestiya"

Source: http://www.ruschudo.ru

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