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The main symbol of Russia - St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral is a visit card of Moscow, number 1 on the list of the most important symbols of Russia and, probably, the most recognizable Orthodox cathedral in the whole world.The temple has several names, and the most famous titles are St. Basil’s Cathedral, Pokrovsky Cathedral, Church of the Protection of the Mother of God, Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God on the Moat, Pokrovsky Church, Trinity Church.

Location of the cathedral: how to reach it and work schedule

The cathedral is located in the southern part of Red Square in Moscow, near the Spassky Gate of the Kremlin, above the descent to the Moscow River. Address: Red Square, 2. Red Square itself is almost always open for visitors, with the exception of some festive dates, for example, May 9 and several days before this date, when the parade rehearsals are held.Therefore, you can see the Cathedral outside at any time.

The nearest metro stations are “Okhotny Ryad”, “Teatralnaya” and “Ploshchad Revolyutsii”.

In summer, from June 1 to August 31, the Cathedral is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In spring and autumn, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. In winter, from November 5 to April 30, the Cathedral is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.The first Wednesday of the month is a sanitary day, so the Cathedral is closed.

The cash desk closes 45 minutes before the end of work.

Some historical facts about the creation of the temple

Initially, the wooden Trinity Church stood on the site of the cathedral.Temples were erected around the church during military campaigns to Kazan - they celebrated the high-profile victories of the Russian army.

Pokrovsky Cathedral was built in 1561-1565 by decree of Ivan the Terrible, who vowed to build a church in the memory of this event if Kazan was successfully captured. The temple consists of nine churches on one foundation and a bell tower.

At first glance it can be difficult to understand the structure of the temple, but it is worth imagining that you look at it from above - and  everything becomes clear. The main pillar-shaped church in the honor of the Protection of the Mother of God with a tent crowned with a small cupola is surrounded on four sides by the axial churches, between which there are four smaller churches.

Unusual and interesting facts about St. Basil's Cathedral

  • Why is the cathedral called the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God

All historical references refer to the day when the Russian army successfully stormed the walls of Kazan - October 1, 1552. On this day in Russia, the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God was celebrated.

  • Why is the temple called St. Basil’s Cathedral

In Old Slavic, those people who did good deeds were considered blessed, and in a broad sense, those who saw God in heaven were blessed. In 1588, at the behest of Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich (the Grand Duke of Moscow, the third son of Ivan the Terrible), a chapel of St. Basil was built in Pokrovsky church, where his relics were placed, and the cathedral was often called St. Basil's Cathedral.

  • Who was Basil

St. Basil the Blessed, the Moscow miracle worker, was born in December 1468 on the porch of the Elokhov church near Moscow. Preaching mercy, Basil the Blessed firstly helped those who were ashamed to beg for alms, and yet needed more help than others needed. For the sake of the salvation of people, Basil the Blessed also visited taverns, where he tried to see the grain of good, even in the most deserted people, to strengthen them with affection and encourage. In 1547, he predicted the great fire of Moscow.

  • Tsar Ivan the Terrible and St. Basil

Tsar Ivan the Terrible honored and was afraid of the Blessed. When Basil fell into a serious illness, the tsar with Queen Anastasia visited him.

  • Another version of the name

The rumor circulated that Ivan the Terrible allegedly built this temple in the honor of his father, Grand Duke Basil III.

  • The peculiarity of the temple - the lack of a facade

Any of the parties with the same rightness can be considered as a facade.

What you should definitely see in the Cathedral

Basil's Church, where the relics of St. Basil are stored and Sunday services are held


Dome temples

To see the main exhibits - domed churches - you need to climb up the narrow spiral staircase that leads from the basement. Once this staircase was a mystery, but today all tourists climb it.

Going upstairs, you find yourself in the Church of the Protection of the Virgin.This is the largest in area and the tallest church in the cathedral, almost 50 meters high, which gave the cathedral its official name.

Framework iconostasis

Iconostasis with luxurious woodcarvings and gilding, uncharacteristic for the 16th century. In the 18th century, it was moved here from the cathedral of the Chernihiv miracle workers of the Moscow Kremlin, which has not survived to our time.

Trinity Church with a white ceiling

Although Trinity Church is simpler in construction than Pokrovskaya, the red spiral-shaped eight-pointed star against the background of ancient whitewashing attracts the attention of photographers, lovers of modern art and conspiracy theorists.

View galleries

In total, the museum exhibits more than 400 icons and about 800 exhibits. But the most interesting thing is that here you can move in time - see the interiors of the 16th and 17th centuries with brick floors and masonry of that time, as well as the later ones of the 18th and 19th centuries, imitation of masonry and white stone floors.


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