St. Basil's Cathedral It is the most famous architectural work in Moscow. Also called the Pokrovsky Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin next to the moat, it is the most recognizable Russian building. This cathedral is for the Russians what the Eiffel Tower is for the French, an honorable symbol of their past, present and future.
St. Basil's Cathedral is located on the Red Square, in front of the Chapel of the Ivory Door and was built from 1555 to 1561 by two Russian architects: Postnik Yakovlev, Ivan Barma by order of Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") in celebration of the defeat of Kazan, the last remaining legion of the Mongol Empire in European lands.
The legend says that Ivan the Terrible had blinded the architects so that they could never build anything comparable. However, this is a myth, since records show that both architects were employed a quarter of a century later (and four years after Ivan's death) to add an additional chapel to the structure.
Originally, its sides were made of wood, but during the reign of Catherine II the Great, the walls were reconstructed in the same stone that is seen today and covered with swirling colors and designs. When the Bolsheviks came to power, the cathedral was closed, the bells melted and their priest was killed. Despite the problems that always seemed to surround him, San Basilio has been the symbol of the Russian Orthodox Church, spirituality and patriotism.
The apparent anarchy of forms of the cathedral hides a comprehensible plan of nine main chapels. The high tower with carp roof in the center houses the church the church of the same name which is the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin or of the intercession of the Mother of God. The four largest domes of octagonal towers are at the top and belong to the four chapels: the Church of Sts Cyprian and Justina, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, the Church of the Icon of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker and the Church of the Entrance of the Lord in Jerusalem. Finally, there are four smaller chapels in the middle. Each chapel was consecrated in honor of an event or battle in the fight against Kazan.
Currently, there are more than 400 icons painted between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries by the most famous schools of Novgorod and Moscow hanging from the walls. A narrow path leads from one altar to another, passing through a wooden spiral staircase so well hidden in a wall that it was only found during the restoration of the cathedral in 1970.
Visiting Moscow is a mandatory tour of this cathedral that offers a medieval aura and mystical spirituality. The Cathedral of San Basilio was threatened many times in its history but it knew how to stay up to date. He even managed to defeat Stalin himself who at the time threatened to tear it down. Because of this, St. Basil's Cathedral is also considered a symbol of strength and power.