The vividly coloured and gleefully patterned onion-shaped domes of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

St Basil's Cathedral Tours and Travels

About St Basil's Cathedral

Situated at the southern end of Moscow’s legendary Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral is easily recognisable with its colourful tent roofs and twisting onion-shaped domes and is undoubtedly one of Russia’s most iconic landmarks. Resembling a bonfire flame, the unusual design of the church had no discernible contemporaries and even today the wild combination of colours and patterns is matched by few other buildings in Russia or elsewhere. Consisting of nine individual chapels built on a single foundation, the interior of the church is equally as exuberant with colourful icons and floral designs decorating the walls. Connecting the chapels are narrow corridors, a gallery and winding staircases that create an almost fairytale-like labyrinth.

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Dating back to the 1500s, the cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to mark the capture of Kazan from Mogul forces. According to legend Ivan was so impressed by the magnificence and intricacy of the cathedral that he had the architect Postnik Yakolev blinded so that he could never design anything of similar beauty again. This myth has been discredited with evidence that the architect was later employed to add an additional chapel to the structure though Ivan was not around to see it as he died four years earlier.

St Basil's has operated as a State Historical Museum since 1928 and is open to visitors daily from 11am to 5pm. Tickets are required to enter the church though many visitors are happy enough to enjoy the exterior and photograph the quintessential image with the bronze statue of Minin and Pozharsky in front of the church.

St Basil's Cathedral Tours

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