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Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

Saint Basil’s Cathedral image

Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, or Cathedral of the Protecting Veil, is a Russian Orthodox Cathedral. It is Russia’s most famous attraction. Located on Moscow’s Red Square, the church was built on the instructions of the Tsar Ivan the Terrible, from 1555 to 1561, celebrating his victory over the Kazan Khanate. During the 16th century, the helmet-shaped domes of the cathedral were changed to the onion-shaped domes. In the 1670s an open-air belfry was changed to a tented roof bell tower.

The cathedral has survived for more than four centuries, and the historical evidence of this can be seen in the paintings and frescos beginning from the 16th century to the oil paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. The building was taken over by the Soviet Union government in 1928 and remains secularized as a government site and museum.

The cathedral’s unique and distinctive architecture is meant to resemble the flames of a bonfire. The building features vivid and colorful onion-shaped domes of many sizes. Inside, intricate and elaborate murals cover many of the walls.

Nine individual churches are built on a single base (crypt). These pillar-like churches are connected by two galleries. The inner gallery runs around the central church while an outer roundabout gallery encircles all nine churches.

In 1990, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, along with the Kremlin and the Red Square, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The museum’s booth sells a guide to the museum ‘Cathedral of the Protecting Veil’, postcards, publications of the State Historical Museum, souvenirs, СDs, and DVDs, in different languages.

Map of Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Saint Basil’s Cathedral Facts

  • Architects Barma and Postnik Yakovlev designed this magnificent St. Basil’s Cathedral.
  • A 16th-century tented roof bell tower is located in the southeast of the cathedral.
  • The cathedral stands at a height of 47.5 meters.

Where is Saint Basil’s Cathedral?

Saint Basil’s Cathedral is situated on Moscow’s Red Square, in the geometric center of the city. You can reach the cathedral from the Sheremetyevo International Airport by either hiring a taxi or using the metro railway transportation. It takes one hour to reach the cathedral from the airport.

Best Time to Visit Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Winter is very cold and often snowy in Moscow, but there are many festivals around the city to make up for the weather, which is manageable if you’re prepared for it. May is a good time to visit, with festivals and holidays and better weather. Summer is the high season for tourism in Moscow, so in addition to the heat of the season, expect long lines at Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral Hours

The museum opens daily except Tuesdays. In winter it opens from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm while in summer it opens from 10:00 to 7:00 pm.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral Tickets

The tickets for adults cost 250 rubles. The entry fee for students, school children and pensioners is 50 rubles. For still photography without additional lighting and tripod, the permit fee is 160 rubles. However, for video filming, it is 180 rubles.

More about Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Nearby attractions of Saint Basil’s

Kazan Kremlin, Red Square, Bolshoi Theater and Tretyakov Gallery.

Related: Saint Basil’s Cathedral Infographic | Moscow City Map




Published On: Monday, October 28th, 2013