Saint Basil`s Cathedral on Red Square isn’t only the most recognizable attraction of Moscow but of the entire Russia and former Soviet Union, as it is most expressive of the style of Russian churches with their onion-shaped domes.
The Saint Basil`s Cathedral is located in the heart of Russia, on the Red Square in Moscow. Nearby there is the Kremlin and GUM (main department store). You can go down to the Embankment of Moscow River via Vasilevskiy Spusk where open-air performances and events are often held.
The Saint Basil`s Cathedral was built by Ivan the Terrible during 1555-65 to commemorate the victory over Kazan Khanate. For a long time it was called Pokrovsky Cathedral, as Kazan, the capital of Kazan Khanate, was captured just on October 1, the feast of Intercession of the Mother of God.
Unlike other cathedrals of Moscow Kremlin, architects of the Saint Basil`s Cathedral were of Russian origin – Barma and Postnik. Historians are still uncertain whether they were different people or a single person, Ivan Barma called Postnik. But in any case, the style of this temple is very different from that of churches built by Italian architects.
Originally, the SSaint Basil`s Cathedral had smooth gilt cupolas, as in case of most Russian temples, and only in XVII century it attained its today appearance. First of all, cupolas were covered with various ornaments, and there were also added two porches and a dome above the relics of St. Basil. Since then the temple has been called the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, and the name became almost official.
The temple has many symbolical features. One central tower and eight symmetrical cupolas symbolize firmness and permanence of faith. All eight aisles are separate churches.
During construction of the Saint Basil`s Cathedral, after decay of Rome and Constantinople, there was popular the idea of the «Third Rome», «New Jerusalem», which won`t fall under pressure from enemies. And it is just this idea that was realized in the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, which was destined to become the symbol of Russian state.