Moscow’s Magnificent

Saint Basil’s or the Cathedral of Intercession of Theotokos on the Moat is probably the most known piece of architecture in Moscow. This magnificently coloured cathedral with its onion like domes is one of the world’s great religious buildings. The church celebrates Russian Orthodox and its beginnings date back to 1555 although the vivid colours and architecture were not a feature until the 1680’s and happened in stages over nearly 200 years. The building is meant to be inspired by a bonfire and its architecture is so unique there were no known similarities to it anywhere. It is rumoured that the architect Postnik Yakovlev was blinded by Ivan the Terrible so he would not design anything as magnificent ever again. The building today is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the two other major Moscow landmarks Red Square and the Kremlin. The cathedral has been pretty lucky to survive until today. Napoleon was so taken with the St Basil’s that he wanted to dismantle it and move it to Paris but legend tells he didn’t have the technology or manpower to do it. Unhappy with Russia having it and not Paris he then decided no one should have it and ordered it to be blown up. The story goes a sudden shower extinguished the gun powder fuses and the cathedral was saved. St Basil’s was nearly lost in the 1930’s too. Stalin’s Red Square development team planned to knock the structure down to make way for a new grand square luckily the plan didn’t come to fruition.

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