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Janaline's World Journey “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

How amazing to explore St Basils Cathedral!!

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Tuesday, 12 June 2012 | Views [1214]

St Basils Cathedral with its colorful onion domes!!

St Basils Cathedral with its colorful onion domes!!

The first week I was in Moscow I had to explore the red square and my wonderings took me into St Basils Cathedral (with its ice-cream coloured onion domes), the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat.
 
I read that St Basils refers to Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite 'holy fool' who was buried on the site (in the Trinity Cathedral that once stood here) a few years before the present building was erected. But the interesting thing was that he used to run around the red square naked and tell everybody their fortunes! The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. It was completed in 1560.
 
 
I stopped in front of the cathedral and it took my breath away. Looking up at the nine chapels with its riot of colour and shapes, I can truly believe that Basil's Cathedral is unmatched anywhere else in the world.
 
I found this quote from the French diplomat Marquis de and it really describes what the onion domes look like: “the scales of a golden fish, the enameled skin of a serpent, the changeful hues of the lizard, the glossy rose and azure of the pigeon's neck" and wondered at "the men who go to worship God in this box of confectionery work."
 
 
They say that although the towers and domes appear chaotic, there is symmetry and symbolism in its design. There are eight domed chapels symbolizing the eight assaults on Kazan: four large and octagonal and four small and square. In the centre is a tent-roofed spire topped with a small golden dome.
The ninth chapel on the east side added in 1588 for Basil's tomb interrupts the symmetry of design somewhat. It can be recognized on the outside by its green-and-gold dome studded with golden pyramids.
 
 
In a garden at the front of the cathedral I am greeted by a bronze statue commemorating Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who rallied Russia's volunteer army against the Polish invaders during the Time of Troubles in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.The statue was originally constructed in the centre of Red Square, but the Soviet government felt it obstructed parades and moved the statue in front of the cathedral in 1936.
 
 
After walking around the cathedral and I decided to explore the inside. The interior is a maze of galleries winding from chapel to chapel and level to level via narrow stairways and low arches. The walls are painted in floral and geometric patterns. Its easy to lose your bearings and end up in the same little chapel more than once while attempting to walk through this maze.
 
 
There is one little empty chapel and inside this they show a video that shows the demolishing and then reconstruction of this cathedral, although its in Russian, its worth watching.
Got a coin stamped with the image of St Basils on my way out and crossed the Red Square again.
 
Definitely going to visit again!!!
 

Tags: cathedral, janaline smalman, moscow, red square, russia, st basils, travel

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