St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral
View of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Photo by: JackVersloot, Creative Commons

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, was built by Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561. According to legend, the builder of this cathedral was blinded so that such a beautiful structure could never be built again. The cathedral is vividly colorful and contains redbrick towers that add to its beauty. The church’s design consists of nine chapels, each mounted with its individual dome that marks the assault on the city of Kazan.

The design of St. Basil’s Cathedral provides strong religious symbolism and is based on architectural designs found in Jerusalem. Eight of the domes make a circular formation around the ninth dome, which looks like a star when viewed from the top. There is a deep contrast between the interior and the exterior of the St. Basil’s Cathedral. The interior contains modest decorations and the corridors are narrow, leaving little space for seating worshippers.

Several times throughout its history, this cathedral has suffered damage due to fires, looting, and other incidents. In one legend, the French ruler Napoleon even wanted to take St. Basil’s Cathedral back to France with him, but due to the lack of such technology, he ordered his army to destroy it so that no one else could occupy it. His army had prepared to attack the church and had also lit up the gunpowder, but a mysterious rain shower prevented any explosions from occurring.

36 thoughts on “St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow


    Renee Hope- It is colorful because in the book of revelation of the Bible. Look on wikipedia in the cathedral’s ‘colors’ (scroll down)


  2. Maria

    This Cathedral looks really cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am doing a report on Famous Landmarks in Russia and this has perfect information.

  3. Fr Jim Wright

    St Basil was very influential in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church and his rel;ics are buried in the church. There are nine domes which correspond to nine separate altars , each of which commemorates victories Ivan the Terrible won.

  4. Joshyk99

    Does anyone know what century the “holy fool” St. Basil predicted the fire in Moscow.

  5. carrie

    I have been to the cathedral a few times but inside only once. It is as amazing as it looks and if you have a chance to see it, do. The kremlin is within walking distance and there are museums and other places of interest. None as spectacular as the cathedral but all as unique in style and history. In terms of cost, moscow is the most expensive city in the world. But you can rent apartments from private people who are traveling and it is much cheaper.

  6. kumaravel

    From my early childhood i am very eager to visit this world wonder (i think so)it looks like a palace in ancient stories. I like it so much along with kremlin.

  7. veming

    That great ancient temple! This is the one of famous temples in the world that it is unbelievable that blind person can build this temple. It’s strong and mysterious.

  8. Destiney

    i am doing an essay on some of the most popular tourist sites in russia and this will be in my essay!

  9. gg

    geography teacher is obbsessed with russia, and i have a huge test on it hope i dont fail! this was really helpful. i <3 st basils! so pretty. hope i can see it some day 🙂

  10. Dr Luther

    St Basil the great owned the cathedral and used it to hold many rocking parties.. he would sacrafice women and get really drunk.. there was even a goat married off in this very cathedral

  11. Kami

    Andrew: Saint Basil, od “Basil the Holy” used to be just an inhabitant of one of the outer parts of the church. He was a monk and a beggar. These people were calle “Blazhennyi” (meaning “fool”) or Yiurodivyi. He was the only one who had the right to object to the Tsar or Church staff and not to be punished for that. When Basil (originally Vasilyi) died the church kept the “nickname” after him. The church original name is Khram Pokrova Presvyiatoi Bogorodicy (Church of the Holy Virgin)

  12. Iron Mike

    I’m doing a project on this cathedral and it is so easy because there is so much info on the web about it ! and actually the official name of th cathedral is “The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat” . I would know . I am part russian .

  13. RJ

    What is the Cathedrals real name??? Ive read that it was called The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat and The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat,

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