Saint Basil's Cathedral

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The Intercession Cathedral (or The Intercession, Pokrovsky Cathedral, better known as the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed or St. Basil's Cathedral) is a multi-tented church on the Red Square in Moscow traditionally perceived as symbolic of the unique position of Russia between Europe and Asia.

The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and built between 1555 and 1561 in Moscow to commemorate the capture of Khanate of Kazan. In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ (yurodivy Vassily Blazhenny), a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.

Saint Basil's is located at one end of Red Square, just across from the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin. Not particularly large, it consists of nine chapels built on a single foundation. The cathedral's design follows that of contemporary tented churches, notably those of Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1530) [1] and of St John the Baptist's Decapitation in Dyakovo (1547) [2].

File:St Basils Cathedral closeup.jpg
Closeup of St. Basil's Cathedral

In a garden at the front of the cathedral stands 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 sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The statue was originally constructed in the center of Red Square, but the Soviet government felt it obstructed parades and moved the statue in front of the cathedral in 1936.

The initial concept was to build a cluster of chapels, one dedicated to each of the saints on whose feast day the tsar had won a battle, but the construction of a single central tower unifies these spaces into a single cathedral. Legend says that Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from building a more magnificent building for anyone else.

It has been recently speculated that certain elements of Timurid monuments in Samarkand or of Kazan Qolsharif mosque were pictured in this cathedral, because this mosque was the main symbol of Khanate of Kazan. The original look of the mosque is unknown, however.

See also

External link

fr:Cathédrale Saint-Basile de Moscou id:Katedral Santo Basil it:Cattedrale di San Basilio he:כנסיית ואסילי הקדוש nl:Basiliuskathedraal ru:Собор Василия Блаженного tt:Vasili Blajenní Çirkäwe

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