I walked along the river from the Kremlin and was greeted by one of the most imposing and controversial buildings in Russia, the resurrected Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
It was originally commissioned after the defeat of Napoleon and construction began in 1839.
Unfortunately it was singled out by the Soviet government for destruction and, in 1931, blown to pieces to make way for a proposed Palace of Soviets, one of the most influential pieces of architecture never to be built.
The project was abandoned, and the site turned over to become an open-air swimming pool, the largest in the world, which was kept at a temperature of 27°C all year round. The result was a thick covering of fog that shrouded a number of gruesome deaths (and murders) among the swimmers.
After the fall of the Soviet Union they decided to resurrect the cathedral in a $360-million reconstruction project.
I had to walk through metal detectors to get inside and they search your bag through as well. Luckily it was cold outside so I already had a hat on as woman have to cover their heads out of respect and you are not allowed in if you are wearing shorts or very short skirts.
I was still very excited as I walked around inside this magnificent cathedral. It is just breathtakingly beautiful inside and the church choir was standing on the upper level singing and setting the peaceful atmosphere.
There is a set of winding stairs that took me down to the bottom level. Even down here I could still hear the singing of the choir through the metal grating placed everywhere. I sat down and listened for a while before I lit a candle and went into the cathedral museum and icon shop that they have here. There was a small sign saying that all icons and artifacts bought in this little shop have been blessed by the priest. The museum changes its exhibition from time to time, this time it was displaying photos of the destruction and reconstruction of the cathedral.
What a beautiful church to explore. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity.