The first week I was in Moscow I couldnt wait to explore the iconic Red square and my wanderings took me into St Basils Cathedral with its ice-cream coloured onion domes. This Cathedral represents Moscow on so many postcards and photos that it has become one of the first things people think of when Moscow is mentioned.
This beautiful and very colourful Cathedral was erected over the spot where Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite ‘holy fool’ was buried. According to legend he used to run around the red square naked and tell everybody their fortunes! That must have been a very funny site indeed, and quite weird that Moscow would name a Cathedral after a crazy naked dude.
The building of the Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible in1552 and was only completed in 1560. Taking into account that everything has to be done by hand, 8 years is probably not that long.
Walking up to this colourful Cathedral I could hardly contain my excitement. I was about to enter one of the most famous sites in the world!! I stood staring at the cathedral for quite a while as it took my breath away. The Cathedral chapels is a riot of colour and shapes, each unique and dedicated to a specific saint. I can truly believe that Basil’s Cathedral is unmatched anywhere else in the world.
I found this quote from a French diplomat that perfectly 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.”
There are no cars allowed on the Red square, but I think there once must have been as there is a zebra crossing painted in front of the Cathedral. I made sure to get a photo of me sitting on this zebra crossing. And had a failed attempt at getting a photo of me jumping in fron of St Basils.
A huge bronze statue commemorating Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who rallied Russia’s volunteer army against the Polish invaders in the late 16th century dominate the front garden of St Basils.
I found that the inside is a maze of galleries winding from chapel to chapel and level to level through narrow stairways and low arches. I soon found out that it’s easy to lose your bearings and end up in the same little chapel more than once while attempting to walk through this maze. Unlike most of the other Cathedrals found in Moscow, St Basils is not a working Cathedral anymore, which is quite sad as it is so beautiful.
As I got to the top of the first flight of stairs and entered the huge round chapel I was greeted by beautiful choir music. Although its not a working Cathedral, a small choir singing the most beautiful songs can be found here every day. Having the Cathedral filled with their beautiful music creates a warm atmosphere and adds to the feeling of the place being holy. I stood listening until they finished their set and then even bought their music CD. Its the [perfect music to play on a cold rainy night and will always bring back very fond memories of Moscow and my Russian adventure.
In my wanderings I found a little empty chapel and inside where they were showing a video that depicted the demolishing and then re-construction of St Basils. Although it was in Russian, like most of the signs inside, it was worth watching.
On my way out I got a coin stamped with the image of St Basils as my souvenir of the day and crossed the Red Square again to continue my exploration of Moscow.
Definitely going to visit St Basils again!!!
Throwback Thursday, is a weekly reminiscent movement where you re-post past events or photos. They can be from years ago or from just a few days ago. Its a great way to look back fondly on some of your favorite memories……