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St. Basil Cathedral

St. Basil Cathedral is one of the most outstanding and remarkable monuments of Old Russian architecture. In the 16th century the tourists admired the beauty of the cathedral, and for the Russians it became the symbol of native history and culture.
In 1552 the temple consecrated in honor of Saint Trinity was put up. The temple was to commemorate the victory of Ivan the Terrible over Kazan and Astrakhan khanate. In 1554 Tsar ordered to construct the Cathedral of the Intersection of the Blessed Virgin on the site of the temple. The chapels of the cathedral were commemorating the victory over the Tatars. Later Saint Basil, Moscow "God's fool" was buried in one of the chapels, hence the name of the cathedral.
According to chronicles, St. Basil Cathedral was designed by Russian architects Postnik and Barma. There is the legend saying that Ivan the Terrible admired the beauty of the cathedral and ordered to blind the architects so they could never construct such a masterpiece again. Some historians insist that the cathedral was designed by one person - Ivan Barma who had a nickname Postnik as he kept the fast. The legend of the architects' blindness could be refuted by the fact that the name of Postnik was the author of many architectural monuments mentioned in the chronicles after St. Basil Cathedral construction.
St. Basil Cathedral is a symmetrical architectural ensemble consisting of eight chapels surrounding the ninth temple, which is the highest one. It is topped with a hipped roof. Each chapel bears the name of a saint. The central temple is dedicated to the Intersection of the Blessed Virgin. The chapels are conjoined by the system of passages. The cupolas that top the chapels are different from each other. Each cupola is decorated with windows, niches, and cornices. The cathedral impress as a festive and elegant one. Until the end of the 17th century when the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower was constructed on the Kremlin territory, St. Basil Cathedral was the highest construction in Moscow. The cathedral is 60 meters high.
In the middle of the 20s of the 20th century St. Basil Cathedral got the status of museum. Since 1934 it is the branch of the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior

On December 25, 1812 Russian Emperor Alexander I signed an order, according to which it was supposed to build a temple dedicated to Russia's victory over Napoleon in Moscow. The new temple was to symbolize the feat of Russian people and to become a gratitude to Providence for saving Russia.
The author of the first project of the temple was Alexander Vitberg who suggested putting up the cathedral on the Vorobievy Hills (Sparrow Hills). According to his plan, the cathedral was to consist of the three parts symbolizing the Incarnation, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection. The lower part of the cathedral was supposed to be the burial place for those who died in the battles of the war of 1812. The temple was solemnly laid out, but Vitberg's project was never brought to life. The mountains started to sink under the construction weight, and Nicolas I who became Russian Tsar after Alexander I found Vitberg's project unrealizable. Instead of Vitberg, Konstantin Ton was appointed the architect of the cathedral.
It was decided to put up the temple on the site of Alexeevsky convent. There was a legend that one of the nuns was so desperate about moving the convent that she cursed the future cathedral and foretold that it would not survive for more than 50 years. Anyway, the place for cathedral construction was perfect: the temple could be seen from any part of Moscow, and neighboring with the Kremlin symbolized the connection of the new Cathedral of Christ the Savior with Russian history and culture.
It took about 40 years (1839-1883) to build and decorate the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. On May 26, 1883, the temple was solemnly consecrated in presence of Emperor Alexander III and his family.
At the end of the 1980s it was suggested to reconstruct the cathedral. In July, 1992 the President of Russia, Boris Eltsin issued an edict, according to which the Fund of Moscow revival was founded. In the list of objects to reconstruct the Cathedral of Christ the Savior occupied the first position. Unbelievably impetuous terms of construction works allowed consecrating the restored cathedral in 2000.

Dormition Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Dormition (Russian: ”спенский —обор, Uspensky Sobor) is the mother church of Muscovite Russia. The church stands on Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin and was built in 1475Ц1479 by the Italian architect Aristotele Fioravanti. In 1547 the coronation of the first Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, took place in this cathedral. From 1721 it was the scene of the coronation of the Russian emperors. The ritual installation of metropolitans and patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church also took place in this cathedral, and their tombs are to be found here. The patriarchate was abolished by Peter the Great and only restored after the February Revolution of 1917, though the groundwork for the restoration was already in progress by that time, with the permission of Nicholas II.
There is a legend that in the winter of 1941, when the Nazis had already reached the threshold of Moscow, Joseph Stalin secretly ordered a service to be held in the Dormition Cathedral to pray for the country's salvation from the invading Germans. In 1990 the Dormition Cathedral was returned to the church, although a large museum still operates within it.

Kazan Cathedral

Kazan Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox church located on the northeast corner of Red Square in Moscow. The current building is a reconstruction of the original church which was destroyed at the direction of then General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin in 1936. The original church was erected as a shrine in the early 1630s to mark the city's liberation from the Polish aggressors by the Russian people's volunteer army at the close of the Time of Troubles.
Upon clearing Moscow from the Poles in 1612, Prince Dmitry Pozharsky attributed his success to the divine help of the icon Theotokos of Kazan, to whom he had prayed on several occasions. From his private funds, he financed construction of a wooden church to the Virgin of Kazan on Red Square in Moscow.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Kazan Cathedral was the first church to be completely rebuilt after having been destroyed by the Communists. The cathedral's restoration (1990Ц1993) was based on the detailed measurements and photographs of the original church Peter Baranovsky made before its destruction in 1936.

Cathedral of the Annunciation

The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos.
Formerly, the cathedral was a home church of the Muscovite tsars. Its abbot had been a personal confessor of the royal family until the early 20th century. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built on the Sobornaya Square (Cathedral Square) by architects from Pskov in 1484-1489. It was erected on the spot of an older 14th century cathedral of the same name, which had been rebuilt in 1416. Initially, the Cathedral of the Annunciation had three cupolas (two of them built around 1572). It was surrounded by parvises from three sides. In 1562-1564, they built four single-cupola side chapels over the arched parvises. The north and west entrances from the parvise are decorated with whitestone portals of the 16th century. The fretwork is clearly influenced by the Italian Renaissance architecture. The bronze doors of the north and west portals are decorated with gold foil. The floor of the Cathedral of the Annunciation is made of jasper, which was brought from a cathedral in Rostov Velikiy in the 16th century. The walls contain fragments of murals, painted by Theodosius (1508) and others (second half of the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries). The iconostasis includes icons of the 14th-17th centuries, including the ones painted by Andrei Rublev, Feofan Grek and Prokhor, and 19th century, as well.

Novodevichy Convent

The Novodevichy Convent is located in the south-west of Moscow, at the curve of Moscow-River. The Novodevichy Convent ensemble is an outstanding monument of architecture of the 16th-17th centuries.
The most attractive construction of the Novodevichy Convent ensemble is the Smolensky Cathedral, or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk Icon. It was built at the same time when the convent was founded. The monumental five-domed cathedral features the paintings of the 16th-17th centuries, rare icons of the 17th century, and a five-tiered carved icon-stand. The Refectory with the Assumption Church, the belfries, Mariinskie and Lopukhinskie chambers are perfect examples of Moscow Baroque style.
The convent was founded by Vasily III in 1524 to commemorate the fact that Smolensk was returned as a part of Russia. Hence the second name of the convent - Bogoroditse-Smolensky.
In the 16th century on the territory of the Novodevichy Convent the cemetery intended for church and secular elite representatives was established. In the 19th century the heroes of the war of 1812 were buried in the cemetery. Among them was the poet and hussar Denis Davidov, decembrists S. Trubetskoi and M. Muraviev-Apostol, famous cultural workers, including historian S. Soloviev and philosopher V. Soloviev.
The Novodevichy Convent is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It ranges among the oldest and the most beautiful convents in Russia.

Cathedral of the Archangel

The Cathedral of the Archangel is the name of several cathedrals in Russia.
One particular cathedral by this name stands on the Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin. It was constructed between 1505 and 1508 under the supervision of an Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin Noviy on the spot of an older cathedral, built in 1333.
The interior is entirely covered with holy icons.It contains frescoes dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of them were painted by Yakov of Kazan, Stepan of Ryazan, Joseph Vladimirov and others between 1652 and 1666. The stonework on the walls of the cathedral was clearly influenced by the Italian Renaissance. There are also a fretted wooden gilded iconostasis 13 meters high with the icons of the 17th - 19th centuries and church chandeliers of the 17th century.
Victories of the Russian military were celebrated in the Cathedral of the Archangel. Russian tsars and grand princes were buried within the cathedral until the 17th century, who remain there to this day (including Ivan I Kalita, Dmitri Donskoi, Ivan the Great, Ivan the Terrible). There are 54 burials in the cathedral, 46 ornamented whitestone tombstones (1636Ц1637) and glazed cases made of bronze (1903). Tsarevich Demetrius, the son of Ivan the Terrible, was buried there in the early 17th century. Emperor Peter II is also interred there, the only post-Petrine monarch buried in the Kremlin (and the only one besides Ivan VI who is not buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.)

Yelokhovo Cathedral

The Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo, Moscow, is the vicarial church of the Moscow Patriarchs. The surviving building was designed and built by Yevgraph Tyurin in 1837Ц1845.
The original church in the village of Yelokhovo near Moscow was built in 1722-31 for Tsarevna Praskovia Ivanovna. It was there that Alexander Pushkin was baptised in 1799. In 1790 a refectory with a four-tier belfry was built
The present structure was erected in 1837-1845 to a Neoclassical design by Yevgraph Tyurin. The architecture is typical for the late Empire style, with some elements of European eclectics. The riotous opulence of the interior decoration is due to a restoration undertaken in 1912.
Upon closing the Kremlin Cathedrals (1918), the destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (1931) and the Dorogomilovo Cathedral (1938), the chair of Russian Orthodox Church was moved to Yelokhovo, the largest open church in Moscow. The enthronements of Patriarchs Sergius I (1943), Alexius I (1945), Pimen (1970), and Alexius II (1990) took place there.