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11 Must See Churches Around the World


3. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat popularly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox Church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the geometric center of the city and the hub of its growth since the 14th century. It was the tallest building in Moscow until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. The building’s design, shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, has no analogues in Russian architecture. It is like no other Russian building. Nothing similar can be found in the entire millennium of Byzantine tradition from the fifth to fifteenth century … a strangeness that astonishes by its unexpectedness, complexity and dazzling interleaving of the manifold details of its design. The cathedral foreshadowed the climax of Russian national architecture in the 17th century.