St. Basil's Cathedral (Pokrovsky Cathedral)

 

St. Basil's Cathedral, also commonly known as Pokrovsky Cathedral, is a must see Moscow attraction. It has been one of the main symbols of the capital for a long time and it is very well recognised throughout the world. It is a staple of the 16th century Russian architecture. With its one-of-a-kind ornaments and its bright colours it makes an unforgettable impression on the visitors. The interior of the temple is decorated in floral patterns and there is a rich collection of icons. It is an active church, services are held every Sunday.

History

This legendary building has many names. Apart from Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Pokrovsky Cathedral it has an official name "Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat". Traditionally the Russians also call the church "The Temple of Basil the Blessed". Basil the Blessed is a Russian Orthodox saint "holy fool for Christ" known for his gift of foresight. Basil the Blessed was buried in St. Basil's Cathedral around 1557.

Tsar Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of Pokrovsky Cathedral devoting it to his victory over the Kazan Khanate in 1552. The cathedral was designed, according to one of the theories, by architects Barma and Postnik and it was built between 1555 and 1561. Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded after they had completed their work so they could not build anything more beautiful than St. Basil's Cathedral. However, it might be just a legend because later the name of Postnik was mentioned in connection with the construction of churches in other places such as the Kazan Kremlin.

Being one of the main churches in Moscow, St. Basil’s Cathedral has very complicated history. During the Time of Troubles the Polish army laid siege to Pokrovsky Cathedral. It also had difficult times in 1812 when Napoleon tried to invade Moscow. According to the legend, Napoleon liked the cathedral so much that he wanted to transfer it to Paris. But after he had found out that his idea was unrealistic the cathedral was turned into stables. The only thing that saved St. Basil’s Cathedral from the complete destruction was the fact that the French had to leave Moscow in a big rush.

In Soviet times there were engineering projects to demolish the building to enlarge the Red Square for military parades. Fortunately, these plans were never fulfilled. There are several possible reasons as to why they were not carried out. Perhaps the courage of preservationists, mainly Pyotr Baranovsky, saved the cathedral or maybe Stalin’s respect for Ivan the Terrible ruined the plans. The reasons still remain a mystery but we are grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the unique view of this wonderful cathedral.

In the beginning of the 20th century it merged with the State Historical Museum. In 1990 it was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Besides, in the early 1990s the cathedral reopened religious services. Services are held every Sunday.

Architecture

St. Basil’s Cathedral had been the tallest building in Moscow until the Ivan the Great Bell Tower was raised to its new height in 1600. Although the building looks colossal from outside, it is quite small inside.
Interestingly enough, it is not just one temple inside. The building consists of a central church with eight chapels built consecutively and connected with galleries like a maze. Eight small chapels have onion domes, while the central one has a low spire with a smaller onion dome on top of it. In total, there are 10 cupolas. Onion domes were only added in the end of the 16th century.

The basement of the building is made out of bricks. Inside of it there was a "depository" where tsar and some rich families kept their treasures to protect them from the fire.

There is an interesting fact about the walls of the building, as well. In order to improve the acoustics of the cathedral the clay pots were embedded inside the walls.

The distinctive style of the cathedral influenced a lot the project of another famous church – the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersbourg.

Perks of visiting Pokrovsky Cathedral with CityPass

With the Moscow CityPass you can easily access Pokrovsky Cathedral without any lines. You just need to show your pass in the left ticket office, which is marked with a company's logo. After having validated it there you can go straight to the main entrance located in front of the ticket office.

Please note!

Pokrovsky Cathedral is closed on first Wednesday of each month from November 8th till April 30th.
Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.
Last admission – 30 minutes before closing.
Аt temperatures below -15°С, the museum shortens opening hours.

Contacts and location

What else does Moscow CityPass include

Moscow CityPass is a single electronic card for tourists, which include visits to the best museums and excursions, the best deals and discounts.

MOSCOW CITYPASS SERVICE PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PLASTIK CARD-KEY
Free Entry to the all City Sightseeings
Guidebook + city map
in russian, english and chinese
Transport pass
for 20 rides
(only for CityPass
with transport)
Discounts and benefits
in the shops, restaurants and taxies
Without queuing
To the top attractions

Contacts

Address:
7, Red Square, Moscow

Subway:
Okhotny Riad
Teatralnaya
Ploschad Revolyutsii

Phone:
+7(495) 698-3304

Site:
www.en.shm.ru


Timetable
Monday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Tuesday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Wednesday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00; Closed: first Wednesday of each month. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Thursday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Friday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Saturday

From November 8th till April 30th: 11.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 11.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

Sunday

From November 8th till April 30th: 12.00 - 17.00. From May 1st till May 31st: 12.00 - 18.00. From June 1st till August 31st: 10.00 - 18.00; Closed: June 11, July 3 and August 7. From September 1st till November 7th: 11.00 - 18.00. Ticket office closes 1 hour before the Museum closing time.

  • Great
    2016-09-02
    Es war supergeil, ich habe viel gesehen. Wie versprochen habe ich viel gespart. Also es war toll, jeder Zeit wieder.
  • Great
    2016-08-20
    Great oportunity to explore Moscow!! Thank you very much! In addition to the entry to museums, a map and a guidebook we have got a lot of different bonuses.... An audioguide, taxi and sales in cafees :) That was an amazing trip!
  • Great
    2015-06-23
    Thank you Moscow CityPass for unfogettable time in Moscow! We've bought 2 Passes, for me and my girlfriend. We saved around 90 euros and a lot of time! It was awesome to enter Kremlin and Tretyakov gallery without queues, because threre were really huge queues! And of course discounts in the top restaurants was preety addition :) Recomended to everyone who is going to Moscow ^ - ^
  • Great
    2015-06-22
    Molto efficace per budgettizzare il costo della vacanza, c'e praticamente tutto quello che vale la pena di vedere per turismo.
  • Great
    2019-11-13
    Thank you Moscow CityPass for unfogettable time in Moscow! We've bought 2 Passes, for me and my girlfriend. We saved around 90 euros and a lot of time! It was awesome to enter Kremlin and Tretyakov gallery without queues, because threre were really huge queues! And of course discounts in the top restaurants was preety addition :) Recomended to everyone who is going to Moscow ^ - ^
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