Friday, April 4, 2008

The Windows of St. Basil's Cathedral

This is what St. Basil's Cathedral looks like from afar... That's a picture that most people who have visited Moscow end up bringing home, and rightly so. It gives you a perspective of the cathedral's location on Red Square (at the far end of it, flanked by the GUM department store and the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin). You also get a sense of just how huge Red Square is--and how the Cathedral dominates it, drawing your eyes to the far end, teasing you with those multi-colored domes. Close-up, though, the rich colors and textures--each brick, each piece of golden lacework, each tile--pop right off the page (or computer screen).

I love how in this picture, and in others I included among the photos below, the golden cross of an unseen dome appears floating in the sky between the domes you do see.

Until I took these photos, I hadn't truly appreciated the genius of its architect, Postnik Yakovlev. Ivan the Terrible commissioned the cathedral and it was built between 1555 and 1561 to commemorate the capture of Khanate of Kazan. In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ, a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named. An often cited, but false, legend has it that upon completion of the cathedral, Ivan the Terrible had Yakovlev blinded--so that he could never build anything as beautiful anywhere else.


Anonymous said...

what a nice way to start my b-day -looking at these fabulous pics - thank you!!! miss you!!!


Tina in CT said...

Happy B-day Jeannie.

Anonymous said...

thank you, tina ; ) just like the little girl in the commercial (if you have seen it): she says that her mom is 35 "again"! Just like magic... ; )


Annie said...

How I love these! The day I visited St. Basil's was one magical day. Though I expect this will change (I saw it beginning to change) I was able to walk through this sacred building pretty much alone. I could turn a corner in and be alone - me and the ancient woodwork, and the amazing painted designs on the walls. (I madly love painted designs on walls - as a teenager I attempted Russian painting on my closet doors. My parents were very kind.)

Somehow it is being alone in these historic places that I find just overwhelming, so I was very grateful that I had that opportunity.

Nataliya said...

Unbelievable! It's soooooo beautiful!

Tina in CT said...

There are two places I've visitedI think the two places that really "hit" me. One is the first time I was in an Alpine village in Switzerland. I would turn completely around and see the gorgeous snow capped mountains and thought it so magnificent. The second time was my first time in Red Square. It was nighttime and Chris, Tamara and I had just been to a concert in the Kremlin and we walked down to Red Square. I did the same 360 turn around and couldn't believe I was there. I grew up at the height of the Cold War and the Russians at that time were our enemy. When I graduated from college, I lived in Mystic and Stonington, CT, and my college roommate and I dated Naval submarine officers (I married one but he resigned his commission in 1971.) I kept picturing Nikita Krushchev in the reviewing stand watching the troops parade by him walking with the Hitler type goose step, the fighter jets being wheeled by him along with the amored tanks. That mental picture was in my mind each time we went back to Red Square during my visit. On the other hand, I marveled at the beauty of the historical buildings and I was so impressed with how wonderfully maintained all the buildings are and how clean it is. No where do you see garbage piled at the curbs like in NYC.

Moscow, the Kremlin and all the gorgeous domed cathedrals are so beautiful.

My girlfriend and I are off to visit Rachel's (Always Wanted Four)mother (Because I Said So)and dad (he doesn't blog) for overnight to visit and pick up my NEW PUPPY. We're bring the last two bunnies from Diane's litter for two of Cecelia's granddaughters with us. Hopefully we'll get to meet Shannon and her family (Cecelia's daughter) and Ryan (Cecelia's son) and his family tomorrow night. I was really leaning towards Liesel for my new puppy's name but some friends at the scrapbook store tonight said it sounds too much like my Streusel's name. I told them some of the names in contention and Schatzie is now a strong one.

Rachael said...

LOVE the pictures. Your camera is great. We actually didn't go to St. Basils (since we had already been to some cathedrals in St. Petes and Katya was uninterested), only saw it from afar, so it is nice to see it up close, it gives a whole new perspective!

Have fun on your roadtrip, Tina! I'm sure my mom is looking forward to it too. (I'll have to check her blog later!) I don't think Leisel and Struesel are too much alike. They sound similar, but are clearly different names.

Anonymous said...

It always surprises me to hear Americans of my age (which is about the same as Tina's age)talk about the USSR and their perception of Russians during Cold War.
The level of hype and hysteria in the US in that period is still unbelievable to me.
It was nothing like that in the USSR. The respect and admiration for Americans was pretty high.
I have heard that perception changed to the worse lately.

garnet said...

Just breathtaking. I really hope I get to visit in person sometime.

A few years back I put together a 3-D puzzle of the cathedral which was a lot of fun.

Tami said...

I LOVE St. Basils! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics! The last time we were there (2002) it wasn't nearly that spectacular. They had the whole thing shrouded in scaffolding and netting. But even encased in the construction equipment, it was still beautiful. I wish we could go back to visit.

Anonymous said...

Nearly a year later April 3-4 2009 when visiting Moscow for only 1.5 days; whirlwind sightseeing on foot and Metro is brought back with this blog and photos.

We flew in Friday afternoon and left Saturday evening on the train to Berlin. We stopped in the Kremlin 2-3 times but arrived when St. Basil's was closed, but were able to overlook Lenin's Tomb and the Square from the dudty window of a mens' clothing shop in GUM before we were 'chased out' cameras in hand. Next time we'll observe from one of the towers or St. Basil's.
Thank you for sharing.