Inside an Icon: In St. Basil’s

I’ve walked past it at least once a week, I have hundreds of photographs of it, and it always fascinates me. However, I had never been inside- until now. This is the inside of St. Basil’s Cathedral, or more accurately- the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed.

20150303_163204The cathedral on Red Square is iconic, and even survived the extensive anti-religion campaign of the communists which led to the destruction of so many other religious buildings. For this reason I have always treated the building with a little more respect- it feels authentic, unlike the newly re-built Church of Christ the Saviour. The building is also unusual because it is actually a collection of shrines, which gives the two-storied structure the feeling of a complex maze.

Walking through, your eyes are bombarded by colour and pattern. As typical of Russian churches, each square space is covered in flowers, saints, angels and art, floor to ceiling.20150303_162634 Now a museum, the cathedral has displayed some of the items that were hidden between its walls for decades, old coins, and new models. Altars and icons shimmer gold, and you get an unusual view over the busy Red Square.

Although I am slowly getting tired of churches, having visited so many of them, I think this one is really special. I think I’d even recommend this one over the churches in the Kremlin, although it is atypical because it does not have the vaulting high ceilings, nor the central, open space. Take a tour around this one, and it’s look alike in St. Petersburg, and I think you have a feel for the architecture, style and glamour of the Russian orthodox church.

11 thoughts on “Inside an Icon: In St. Basil’s

  1. Hello! Lovely blog. I wanted to leave a comment on your “About me” page but couldn’t so I am posting here. I am also hoping to take the Trans-Siberian through Mongolia. Do you know when the best time is to do it?


    1. Hi Relish! I’m actually looking to do that this summer! As far as I know (and have experienced) March is the gloomiest month here in Russia because all the snow is melting so I would avoid then. Other than that it depends on your tolerance of the cold, if you want to spend much time outside I think the summer is better. That does mean that tickets are in higher demand though! I think ideally I would start in St Petersburg in the middle of May, get long days but avoid too much heat in Mongolia!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I was thinking about the same about the summer. I will start from the East to the West though (I am in Bangkok), so hopefully it will not be too expensive. Thanks for the info!


  2. In April or May, I think. I am trying to decide my schedule and itinerary. It has been in my mind for a while, so I am hoping the timing will work out.


    1. Awesome! Well, May is famous in St. Petersburg for the beginning of the ‘White Nights’, which might be something to consider! I won’t be leaving until end of June due to my University schedule…


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