St. Basil's Cathedral is one of the most famous sights of Moscow. The official name of the temple is completely different - the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. It was erected by order of Ivan the Terrible, who made a vow to build a church in the event of a successful campaign against Kazan in 1552. Already in 1554, a wooden church was built, which stood for only one year. The king ordered to build a grandiose stone temple on this site. In 1555, construction began, and the consecration took place six years later - on June 29, 1561.
11 interesting facts about St. Basil's Cathedral
- Basil the Blessed was canonized in 1558 by decree of Tsar Fedor, the son of Ivan the Terrible. Vasily was born in 1469 in the village of Elokhovo near Moscow. He was sent to study shoemaking in Moscow. Once a customer came to the workshop and demanded to sew him boots that would be worn for many years. The young man asked - why are boots needed for such a long period if a person dies tomorrow? Everything happened exactly as Vasily predicted. At the age of sixteen, the guy left the shoe shop, taking upon himself the feat of foolishness. Tsar Ivan the Terrible knew him well, who was afraid of the predictions of the holy fool. Vasily died in 1557, shortly before his death, the tsar personally visited him together with Tsarina Anastasia.
- It is believed that the architect of the temple was the famous architect from Pskov Postnik Yakovlev, nicknamed Barma. The architect was nicknamed the postman for his zealous observance of all church posts. There is another point of view - Postnik and Barma were two different people who worked on the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral.
- According to legend, Ivan the Terrible was delighted to see the new church. And he even commanded to blind Postnik so that no one could ever build something like that. There is, however, information that later Postnik Yakovlev worked on the construction of other churches. Or maybe it was a completely different architect with the same name?
- There is a version that Postnik Yakovlev is a fictional hero, and the temple was erected by foreigners invited from Europe. Presumably - Italians. But no reliable documentary evidence has yet been found.
- For a whole century, St. Basil's Cathedral was the tallest building in Moscow. The temple lost this status only after the reconstruction of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, from which there was a view of 30 miles around.
- In 1812 Napoleon, after the capture of Moscow, placed a stable here. But, the emperor himself was so impressed by the beauty of the temple that he even thought to move it to Paris. It was simply impossible to do this technologically, then Napoleon ordered to blow up the church. There is a legend that Muscovites prayed for the preservation of the temple, a sudden downpour flooded the fuses of the French cannons. St. Basil's Cathedral was miraculously preserved, but heavily plundered, Napoleon's army stole church utensils, the sacristy and iconostases were plundered. After the flight of Napoleon, the temple had to be seriously restored.
- The temple was destined to survive the era of the destruction of many churches during the years of Soviet power. Soon after the revolution, St. Basil's Cathedral was taken under state protection as an architectural monument of not only national but also world significance. In the thirties, LM Kaganovich presented to JV Stalin a project for the reconstruction of Red Square, according to which the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed was supposed to be demolished. But, the "leader of the peoples" ordered - not to touch the cathedral.
- One of the active defenders of St. Basil's Cathedral was the Soviet architect and restorer Pyotr Dmitrievich Baranovsky, who said that if the cathedral was destroyed, he would blow himself up with it. The architect was arrested, and he was told that the destruction plan had already been carried out. Immediately after his release, Baranovsky went to Red Square to make sure that the architectural monument was intact.
- During the existence of the USSR, a historical and architectural museum was located here. Church services were terminated in 1929, the church bells were removed and sent to be melted down. During the Great Patriotic War, the museum was closed; it resumed its work in 1947, when Moscow was preparing for the 800th anniversary of the city's founding.
- Permission to conduct divine services in St. Basil's Cathedral was obtained only in 1991. The first service took place on October 14, the day of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. In 2008, the temple was included in the list of "wonders of the world" in Russia.
- The Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed was considered in the list of possible places where the legendary library of Ivan the Terrible is hidden. According to some sources, it may have been hidden in the basements of the cathedral. But, there are doubts - there is no basement here, the temple was built on an ordinary mound (with a building height of 60 meters!). This option is also possible - there was a basement, but it was not possible to find it.