St. Basil's - Table of Contents
............... Architecture Around the
Exterior - St. Basil's Russian Orthodox Church
Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Left: GUM ... Center: St. Basil's ... Right: Kremlin
Left: GUM ..... Center: ? ..... Right: St. Basil's
building's design is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky.
"Although the towers and domes appear chaotic, there is symmetry and
symbolism in its design. There are eight domed chapels symbolizing the
eight assaults on Kazan: four large and octagonal and four small and
square. In the center is a tent-roofed spire topped with a small golden
dome." - Sacred Destinations (12/10)
The ninth chapel on the east side (left in photo) added in 1588 for Basil's tomb
interrupts the symmetry of design somewhat. Basil the Blessed roamed the streets of Moscow trying to win
converts during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In spite of the brutal Russian winters and unforgiving
summers, many times he conducted his crusade naked.
Note tent roof on the Central Chapel.
Following a fire in 1583 the original
helmet-shaped cupolas were replaced by ribbed or faceted onion domes. It
is only since 1670 that the domes have been painted many colors; at one
time St. Basil's was white with golden domes.
The green and orange dome at the
left tops the Chapel of the Trinity, one of eight main chapels
commemorating the campaigns of Ivan the Terrible against the town of
Kazan, to the east of Moscow.
The blue and white dome tops the Chapel of St. Cyprian whose feast is on October 2, the day after the last attack.
Center blue and red dome: Chapel of the Three Patriarchs.
Note bricks. The builders used brick as decorative
medium inside and outside.
of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem used a ceremonial entrance during
the annual Palm Sunday procession. On this day the patriarch rode
from the Kremlin to St. Basil's on a horse dressed up to look like a
Detail - Chapel
of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem
Note the similarity to the 17th century interior decoration in St. Basil's.
Photos and their arrangement © 2010 Chuck
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