Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow is by itself the symbol of new Russia. Built in 19th century, it was destroyed by the Communists to be restored almost hundred years later!

This days, it's the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world. Hard to believe there was nothing in its place some decade ago!

I'd say it's good example of true Russian values. We may have disputes on anything, including religion, but nearly every Muscovite will agree that restoring the cathedral was the right thing to do.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow exteior.

Breathtaking!

Christ the Savior Cathedral's history is long and scarred, just like Russia's. Built in 1860, it was originally a memorial to the victory over Napoleon. I haven't seen it back then (du-h!), but I'm sure it was fantastic.

We Russians don't like to waste our time on small things. If we do something - we do it big!

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow old church by nd_architecture_library at Flickr.com

The old church

Later on, the Bolsheviks came. They claimed to be anti-religious, but in fact they tried to replace the old religion with the new one. God must be forgotten - everyone worship Lenin and Stalin!

The Communists decide to replace the old symbol with the new one. They draw a project of colossal "Palace of Soviets", with huge statue of Lenin on top, sort of blessing everyone with his raised arm. And guess what - the Palace must replace the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow old interior.

The old interior...

Want to guess how they did it? Simple, really - all it takes is a lot of TNT, and the building, sacred to many people, turns into a pile of rubble. Bolsheviks were indeed men of simple taste...

You know what comes in my mind? The Talibs blowing up Buddha statues in Afghanistan. Same intolerance, same barbarity and same cruelty! I guess some things never change...

The "funny" part is they never built it! In fact, modern studies show it was impossible - the building would simply crumble because of weight disproportions!

But who cared? As long as the Cathedral was gone - uncle Stalin was happy...

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow new interior. By roman.yudkin at Flickr.com

...and the new one!

Nikita Khruschev ordered to build a swimming pool using the remaining foundation hole. It was the largest one in the world, but it couldn't nearly make up for the loss...

Time passed, the USSR fell, and in 2000, the Cathedral was finally restored. Zurab Tsereteli, a controversial architect, made his job well this time. He changed things, but I think it was for good. I'm not a big fan of his art, but sometimes he shines.

Today, everyone can visit the Cathedral. I think it's one of the most important Moscow sights you could see, so don't waste your time on anything else (unless it's The Red Square)

Good luck - and Godspeed! ;)




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