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St. Basil’s Cathedral, more formally known as the “Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed”, is located in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. It is a colorful church, shaped like the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky that is regarded as the symbol of the country.
See the fact file below for more information on the St. Basil’s Cathedral or alternatively, you can download our 21-page St. Basil’s Cathedral worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY OF ST. BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
- St. Basil’s Cathedral was ordered to be built by Tsar Ivan IV (more commonly known as “Ivan the Terrible”) to commemorate his campaign victories.
- Although the architect who built St. Basil’s Cathedral is unknown, tradition points to Barma and Postnik Yakovlev as the two architects responsible for its construction.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral originally sat in a busy marketplace.
- In 1552, Ivan the Terrible commissioned the building of the church upon capturing the Tatar stronghold of Kazan, to commemorate his victory over the Mongol Empire on European lands.
- His victory, which took place on the religious holiday of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin, signified a defeat of the Mongol Empire, as this was their last remaining grip in Europe.
- Construction of St. Basil’s Cathedral took from 1555-1561.
- Four of the cathedral’s eight chapels were named for religious holidays that happened to coincide with important events in the Kazan campaign.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral has gone through many fires, expansions, rebuilds, and preservation attempts since the 16th century.
- During the late 1800s and up until the First World War, a proper restoration was encouraged by preservationist societies, but it
was delayed due to a lack of funds; it was eventually deemed necessary, and restoration work was finally completed.
- By 1908, St. Basil’s Cathedral received its first warm air heating
system, and by World War II, another round of repairs restored
many levels, platforms, ceilings, and galleries.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF ST. BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
- The cathedral is made up of eight small, separate chapels aligned on points of the compass; they are octagonal in shape.
- Four of these chapels are raised to designate their position between heaven and earth.
- There is a lot of speculation about the influences on the cathedral’s structure and style – some say that the European styles at the time were rejected in favor of something “Asian”-looking.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral combines a staggered layout, cylindrical shapes,
and architectural styles that mimic traditional Italian structures.
- As the cathedral continued to be built and modified, Italian architectects and builders were replaced with men from England and
Germany, the latter of whom added a distinct influence to the features of the cathedral.
- Although the smaller churches are symmetrical, the cathedral as a whole structure is actually deliberately offset to the west, which creates a multi-axial, asymmetrical shape to onlookers.
- The inside of the church is comprised of narrow corridors, vertical cylinders, steep stairwells, and full of maze-like hallways.
- The foundation of the cathedral is made of a white stone foundation, while the rest of the church was built using red brick, as was tradition in medieval Moscow.
DESIGN AND IMPORTANCE OF ST. BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
- St. Basil’s Cathedral’s vivid colors were painted in many stages between the 1680s and 1848.
- The original color scheme of the cathedral followed the depiction of the Heavenly City in the Book of Revelation.
- Throughout most of the 17th century, the walls of the church were covered in traditional white, red, and golden colors with some green and blue ceramic pieces mixed in to mimic the “rainbow” described in the Bible (Revelation, 4:3-4, KJV).
- The building is partly in use today both as a museum and for periodic services by the Russian Orthodox Church.
- Red Square in Moscow has been a place of great importance to Russia’s history and cultural life since the 15th century; St. Basil’s
Cathedral contributes to the recognition of this market area in Moscow all over the world.
- Every October, the cathedral hosts a service in honor of the Day of Intercession.
- There is a replica of the cathedral located in the city of Jalainur in Mongolia.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral was named part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
St. Basil’s Cathedral Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the St. Basil’s Cathedral across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use St. Basil’s Cathedral worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the St. Basil’s Cathedral, more formally known as the “Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed”, which is located in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. It is a colorful church, shaped like the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky that is regarded as the symbol of the country.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- St. Basil’s Cathedral Facts
- Old Urban Legends
- Cathedral Wordsearch
- The Colorful Cathedral
- Helpful Religious Terminology
- Shapes and Colors
- Opinion Piece
- Cathedral Crossword
- Our Five Senses
- What’s That Word?
- The Time of Troubles
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Use With Any Curriculum
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