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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

I'm re-reading a novel - Moscow Rules - that's partly set in Russia and which mentions the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ...

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior rose before him, its five golden onion domes dull against the heavy gray sky. The original cathedral had been dynamited by Kaganovich in 1931 on orders from Stalin, supposedly because it blocked the view from the window of his Kremlin apartment. In its place the Bolsheviks had attempted to erect a massive government skyscraper called the Palace of Soviets, but the riverside soil proved unsuitable for such a building and the construction site flooded repeatedly. Eventually, Stalin and his engineers surrendered to the inevitable and turned the land into a public swimming pool -- the world's largest, of course. Rebuilt after the fall of communism at enormous public expense, the cathedral was now one of Moscow's most popular tourist attractions. - Moscow Rules, p. 331

A recurring theme in the novel is how big everything is in Russia, and Wikipedia states that With an overall height of 105 metres (344 ft), it [the cathedral] is the tallest Orthodox church in the world. :) The original cathedral was built by Alexander I in thanks when Napoleon retreated from Moscow and was designed to resemble Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The cathedral was eventually dynamited as the novel stated, and many of its holy relics were preserved at Donskoy Monastery. In 1990, the Orthodox Church received permission to rebuild the cathedral and a replica of the original was designed. It's said that nearly a million Muscovites donated money for the rebuilding.

- a capture of the ceiling from a 360ยบ Virtual Tour of the cathedral


Blogger Dina said...

Wow, what a history.
Thanks for the 360 tour link.

2:35 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina :)

10:12 AM  

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