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St. Basil Moscow

st. basil moscow

St. Basil Moscow

I’m in the process of scanning all of my old, PRE-digital photos and getting them organized – a process that I will detail in a later post. In any case, I keep coming across images with great memories.  I spent the summer of 1989 studying in Moscow and Leningrad. Red Square was one of those places I couldn’t get over.  I spent pretty much every bit of my free time there just people watching, making new friends and taking pictures. I must have taken a hundred different shots of this iconic cathedral.

The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. It was completed in 1560. That’s pretty much all the genuine history that’s known about this celebrated landmark. There, however, scores of legends. Nothing is known about the builders, Barma and Postnik Yakovlev, except their names and the dubious legend that Ivan had them blinded so that they could not create anything to compare. Historians unanimously state that this is nothing but urban folklore.

Architectural specialists are to this day unable to agree about the governing idea behind the structure. Either the creators were paying homage to the churches of Jerusalem, or, by building eight churches around a central ninth, they were representing the medieval symbol of the eight-pointed star. The original concept of the Cathedral of the Intercession has been hidden from us beneath layers of stylistic additions and new churches added to the main building. In fact, when built, the Cathedral was all white to match the white-stone Kremlin, and the onion domes were gold rather than multi-colored and patterned as they are today.

Here are a few more shots from the USSR in the summer of 1989:

New Apartments. Leningrad. 

The Tourist. Sergiev Posad. USSR. 

Pigeons. Sergiev Posad. USSR.

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