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St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

Architecture in Russia: Colorful Onion Domes in Red Square

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1554-1560: Ivan the Terrible erected the exuberant St. Basil's Cathedral just outside the Kremlin gates in Moscow.
The very colorful spires and domes of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow

Photo © Michael Douglas Bramwell, mdiocuh galeals on flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
The reign of Ivan IV (the Terrible) brought a brief resurgence of interest in traditional Russian styles. To honor Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan, the legendary Ivan the Terrible erected the exuberant St. Basil's Cathedral just outside the Kremlin gates in Moscow. Completed in 1560, St. Basil's is a carnival of painted onion domes in the most expressive of Russo-Byzantine traditions. It is said that Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded so that they could never again design a building so beautiful.

St. Basil's Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God.

After the reign of Ivan IV, architecture in Russia borrowed more and more from European rather than Eastern styles.

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