This exciting tour will take you to the major Russian landmarks and must-see places while visiting Moscow. It starts in Varvarka street – an open-air museum of Russian architecture with medieval churches lined along the street. Among them there stands an old English Court where the first English embassy was opened back in XVI century. In the middle of XVI century English merchants in their attempt to find Northern route to India suddenly (and not surprisingly) found themselves somewhere near the Northern Russian town of Archangelsk. There the epic trip to Moscow started for them. As a result Ivan the Terrible (not so Terrible in this particular case) signed trade agreement with England and granted significant privileges to English merchants. The relationship between two countries were very prosperous until the English decapitated king Charles I. The embassy was expelled from Russia for a while.
Moscow of Ivan the Terrible
Next we will enter St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. This famous sacred building was built by the order of Ivan the Terrible as his votive church to celebrate a major victory over the nomads from the East, who devastated Russian lands for centuries. The main battle took place on the day of celebrating the religious holiday of Intercession of Our Lady. The Cathedral commemorated this triumphant moment of victory and was consecrated to the Intercession. Hence the first and the official name of the cathedral is the Cathedral of “Intercession on the moats”. The Cathedral is representative of Moscow’s architecture with red brick walls and accumulation of onion-shape cupolas. 8 cupolas according to the number of victories surround the central pillar. The cathedral was completed in 1561.
We know this Cathedral by the name of St Basil. Why? In XVI century there lived a man in Moscow whose name was Basil, he was a visionary or prophet. In Russia such people were highly respected and called “fool for Christ sake” because they pretended insane to be able to say the truth about people’s sins. They also made miracles like healing people or predicting future. After his death he was buried near the place where the Cathedral appeared later. He was so worshiped that the tsar and the Archbishop buried him. Later when the Cathedral was built, the chapel of St Basil became part of it and it so happened that the small chapel gave the second and more popular name to the Cathedral.
We’ll continue our tour in the Kremlin at Cathedral square. Three cathedrals located there represent credo of Ivan the Terrible as the first Russian tsar. We will see Tsar’s place in the Cathedral of Dormition, medieval murals in the Cathedral of Annunciation and burial place of Ivan the Terrible in the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel.