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St. Basil’s: an Icon of Russia

Inside Russia’s most distinctive landmark

The new film St. Basil’s: An icon of Russia on RT Documentary takes the viewers inside one of Russia’s oldest and most famous churches and tells its many legends.

St. Basil’s Cathedral was built on the orders of Ivan the Terrible to mark the taking down of the Kazan Khanate — a victory equal to that in WWII for the 20th century. However, from the moment it was built, mysteries surrounded it. For example, people say that because the cathedral was so beautiful, Tsar Ivan didn’t want a copy of it constructed anywhere else and poked the architects’ eyes out. There is also a legend the beautiful domes of Saint Basil were brought by the Russian troops from Kazan. People from different backgrounds notice familiar features — to some, it looks like a gothic church, while others see signatures of the Taj Mahal.

The actual name St. Basil’s is not the real one. It is really called the Cathedral of the Intercession on the Moat — St. Basil’s real name — by people to honour Basil the Blessed. He was the holy fool who chose a simple life, walked barefoot and abandoned his clothes, for which God granted him the gift of miracles working. People loved him, and even Ivan the Terrible was said to be afraid of him.

What other legends do the walls of St Basil’s conceal?