This is a continuation from: Four top sights to visit around Moscow’s Red Square
If you, like me mistook the colourful domes of St Basil’s Cathedral (St Basil’s) for the Kremlin, you should be forgiven. After all, St Basil’s lies side by side the Kremlin, separated by a high brick wall.
St Basil’s Cathedral is a must-go for every visitor to Moscow. It’s the highlight because I can confidently say that it’s probably the most colourful cathedral in the word with the most unusual of all architecture.
(In case you’re wondering what’s the difference between a cathedral and a church, a cathedral is a church with a seat for a bishop.) Click on the Wiki link for more information.
What’s important is that the inside of the cathedral is as interesting and beautiful as the outside. We had previously been to a Russian Orthodox church in Irkutsk, so it wasn’t so much of a culture shock. Like the one we had visited, there were murals that covered almost every inch of the wall. On the ceiling of the dome, there was a painting of what seems to be Jesus or a saint on it. I guess the difference lied in the fact that St Basil’s Cathedral, a world-famous star attraction, was bigger in size and had more intricate artwork.
I’m not a history or architecture buff, but it’s the simple yet beautiful views of St Basil’s Cathedral that makes you not want to leave. It’s the stuff of fairy tales, an unexpected surprise. And it does make the seven-day Trans Siberian trip seem all very worth it.
It was an early afternoon, when I noticed a crowd around the shrine. A man pushed past me hurriedly, muttering “Excuse me” to join a group in front of the shrine.
After a short introduction, the group started singing (acapella style). The strangest sort of Russian folk songs, which sounded perfectly in sync with the whole cathedral, with the fullness of the baritone bouncing off the great walls. For a moment, you are brought back to the past, where I can imagine a congregation singing hymns of worship in a holy place.
Even though the songs were in Russian and we didn’t understand a word of it, it just felt nice to be immersed so deeply in someone else’s culture that very moment.
Credits: Thanks to Xiao Huo Zi for the photos inside St Basil’s.