AsiaVisiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral

Visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Even the locals who are always in a hurry and are used to hundreds of onion dome churches constantly in their sight still stop to admire the grandeur of Christ the Savior Cathedral. The cathedral is located on the Moscow River banks near the Pushkin Museum for the Fine Arts.

For many Russians, the Cathedral symbolizes the effort to defeat the damage caused by the Communism era. The cathedral was built to commemorate the victory over Napoleon in 1812. The construction took more than 40 years.

Visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Stalin, in one of his most dramatic acts of vengeance against the Russian Orthodox Church, Stalin ordered the cathedral’s explosion. 

It began with looting the rich interiors and topped with a series of explosions. The plan was to build the world’s tallest skyscraper ( Orwell fans, can you the parallel with the mill construction in Animal farm?!). The Palace of Soviets – a utopian project of the world’s tallest building with a rotating monument to V.I.Lenin on the roof. It miserably failed. Once the builders completed the foundation of the Palace of Soviets, they began to erect the frame. Still, the shortage of building materials during the Great Patriotic War never let them finish the project. Space ended up being used as the site for an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral

The new Cathedral of Christ the Savior was erected in 1997 with a lot of political and religious enthusiasm, trying to maintain an external resemblance to the original.

The Cathedral today is an object of Pilgrimage for many Orthodox Christians.  

The surviving elements of white-stone decor after the explosion were installed in the wall of the Donskoy Monastery.

Once the builders completed the foundation of the Palace of Soviets, they began to erect the frame. Still, the shortage of building materials during the Great Patriotic War never let them finish the project. 

Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral

Shrines and icons of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The temple is very significant for Orthodox Christians and is an object of pilgrimage. As well as the memorial for the victims of the war.

All along the building’s perimeter, history is told: you can find the depiction of the biggest battles, the names of the generals, officers and soldiers who fought for their Motherland. 

The interior of Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The interior of the Cathedral is as grand and impressive as its exterior.  With gold leaf, marble, porphyry, and labrador – all in harmony with the exterior’s grandeur. 

The height of the temple is 79 meters. The amazing iconostasis, located on the same axis as the main entrance, is an octahedral chapel made of white marble. The top is crowned with a golden tent. 

Museum inside the Cathedral

The church houses the Patriarchal Museum of Church Art, exhibiting Orthodox culture pieces.

You have to buy a guided tour to visit the cathedral. The tours can be purchased at any agency or online. This is also the only way to get to the Observation deck.

How to get to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The gold-domed Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a short 10-minute walk from Kremlin, can be included in your Red Square tour. You can see the gold onion dome from almost everywhere in the historic center. 

The temple rises on the banks of the Moskva River. For the best shots and views, just walk across the Patriarchs Bridge. From there you will get the most panoramic views of the Kremlin and the cathedral. 

Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral

The bridge links the chocolate factory (Red October )to the gold-domed Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

By metro

Take the red line to the Kropotkinskaya station. The exit from the metro is located right by the Cathedral of Christ the Savior; it will take you 3 minutes to walk from the subway station to the main entrance. You can find my guide to Moscow metro with tips and fun facts here

The world is full of endless wonders, so travel along with me and see it all!