Tour guide in Moscow
Guide touristique à Moscou
Reiseleitung in Moskau
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HISTORY: In December 1812 after the glorious end of the war against Napoleon emperor Alexander I announced that he wished to build a cathedral in Moscow dedicated to the intercession of Jesus Christ. Five years later a site was found (near Vorobievy Gory in the outskirts of the city). But at that time difficult structure of soil there and underground waters didn't allow to start the construction works.
A new project was approved only in 1832 by the emperor Nicolas I. Construction works lasted for 40 and were finished in 1881.
Moscow heard the bells of the cathedral for the first time on the day of the Ascension (May 26, 1883). From that day the cathedral became active. It became the spiritual and educational center of the country. It had a vast public library. The donations collected by the cathedral were distributed to the poor, to the refugees and to the injured.
After the bolshevik revolution the repressions started. The new power captured the valuables and desacrated the churches. The priests and the devotees who tried to oppose the looting of the cathedral were arrested and killed.
In 1931 the cathedral was destroyed by two huge explosions. Bolsheviks were planning to build a huge structure there («Palace of the Soviets») with the monument to Lenin that was to look down on the whole city.
But the war started. The works were stopped as the timber that was already brought to the construction site was used for constructing antitank obstacles.
After the war there was just a huge pit in the ground prepared for the construction of the basement, and in 1958 a big public swimming pool was built there (that functioned till mid 1990s).
In the 1990s upon the initiative of the mayor of Moscow and patriarch Alexii II the cathedral was rebuilt according to the original project. Total surface of paintings and frescos in the central part is 22 000 m2, which includes 9 000 m2 of frescos painted on a layer of pure gold.
In the XIX century it took 44 years to build the cathedral but now it was rebuilt just in 4 years. 3000 qualified workers worked in each shift at the construction site. During the final phase over 1000 selected artists, sculptors, restorers and figure-casters were working on the cathedral.
The basic shape of the cathedral is the so-called «Greek cross». It is topped with 5 cupolas, the central one is much bigger than the others. Smaller cupolas have belfries.
The height of the cathedral is 105 meters, the diameter of the central cupola is 30 meters. The cathedral occupies the area of 6800 m2. Inside excluding the areas where the devotees can't stand during the mess there is still almost 3000 m2 that is enough for 7000 people.