Saint Basil's Cathedral

Although it's known to everyone as St. Basil's, this legendary building is officially called "The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat". The popular alternative refers to Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite 'holy fool' who was buried on the site (in the Trinity Cathedral that once stood here) a few years before the present building was erected.

The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. It was completed in 1560.Architectural specialists are to this day unable to agree about the governing idea behind the structure. Either the creators were paying homage to the churches of Jerusalem, or, by building eight churches around a central ninth, they were representing the medieval symbol of the eight-pointed star. The original concept of the Cathedral of the Intercession has been hidden from us beneath layers of stylistic additions and new churches added to the main building. In fact, when built, the Cathedral was all white to match the white-stone Kremlin, and the onion domes were gold rather than multi-colored and patterned as they are today.

Russia 6

A few stations on the Moscow subway

Moscow's underground transit system is now more than 80 years old, and carries up to 9 million passengers through more than 200 stations every day. Most of the architecture and decor was built decades ago, meant to be a showcase for Soviet artists, ideals, and icons.