Of all the churches in Russia, the most famous is in Moscow: St Basil's Cathedral. As the heart of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow is home to many beautiful and important churches, and St Basil's, located on Red Square, is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. Its brightly colored domes are often the image people associate with Moscow and with Russia in general. Churches in Russia have played an important role throughout history, and like many others, St Basil’s Cathedral was built to celebrate a significant historical moment.
Ivan the Terrible commissioned this most famous of Moscow churches in the sixteenth century to commemorate a successful military campaign, the Russo-Kazan War. The combination of red bricks and domes of swirling bright colors have become synonymous with churches in Russia, and for many visitors, the outside of this church is more impressive than the modest interior. This church is closed on Tuesdays, but it is open from Wednesday through Monday. During a visit to the Red Square, you can also visit Lenin’s tomb and see the Kremlin.
Outside of the city center is another of the famous Moscow churches. The Novodevichy Convent is a large convent surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Smolensky Cathedral has five beautiful domes, in a distinctly Russian style. Closed only on Tuesdays, visitors will have access to the entire complex during the rest of the week. Built in 1525, the Cathedral is a great example of a medieval Russian church. Outside of the capital, there are more historic churches in Russia as well, such as the magnificent wooden churches on the island of Kizhi, in Lake Onega.
A trip to St Petersburg will be full of religious sights as well. One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Cathedral of Peter and Paul. Unlike other churches in Russia, this cathedral has specific political associations as almost all the rulers since of Russia since Tsar Peter the Great are buried there. Work began on the church almost immediately after the city was founded, making it young amongst other historic churches in Russia, as it was completed in 1733. The graves at this cathedral are extravagant and especially worth seeing, particularly if you're interested in the history of Russia.
The largest church in St Petersburg is St Isaac’s Cathedral. Since its completion in 1858, the golden dome has been one of the dominating features of the St Petersburg skyline. The church is closed on Wednesdays, but it is open to the public during the rest of the week. While some Moscow churches may be initially more impressive, this cathedral has many beautiful mosaics and paintings on the interior, making it well worth a detailed exploration. Religious buildings will form a core of any group of sightseeing during a visit to Russia, and rightly so. The Orthodox religion is at the core of life in Russia, and seeing the buildings that celebrate this will be a memorable aspect of any trip to the country.