Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Cathedral of Christ The Saviour. Moscow tourists are drawn to the sights of Russia’s biggest cathedral.


The original cathedral was the largest church in orthodox Russia. Russia’s victory over Napoleon prompted the building of the church. The triumph occurred in 1812. However, construction did not begin until 1839.

Cathedral of Christ The Saviour before revolution

Designed by St. Petersburg architect Konstantin Ton, construction came to an end in 1883. Ton also designed the nearby Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury. All of the churches built by Ton represent the popular Byzantine-revival style.

The church symbolizes the close connection between church and state in the empire. While grand, the original church had a short history.

Aerial view of Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Joseph Stalin wanted to replace the building with a Palace of Soviets. The Soviet Union did not believe in the maintaining of religion. This ideology led to the destruction of many churches. The Soviets blew up the cathedral in 1931, making room for the Palace. German forces attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. The Palace plans then came to an end.

Years later, the construction of the USSR’s largest swimming pool began. Heated year-round, the swimming pool became a popular meeting point for Moscow residents.

The end of the Soviet regime in 1990 changed things. Religion continues to hold significance in society. Visitors today will find an opulent cathedral on the levelled site. A grand building, it reaches 103 meters tall.

Interior of the Cathedral

The new cathedral is a perfect copy of the original. In 1994, construction commenced. Donations from citizens supported the rebuild. The site retained its symbolic significance.


The church is understandably a treat for avid historians. Tourists should also visit to appreciate the impressive architecture. Large golden cupolas adorn the top and dominate the skyline of Moscow. The church is accessible for those visiting Moscow. Located near the metro exit.

Visitors touring the cathedral will be able to tour museums within.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour museum details the history of the site. The Patriarch Museum of the Church Art includes exhibitions with icons of the 14th-20th centuries.

The church’s upper and lower temples both have three altars. Each altar is dedicated to different saints.

Prayers in the Cathedral
A must-see for visitors is the observation deck. The view is a highlight of the church’s organized tour. From a 40-meter platform, the deck offers a panoramic view of the city.

Please pay attention to dress codes when visiting orthodox churches. For women, the rule requires a head covering. Men should have no head-covering and wear full-length trousers.

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is open to visitors daily. From 9 am to 6 pm. The church is still a functioning cathedral and can be closed during big Orthodox holidays.
Admission to the church is free. Visitors can also visit the museums and take photos free of charge.

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