Russia is very famous for its churches and cathedrals – they have a special place in the world of architecture. These architecture traditions came from Byzantium, but Russians created their own unique style.
There are a lot of beautiful churches in Russia and it would take a very long time to describe every single one of them. That’s why here I’ll make a shorter list of the 10 Russian churches and cathedrals which deserve the most attention.
Here they are – the most beautiful, unique and famous churches in Russia.
1. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
St .Basil’s Cathedral is the most famous and recognized Russian church. It’s located right in the heart of Moscow – on Red Square. St. Basil’s Cathedral is not only the most beautiful church in Russia but one of the most impressive religious monuments of the world that is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It was built in the middle of 16th century by the order of Ivan IV named “The Terrible”. This cathedral, with eleven colored domes, became one of the most famous symbols of the Russian capital. According to one of the legends, the architect who built the St. Basil’s cathedral was blinded after its completion to not be able to replicate anything like that again.
2. Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Petersburg
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is the largest Orthodox Church in the city and it is on my list of must do things in St. Petersburg. It took 40 years to construct the cathedral before it was finally built in 1858.
These days, Saint Isaac’s Cathedral became a very popular museum. Visitors can get to the top of the cathedral from where you can see some gorgeous views of St. Petersburg.
3. The Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi
The small island called Kizhi located in the Onega Lake is world-known by the Church of the Transfiguration. Looking at this building, it’s hard to believe that it was built from wood without a single nail.
According to the legend, the temple was built at the beginning of the 18th century by a local carpenter, called Nestor, who used only one single ax to build this beauty.
4. The Assumption Cathedral, Smolensk
The first brick of the Assumption Cathedral in Smolensk was put by Vladimir Monomakh in 1101 and it is one of the oldest churches in Russia. It was created in Baroque style in honor of the victory over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Its size is pretty impressive with a height of 70 meters, the length of 56.2 meters, and the width of 40.5 meters. The construction of the cathedral continued for more than 100 years.
5. Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg
This church is also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. The Kazan Cathedral was built in analogy with the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome. The Northern facade of the cathedral is in Empire style. It has a semi-circular Colonnade including 96 columns, 13 meters of height each.
The cathedral became not only a specific and holy place for believers but also a monument of the Russian military glory. The square in the front of the Kazan Cathedral was often chosen as a place for political and public demonstrations.
6. The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Sergiyev Posad
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is located in Sergiyev Posad, which is a part of the Golden Ring cities. It is a unique architectural complex consisting of more than 50 buildings. The building period of Lavra was from the 14th until the 19th century.
This is the largest friary in Russia. The first Abbot of the friary was Sergius of Radonezh. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Lavra got its status back again and started to work as a friary.
7. The Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir
This cathedral might not look as impressive as some of the other churches in this list, but it has a very rich history. The original Dormition Cathedral was destroyed in the tragic fire of 1185. What we see these days is the restored version that was built in 1185-1189.
The Dormition Cathedral is a big deal – it’s been the largest church in Russia for over 300 years!
8. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (also called as “Spas na Krovi”) is yet another beautiful Orthodox church in St. Petersburg. It was built not that long ago in 1907 and from the outside, it looks very similar to the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
Take a look at this cool video of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood from a drone.
9. Foros Church, Crimea
This amazing church is located on the Red Cliff 412 meters above sea level. This church was created in honor of the saving of the Royal Family. According to history, in 1888, Alexander II with his wife and kids survived a train accident. After the merchant Alexander Kuznetsov knew this, he asked for permission to build a church in honor of this event.
As this temple is seen well from the sea, it’s also a good beacon for mariners indicating the way during storms and fogs.
I also recommend that you check out other popular sights of Crimea. There are some truly beautiful places!
10. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was built in the 1990’s, but it is an exact copy of another Cathedral that was located at the same place in the 19th century, which was destroyed later by the communists. This church is located on the northern bank of the Moskva River close by to the Kremlin and the Red Square.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and beautiful pictures of the Russian churches. Stay tuned, folks!