Russia Celebrates Iconic Cathedral’s 450th Anniversary

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Russia is celebrating the 450th anniversary of Saint Basil's Cathedral, located in Moscow's Red Square.

The church is known for its nine colorful onion-shaped domes.

The observance, which is to last four months, began Tuesday with the opening of an exhibition honoring its the saint.

Constructed on the orders of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561, the iconic church has been extensively renovated. The restoration project cost an estimated $14 million.

Saint Basil's consists of nine churches built on one foundation and has survived Moscow winters, Napoleon Bonaparte's attempt to destroy it, and Soviet leaders' efforts to blow it up as part of efforts to destroy religious influence.

Saint Basil, buried under the church, was an unorthodox saint famous for naked walks around Moscow in extremely cold weather, healings and prophecies.

The cathedral marks the geometric center of Moscow.