St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow: visits and tickets

by Alexander Popov

Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

It is certainly the most photographed ensemble in all of Russia: St. Basil’s Cathedral together with the Savior Tower (Spaskaja) of the Kremlin, photographed from Red Square. The world-famous St. Basil’s Cathedral, located on Red Square, impresses with its colorful facade and its unique symmetry.

The Cathedral is one of the highlights of Red Square and an absolute must for Moscow tourists. Their colorful onion domes are almost symbolic of Russia and the Orthodox Church. As one of the landmarks of Moscow, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Kremlin and Red Square since 1990.

On this map you can see exactly where St. Basil’s Cathedral is located:

St. Basil’s Cathedral and its history

St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square has its official name “Sobor Pokrova Presvjatoy Bogoroditsy na Rvu”, which in English means something like: “The Intercession Cathedral of the blessed virgin Mary on the Moat”. In 1555 the current building was built to replace the wooden Holy Trinity Church. The notorious First Tsar of Russia, Ivan IV, was the initiator of the construction.

St. Basil’s Cathedral is probably the most famous sacred building in all of Russia and is considered the symbol of Moscow worldwide. The nine onion-like domes look almost oriental and foreign to many. But they give St. Basil’s Cathedral an unmistakable look. The Cathedral has a total of nine small chapels, which are actually nine separate churches, arranged in geometric regularity around the tower of the central church. Inside you will find numerous exhibits and wall paintings that tell of days gone by. In the entrance area is the highlight of St. Basil’s Cathedral, the gold-plated shrine.

Each individual church has its own tower, together they form a covered complex. Services used to take place in these churches, but this is no longer the case. Because it has not been used for religious purposes since the Soviet times, but serves as a memorial and is definitely worth a visit.

The creators of St. Basil’s Cathedral

Barma and Postnik Yakovlev were the architects of the Cathedral. According to legend, Ivan the Terrible asked if the two masters could manage to build an even more beautiful building. When they confirmed, Ivan had them both blinded so that nothing more beautiful than St. Basil’s Cathedral could be built elsewhere. However, this story remains a legend to this day.

See the world-famous St. Basil’s Cathedral up close? Experience the unique view from Red Square of this unique sacred building? First of all, you need a Russian visa , and you can find out how to get it here!

Where can I buy tickets for St. Basil’s Cathedral?

Tickets can be purchased either directly at the Cathedral or online. To buy a ticket online, go to the following website:

The entrance fees are affordable – a ticket costs 1000 rubles for tourists, which is the equivalent of around $ 14.

Are there certain cathedral rules?

If you would like to visit St. Basil’s Cathedral, there are different rules of conduct that you should absolutely observe.

  • Decorations, exhibits and windows must not be touched.
  • Pictures and videos can be taken without a flash or tripod. However, recording is prohibited for special exhibitions.
  • Strollers or wheelchairs are not allowed in the Cathedral.
  • Bags and rucksacks larger than 30×40 cm must be left at the cloakroom.

Opening hours:

St. Basil’s Cathedral is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 19:00 p.m. except the first Wednesday of the month.

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