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St. Basil's Cathedral

Think of Russia and you probably picture this iconic building, whose onion-shaped domes overlook the Moscow skyline.

St. Basil’s Cathedral has become an emblem of Russia due to its distinctive architecture and prominent position on the famous Red Square. Discover hidden surprises inside its walls. Take pictures of the famous exterior and then explore the maze-like interior, which is comprised of multiple chapels.

Learn the real name of this 16th-century church: the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat. It was so named to celebrate a win over Tatar troops, on the day of the Feast of the Intercession, by Ivan the Terrible and his men. The colloquial name comes from Basil, a holy fool who was laid to rest in the cathedral.

Spend a few minutes appreciating the dazzling design of the cathedral. The most recognizable features are its domes. Known as “onion domes” due to their special shape, they come in a range of different colors and designs with three-dimensional effects. See red and white stripes, green and yellow swirls and a tall golden dome at the top. The dizzying height of its tented roof also catches the eye.

Before you enter, be prepared for the interior to feel a lot smaller than the grand scale of the cathedral’s façade due to its unusual layout. Each of the domes represents a chapel within.  Explore the chapels and other religious areas in the building. Look specifically for the St. Basil Chapel and note how it is richly decorated to match the saint’s importance.

Wander along the gallery. The labyrinthine passages here are beautifully decorated and will lead you to your chapel of choice. Climb up the old wooden stairs. These were only unearthed in the 1970s and now lead to the central part of the cathedral. Here you will find a huge iconostasis.

Note that St. Basil’s Cathedral functions mainly as a museum. There is only one service here, held annually on the Day of the Intercession. Take the subway to Ploshchad Revolyutsii to visit the cathedral. The site has an entry fee and is closed on Tuesdays.


Guide to Exploring around St. Basil's Cathedral


Map

Best Lodging Options Near St. Basil's Cathedral

See all 3,579 Properties near St. Basil's Cathedral
Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow ¥11,533
Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow

Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow

15/1 Mokhovaya Street, bld. 1, Moscow
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bolshoi Theatre and State Historical Museum. Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square are also within 15 minutes. Teatral'naya Station is only a 4-minute walk and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station is 10 minutes.

    Hotel Metropol Moscow ¥14,371
    Hotel Metropol Moscow

    Hotel Metropol Moscow

    2 Teatralny Proezd, Moscow
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Maly Theatre and Bolshoi Theatre. TsUM — Central Universal Department Store and Revolution Square are also within 10 minutes. Teatral'naya Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station is 6 minutes.

      Pentahotel Moscow, Arbat ¥5,988
      Pentahotel Moscow, Arbat

      Pentahotel Moscow, Arbat

      Ulitsa Novy Arbat, 15, Moscow, Moscow
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Moscow hotel is located in a shopping district, within a 15-minute walk of Lotte Plaza and Arbat Street. Moscow Kremlin and Kremlin Armoury Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Arbatskaya Station - Arbatsko - Pokrovskaya Line is 9 minutes by foot and Arbatskaya Station - Filyovskaya Line is 11 minutes.

        Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow ¥17,245
        Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

        Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

        Ul. Balchug 1, Moscow
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Zaryadye Park, Moscow Kremlin, and Red Square. St. Basil's Cathedral and Bolshoi Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Novokuznetskaya Station is 8 minutes by foot and Tretyakovskaya Station is 10 minutes.

          Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow ¥31,616
          Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

          Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

          Neglinnaya Street No 4, Moscow
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Moscow hotel is located in the historical district, within a 15-minute walk of Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow Kremlin, and Red Square. St. Basil's Cathedral and Kremlin Armoury Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Teatral'naya Station is only a 5-minute walk and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station is 8 minutes.

            Troyka Hotel Moscow ¥2,395
            Troyka Hotel Moscow

            Troyka Hotel Moscow

            Sadovnicheskaya ulitsa 5, Moscow
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Moscow City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Zaryadye Park, Red Square, and State Tretyakov Gallery. St. Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Novokuznetskaya Station is 9 minutes by foot and Tretyakovskaya Station is 12 minutes.

              Grada Boutique Hotel ¥9,019
              Grada Boutique Hotel

              Grada Boutique Hotel

              Kuznetsky Most Street, 6/3, Bld. 3, Moscow
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Moscow City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Bolshoi Theatre, State Historical Museum, and Lenin's Mausoleum. Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kuznetsky Bridge Station is 5 minutes by foot and Teatral'naya Station is 6 minutes.

                The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow ¥33,053
                The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

                The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

                Tverskaya Street 3, Moscow
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  This family-friendly Moscow hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Manezh Square, Bolshoi Theatre, and GUM Department Store. TsUM — Central Universal Department Store and St. Basil's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Okhotny Ryad Station is only a 2-minute walk and Teatral'naya Station is 4 minutes.