The Christ the Saviour Cathedral is Russia's most important cathedral and its largest, having been designed to accommodate 10,000 people. The current version is actually the cathedral's second incarnation. Construction of the original version was started in 1839 under the project of the famous architect Konstantin Ton and the cathedral was consecrated 1883. However this version was famously demolished on the orders of Stalin in 1931. Afterwards there were plans to build an enormous Palace of Soviets on the site incorporating a giant statue of Lenin. However this never materialised and so an open-air swimming pool was created instead. After the fall of the Soviet Union there were calls to rebuild the cathedral and construction work started in 1994. The lower church of the cathedral was consecrated by Patriarch Alexius II in 1996 and the first Christmas liturgy was held in the cathedral in 2000. In 2007 the funeral of President Yeltsin was held at the cathedral and in 2008 the funeral of Patriarch Alexius II. In the basement there is an exhibition on the history of the demolition and reconstruction of the cathedral, as well as a various other exhibitions on religious themes.
To enter the cathedral you will need to pass through a security check. All phones must be switched off and photography inside is forbidden and the ban is strictly enforced; especially since Pussy Riot attempted to play their now infamous 'punk-prayer' here in 2012. The official dress code for Russian churches is also enforced here. Women must cover their heads and must be wearing a skirt that covers their knees, trousers are not allowed. Men must take off any headgear and must not be wearing shorts. Big bags are also not permitted. It is possible for woman to rent a skirt to wrap around their trousers in the excursion office to the left of the main entrance of the cathedral on Ulitsa Volkhonka.
Also located on the cathedral's grounds are the small wooden Our Lady Sovereign Church, which was built between 1994 and 1995, and the single-domed stone Transfiguration of the Saviour Church, which was built between 1995 and 1996.
|Location||15 Ulitsa Volkhonka|