This beautiful thing is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
We can see its golden domes from our apartment window. It's less than 3 miles away. (I'm still amazed by that.)
This is the tallest Christian Orthodox church in the world. The stunning thing is that this is a replica of the church from the 1800's--the original one was demolished and plundered for its gold domes by the newly-formed Soviet Union in the 1930's. For a while, Stalin wanted to build a Palace of the Soviets in place of the cathedral, but ultimately didn't have the funding. When the foundation flooded, Nikita Khrushchev turned it into a giant swimming pool. (Fun, right?)
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church got permission from the government to rebuild the cathedral, and it was completed in 2000. So I guess you could say it's a new old church.
It is one of my absolute favorites in Moscow. The scale of the church is just unbelievable. I spent three hours painting ONE of the smaller domes on a 5x6" piece of watercolor paper. (I'll post some pictures of that tomorrow.)
You also may also recognize this church as the church that Pussy Riot did their infamous deed in and got arrested for.
See the tiny person walking around at the bottom?
The view from the bridge, looking toward the Kremlin (that's the red towers). The white buildings with the green roof are their government offices.
Outside the church: a priest conversing with a group of church women with headscarves.
Tim and I went inside the church to see what it was like. They made me rent a юпка (yupka, skirt) because I was in shorts and they had a dress-code for the church. We weren't allowed to take pictures in side. (Well, clarification: if we wanted to pay about $30 we could...obviously, we decided not to.)
However, there was a group of young officers of some sort in there, and I think they were getting blessed by the priest. In any case, their family members all had their cameras out and were happily snapping away, so I got our camera out and joined the throng.
I really wish you could stand in there with me, just to experience it. It's just massive, and the dome goes up and up and up. You could wander around forever, with the scent of incense all around and the stubs of beeswax candles burning brightly in front of their chosen saint.
If you want to see a 360 of the church, you can click here and take a spin. Then, when you fall in love with it, you can come visit me and see it in person! I'll be here another month, folks...just saying...
They had a choir singing high up in the balcony on the second level, and it filled the entire church.
Officer kissing the cross.
Tomorrow, I'll show you some pictures of the watercolor I painted!