Christ the Savior, Moscow, Russia

When Alexander I came to power in 1801 he was conducting a defensive war against Napoleon Bonaparte. Eventually the war was carried to Moscow and as Alexander evacuated the city, weighted by a great sense of responsibility for allowing the enemy to enter his country and carry the horrors of war, he prayed and vowed to honor Jesus Christ with a great structure if he would only help save his nation.

On Dec. 25, 1812, less than two weeks after the French Army was driven from Russia, Tsar Alexander signed a manifesto, declaring his intentions to build a large cathedral - the future Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Yet it was brought up only after his death during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I.

Konstantin Thon is credited for the Russian Revival design of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, inspired in part by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Its cornerstone was placed in 1839 and it took two decades to complete it, the scaffolding finally removed in 1860. One of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, it hosted the coronation of Tsar Alexander III on May 26, 1883, the same day on which the cathedral was consecrated.

Through the later period of Imperial Russia, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior served as the center of Russian spirituality. Indeed, the church managed to survive the 1920's - the worst of the Soviet antireligious campaign. Nevertheless, in 1930 the state faced economic shortfalls and in response, the government proposed to extract the 20 tons of gold of “excellent quality” from the cathedral’s dome, declaring it an “unnecessary luxury of the Soviet Union.” As a result, on Dec. 5, 1931, the Communist Party demolished the heart of Russia’s Orthodoxy.

The original structure withstood several explosions before finally collapsing. It took a year before all the rubble was finally removed, and in its place was planned the “Palace of the Soviets” - a skyscraper that was to be taller than the Eiffel Tower, complete with a statue of Lenin at the top.

Between 1937 and the invasion of Nazi Germany in 1941, a steel skeleton of the new tower went up but was disassembled and used for fortifications and bridges that carried the troops that drove Hitler back to Germany. As a result, instead of a building, for much of the Communist era the site became the location of the Moscow Pool.

When the Communist regime fell in 1991, a construction fund was initiated for the resurrection of the Cathedral. Because the money was raised by ordinary citizens, it took over three years to raise the funds. The construction of today’s the 344-foot structure began in 1995 and was finally completed in 2000.

Made of white marble and granite with glittering golden domes, the Cathedral once again stands as the most impressive ecclesiastical building in Moscow and is considered a symbol of revival and hope, and is the tallest Orthodox church in the world.
Christ the Savior, Moscow, Russia
Christ the Savior, Moscow, Russia

See it on following tours

Rating:
4.91
4.9119693600141545
Best of Russia | Premium Package

Best of Russia | Premium Package

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Sergiev Posad Suzdal Saint Petersburg
Get the ultimate 5-star Russia experience as you explore both of the capitals and the UNESCO heritage of the Golden Ring Towns. Stays at 5-star central properties, executive class airport transfers, Russian visa processing, and all the must-sees in one fully customizable program.
Rating: 4.89
From
$5,000
Essential Moscow & Saint Petersburg

Essential Moscow & Saint Petersburg

8 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg

BEST VALUE: See the most outstanding gems of Moscow and St. Petersburg, savouring the ideal private itinerary around two gorgeous Russian capitals.

Rating: 4.96
From
$2,450
Treasures of Two Russian Capitals (5-star)

Premium Treasures of Two Capitals

9 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Our private tour of Russia's Moscow & St. Petersburg covers all major highlights in a completely carefree fashion. As always offering top-notch quality and service throughout.
Rating: 4.98
From
$4,200
Platinum Russia

Platinum Russia

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Be treated like royalty discovering Moscow and St. Petersburg with the best 5-star hotels, thoroughly designed tours, Russian visas, 1st class train tickets and transfers included in our 5+ star luxury tour
Rating: 5.00
From
$7,998
Wonders of Russia

Wonders of Russia

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Irkutsk Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Explore the most incredible places in Russia and discover the best of Moscow, Irkutsk, St. Petersburg and the gorgeous Pearl of Siberia - Lake Baikal.

Rating: 4.88
From
$4,998
Definitive Treasures of Two Capitals

Definitive Treasures of Two Capitals

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg

Cross Russia off your bucket list with the ultimate private itinerary, built around your preferences. Enjoy all the unmissable sights with local pros, stay at best 5-star central hotels, private transfers, free visas, and plenty of free time to explore on your own.

Rating: 4.93
From
$3,818
UNESCO Tour

UNESCO Tour

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Suzdal Yaroslavl Kazan Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Set off on an outstanding 13-day tour dedicated to Russia's top UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Moscow to Kazan to Saint Petersburg.

Rating: 4.80
From
$4,881
Definitive Russia

Definitive Russia

16 days / Private tour
Moscow Sergiev Posad Suzdal Vladimir Saint Petersburg Kizhi Island
Craving for an in-depth exploration of Russia? This private Russian itinerary is what you've been looking for: included Russian visas, best hotels, top guided tours of the Golden Ring, Karelia region, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Rating: 4.89
From
$5,914
Treasures of Three Capitals

Treasures of Three Capitals

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Kazan Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Experience the best of Russia's three capitals: the gorgeous Kremlins of Moscow and Kazan and exquisite palaces of St. Petersburg during the 13-day private tour.

Rating: 4.82
From
$4,198