The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is Moscow’s famous cathedral situated on the north bank of the River Moskva. At 103 metres high it is the tallest Orthodox Christian Church in the world and dominates that part of the Moscow skyline.
The Cathedral is the second church standing on this site; the original was built during the 19th century, taking over 40 years to build. It was destroyed on Joseph Stalin’s orders in 1931. Its’ destruction was to allow the Soviets to build a huge Palace of the Soviets and to use the 20 tonnes of gold plate on the dome for Soviet reconstruction projects.
The Palace of Soviets was never built but the gold was stripped and the Cathedral subsequently dynamited. Remnants of marble from the Cathedral found their way into Metro stations and the site became the location of the world’s biggest outdoor swimming pool.
In 1990, before the dissolution of the USSR the Soviet government gave permission to rebuild the Cathedral. A fund was started and money poured in from ordinary citizens in 1994. In this year the swimming pool was demolished and reconstruction works started. One million Muscovites donated money for the project.
The completed Cathedral was consecrated on Transfiguration Day, 19th August 2000.
The original church was the scene of the 1882 world premiere of the famous 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky celebrating the victory of Napoleonic France during the 1812 War. Most recently the new Cathedral was in the headlines as the venue chosen by Russian protestors, Pussy Riot, for their demonstration against President Putin and the Russian government.