Soviet Premier Josef Stalin nearly had this gorgeous symbol of Moscow torn down, so as to better allow huge military parades through Red Square. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and St. Basil's Cathedral (now a museum) is one of Russia's most popular tourist attractions.
Photograph by Anton Zelenov, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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    On July 12, 1561, St. Basil's Cathedral opened in Moscow, Russia. St. Basil’s has been the symbol of Moscow and all of Russia ever since.
    Many myths surround the brightly patterned onion domes of St. Basil’s. The most gruesome is that Czar Ivan IV was so dazzled by the church that he had its architects blinded—so they could never again design anything as beautiful! (The czar didn’t earn his nickname, Ivan the Terrible, for nothing, although historians agree he probably didn't blind St. Basil's architects.)
    Today, St. Basil’s Cathedral is part of Moscow’s famous Red Square. Red Square was named after the Russian word for “beautiful,” not the color of its bricks. Red Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes the State Historical Museum and the Kremlin, where Russian leaders have ruled for more than 1,000 years.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    architect Noun

    person who designs buildings or other large structures.

    bulging Adjective

    swelling or bent outward.

    cathedral Noun

    important regional church.

    church Noun

    building used for spiritual worship and religious practices.

    dazzle Verb

    to happily astonish or impress.

    gruesome Adjective

    gross or violent.

    Kremlin Noun

    (Moscow, Russia) historic building complex that houses the offices of the Russian government.

    myth Noun

    legend or traditional story.

    onion dome Noun

    shape of a half-sphere with a thin, pointed top.

    St. Basil's Cathedral Noun

    (1561) Russian Orthodox church, now a museum, in Moscow, Russia.

    symbol Noun

    something used to represent something else.

    UNESCO Noun

    the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

    Encyclopedic Entry: UNESCO
    World Heritage Site Noun

    location recognized by the United Nations as important to the cultural or natural heritage of humanity.