Standing magnificent at the head of Red Square is St. Basil's Cathedral. Russia's most recognisable building was built in 1561 to celebrate Ivan the Terrible's crucial defeat of the Khan of Kazan, a victory which secured Moscow's position as the region's dominant city. While the view from outside is spectacular and rightly famed, it is certainly also worth a visit inside. Visitors used to the vast open spaces of Western European cathedrals will be shocked to find a stone warren of small, intimate chapels, each decorated with countless icons and engravings and soaring in one direction only: upwards, to the height of the onion domes above. Russia's history is all about a country being simultaneously tugged towards the west and the east. A visit inside St Basil's gives an invaluable lesson on the importance and undoubted attractions of the latter.
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Open 10:00 - 17:00. From May 1 to May 31 open 11:00 - 18:00, Closed first Wed of the month. From June 1 to August 31 open 10:00 - 18:00, Closed June 11 and August 8. From September 1 to November 7 open 11:00 - 18:00.