The Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, or Saint Basil’s the Blessed Cathedral, is the landmark of Russia and Russian architecture, inside and out. It’s in Red Square and I think will be associated with the image of Russia forever. The visit to Saint Basil’s Cathedral is a must-see in your Moscow travel itinerary!
In this blog post, I’m going to give you a few things to decide if you’re interested in visiting the interior of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, as well as practical information to prepare for the visit.
Visit the Saint Basil’s Cathedral inside
To visit or not to visit the interior? That is the question!
What to see inside?
Wow effect visit? We visited the interior of the cathedral twice. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow is pretty, but not as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. Although my opinion could be biased (I am originally from Saint Petersburg), in my opinion, the Cathedral of Saint Savior on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg is prettier inside. It’s beautiful, but the space is smaller.
Highlight of the visit
Place steeped in history. However, the history of the place is very interesting! Ivan the Terrible orders the construction of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in 1561, to celebrate his victory over the city of Kazan. Legend has it that the tsar had caused the architect’s eyes to die so that he would not reproduce a similar work! In 1812, when Napoleon’s army occupied Moscow, there was talk of destroying the cathedral, but it survived. The same happened to the coming to power of communists for whom religion was “the opium of the people”. Finally, the Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow remained almost intact and it is very good!
Architecture of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The structure of the cathedral may surprise. Inside, there is not one or two or three chapels, but new! The building is a Swiss cheese with many corridors and passages. It’s very surprising. In addition, there are two levels! It was the second level that impressed us most: the main chapel, the views of Red Square (a small view), and on the other side over the Moskva river and Zaryadié park.
Tips for visiting Saint Basile Cathedral
Audioguide. If you choose to visit the interior, you are advised to take the audio guide (more info on the audio guide below). Thanks to the additional explanations, we were able to better understand the place. Otherwise, we would have felt more lost: the plan of the place is really surprising for a cathedral.
Visit time. Allow at least a good hour if you take the audio guide. If you go without it, it is possible to visit the Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow in 30 minutes. If you want to get to the basics, visit the chapels instead and go up to the second level, without spending too much time in the exhibits.
How to get there? The nearest metro is Teatralnaya station and Okhotny Ryad station. On the other hand, if you have the time and want to take a walk, I strongly advise you to go instead to the Kitaï Gorod station along the Varvarka street and the Zaryadiye park. Check our blog post about Where to stay in Moscow? and about Moscow City transport.
In general, the cathedral is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except every first Wednesday of the month and on special days. To prepare for the May holidays, the cathedral may close earlier. The schedules vary enormously! And for good reason: many events are organized on Red Square. For example, on May 1 and 9 the cathedral is closed.
Good to know! If you absolutely want to visit the interior, I strongly advise you to check the timetables on the official website in English.
Entry tickets to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow
Prices. Entrance for non-Russians citizens is 700 rubles + 500 rubles for an audio guide (also available in French!). The prices on site and on site are the same.
Where to buy tickets? Tickets can be purchased on site. We had no wait at all. In general, there is a small queue, but I have never heard of a long wait. But to save time, it is possible to go through the official website in English. Once the payment has been made on the site, you get a counter mark and can go to the cash desks on the scheduled date without waiting to obtain your entry ticket.
Visit of Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square with a guide
To not miss a thing and learn a lot of new things, it is possible to discover the cathedral and the square with a English-speaking guide. It is therefore better to group the two to have a longer visit time and pay less. Besides, the more you are, the more interesting it is.
What to see around the Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow?
Zaryadiye Park. It’s a brand new park just 10 minutes walk from Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral that is well worth a visit! In addition, you will notice a lot of birch trees in the park. No wonder, because for the Russians the birch is a tree which is associated with their country. But the highlight of the park is of course the suspension bridge over the Moskva River: very pretty and impressive! 🙂
Kremlin. The Kremlin does not enter Red Square, so it is also not close to Saint Basil’s Cathedral. To be able to go there and avoid the queue, I advise you to take tickets in advance on the Internet. More in this post: Moscow Kremlin.
Red Square and all around. Saint Basile Cathedral is a must-see, as is Red Square. In order to not miss anything on this magnificent square and know which places to see all around, you can read this post: Red Square.