Russia participated in several wars and civil wars throughout history. Many of these wars could end Russia and its culture if there weren’t several brave commanders to prevent it. Many of these commanders pleaded to the Orthodox Church and their holy icons to get courage and relief, including Prince Dmitry Pozharsky who defeated the Polish army and freed Moscow from its invaders.
The story of Kazan Cathedral in Moscow and other cathedrals with the same name in other cities of Russia are connected to a famous Orthodox Church's holy icon from the 14th century. Since the Our Lady of Kazan icon was believed to do wonderworks amongst churchgoers, and also many commanders of Russian military pleaded to it before the wars, it was believed to be the guardian angel of Russia and protector of its people.
Prince Dmitry Pozharsky was one of the Russian military commanders at the end of the Time of Troubles in 1612, when Tsar Feodor I died without an heir and Michael I became the first Tsar in Romanov family. He was the commander who liberated the city of Moscow from the Polish invaders and defeated their army. He claimed that he got the power and belief to do that task only because of the holy icon of Our Lady of Kazan, and funded the construction of Virgin of Kazan church from his wealth afterward.
The original wooden church was demolished during the fire in 1632, though Michael I ordered to reconstruct the wooden church with bricks. The new church had one central dome and featured with a belfry, a wide gallery, and several layers of Kokoshniki. The Kazan cathedral is one of the most important churches in Moscow. Several years after its construction on the anniversary of liberating Moscow from the Polish army, a parade form in front of this church each year which Tsar himself partake in it.
The Kazan Cathedral stretched and restored many times during the imperial era since it was quite important to people and the imperial family as well. There were several notable restorations during that time such as 1801, 1805 and 1865 which hide the original design of the church completely.
When the Soviet Union gained power in Russia, most of the churches and religious sites demolished or changed their status, Kazan Cathedral was not safe either. One of the greatest Russian architects of that time, Peter Baranovsky decided to save the church by reconstructing it. He began the reconstruction in 1925 and finished it in 1933, but no matter how hard he tried to save the church, Joseph Stalin ordered to demolish the church days before the military parade that took place in Red Square in 1936.
A temporary building replaced the church site to become the Communist International’s offices, but after a while, it turned to a summer café. Though Baranovsky couldn’t save the Kazan Cathedral, he managed to save the St. Basil's Cathedral, which was also inside the squad. He also managed to save the blueprint of the original cathedral which helped the future architects to rebuild the cathedral to its original design.
The reconstruction of the demolished Kazan Cathedral began in 1989, by Oleg Zhurin who was one of the Baranovsky’s student. He completely rebuilt the cathedral with its originals design plan following the Naryshkin Baroque style, and with the help of photographs and Cathedral’s blueprint which was saved by Baranovsky in the 1930s. That was the first-ever cathedral that completely rebuilt after it was demolished by the Soviets.
All the Kazan cathedrals in Russia cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Volgograd were named after the holy icon of Our Lady of Kazan, but none of them has the original icon on display. There are several copies of the icon exist from the 16th and 17th centuries, and these cathedrals own these copies.
Besides the famous holy icon of Our Lady from Kazan, there are numerous other icons available in the Kazan Cathedral as well, which each of them have their attraction for tourists. This cathedral also performs daily church services. The entrance to this cathedral is free of charge, so each person can enjoy the beauty of this place without paying any high price.
There are lots of reasons for tourists to be attracted to this cathedral, but one the most common one is the architecture of the building. Since Red Square would be in your Moscow tour program, we recommend you to put aside a few minutes of your time in your travel to Moscow and enjoy the interior and the icons inside the cathedral. Though this cathedral built almost recently at the end of the 20th century, it looks like the original 17th-century building with the help of technology and method of painting. This amazing feature increases the attractiveness of the place.