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St Basil’s Cathedral prepares gifts for visitors on its anniversary

One of the most famous Russian medieval architectural landmarks will mark its 457th anniversary. On this occasion, everyone who visits the cathedral between 1–6 pm on 15 August will be able to enjoy free sightseeing tours and a 50-percent discount on entrance tickets.

The State Historical Museum has prepared a special anniversary programme titled The Day of Intercession Cathedral (another name for St Basil’s Cathedral). Everyone can buy a discounted ticket to the famous landmark between 1–7 pm on 15 August.

“The State Historical Museum is giving visitors a 50-percent discount on entrance tickets to mark the cathedral’s anniversary: it turns 457 this year,” said a spokesperson of the State Historical Museum.

Visitors will also be able to go on free sightseeing tours showing the ancient church decorations. They will learn the details of the 16th century masterpiece’s history and the symbolism of the Russian icon that is still relevant today. Guides will lead tours each hour between 1 pm and 6 pm. No preliminary registration is required.

The museum’s spokesperson noted that 12 July is considered the cathedral’s official anniversary. Each year, the State Historical Museum holds special events on this day. However, due to the FIFA World Cup and the tourist surge, this year the celebrations were postponed to 15 August, when the memorial day of St Basil, who gave the cathedral its name, is celebrated. The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, also known as St Basil’s Cathedral, was built in 1555–1561 on the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan. The cathedral has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 1990.

The cathedral has 10 churches: the church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, Blessed John of Moscow, Trinity, Jesus’ Entry to Jerusalem, Nicholas Velikoretsky, Three Patriarchs (Alexander, John and Paul the New), Gregory the Illuminator, Cyprian and Justina, Alexander Svirsky and Barlaam of Khutyn (all of them stand on the same foundation) as well as a side chapel of St Basil the Blessed. In 2008, the cathedral was named one of the Seven Wonders of Russia.

Schedule of events held in the cathedral courtyard on 15 August:

1 pm–2 pm: Quilling workshop. The participants will try to make the silhouette of St Basil’s Cathedral or another architectural landmark from paper.

1.30 pm–4 pm: Calligraphy workshop. The instructors will present basic old Russian writing techniques.

1 pm–5 pm: Watercolour workshops for children.

2.30 pm–5 pm: Workshop on icon painting. Experts of an icon painting school will show how an icon is made using the masterpieces of St Basil’s Cathedral as an example.

4.30 pm–6 pm: Workshop on Old Slavic cursive.

6 pm–6.30 pm: Bell-ringer of the Moscow Kremlin Igor Konovalov will perform the main types of bell tolling in the historical bell tower of St Basil’s Cathedral.

The programme also includes the story of the bell tower and the 16th-19th century bells.