In secondary school we spent one term studying Russia and the Soviet Union, of course this was before the Union was dissolved. I cannot recall most of the information which was taught as our teacher was a history buff and most of the class was spent in discussion or conversation. In our textbook, there were several chapters on Russia and the Soviet Union, however they were focussed on the period of Catherine the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Unlike U.S. history which we also studied and which included acquisitions of land and dates which had to be memorised, and lots of events, Russian history and ice were not the most intriguing things.
Over the years, there was not much change in the knowledge as all things east of the Berlin Wall were only mentioned when there was disaster and the coverage was scarce. Of course their skills in gymnastics were fascinating as they were the secretly cheered for team when we were watching the Olympics.
However this week, Russia is in the news and on Facebook on two counts, one relating to meteorites and one relating to places to worship. I will share the links as well as pictures if possible as we are after all one world, one people!
St. Basil’s CathedralRed Square, Moscow, Russia
The official name is the “Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat,” but we simply call it St. Basil’s Cathedral. Built in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral was a symbol of the country’s capture of Kazan. The nine ornate “onion domes” are the lids to underlying chapels, the ninth and lastly built of which houses the tomb of St. Basil, a loved Russian Orthodox saint, or yurodivy, a “holy fool for Christ.” Legend has it that aptly named Ivan the Terrible insisted that the architect responsible for the creation had his eyes removed to ensure he never out-built the cathedral’s beauty on another structure. The cathedral is usually open to visitors every day except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.