Saint Basil's Cathedral. The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral are official names for a Russian Orthodox church in Red Square in Moscow. The church is also called the Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed, anglicized as Saint Basil's Cathedral. It was built from 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan.
St. Basil's marks the geometric center of Moscow. It has been the hub of the city's growth since the 14th century and was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has no analogues in Russian architecture. As part of the program of state atheism, the church was confiscated from the Russian Orthodox community as part of the Soviet Union's anti-theist campaigns and has operated as a division of the State Historical Museum since 1928. It was completely and forcefully secularized in 1929 and, as of 2013, remains a federal property of the Russian Federation.
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