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The wedding-cake-shaped red-and-white church is the Cathedral of the Ikon Of Our Lady.
The Kazan Ikon of Our Lady enjoys special reverence in Russia – it's thought of as a symbol of divine intervention during Russia's years of hardship. The miraculous ikon appeared in the city of Kazan in 1579. Legend has it that a nine-year-old girl named Matryona thrice had a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who told her to seek the ikon amid the cinders of a burnt house. She searched where she'd been told, and found the ikon of Our Lady wrapped in a bolt of cloth. Ever since, July 21th is celebrated as the day of the ikon's miraculous discovery.
The Kazan Cathedral was built in honour of Russia's victory over a Polish military occupation of Moscow in the C17th – the so-called “Time Of Troubles”. On their way to Moscow to eject the Poles, the Russian guerilla troops stopped to pray before the ikon. On November 4th 1612 they relieved the civilian area of Kitai-gorod, and three days later they retook the Kremlin – where they solemnly placed the Kazan ikon.
Kazan Cathedral on Red Square has been rebuilt a number of times – the last being in 1865. During the 1920s approval was granted for a further rebuilding. But in 1930 the cathedral was shut down, and six years later it was completely torn down. It was not until the 1990s that the cathedral was rebuilt here, following archive copies of the original drawings and plans.
Prior to the cathedral's destruction in 1936, the Holy Ikon of Our Lady of Kazan was carefully preserved. Nowdays no reliquary exists at the Church. A second likeness of the ikon is kept at the Epiphany Cathedral of Elokhovsky. During the time of Tsar Peter the Great – the early C18th – another likeness of the ikon was taken to St.Petersburg. There it was kept from 1737, and then – since 1811 – in Moscow in the Kazan Cathedral.
In 1904 the original Kazan Ikon of Our Lady was stolen from the Kazan Monastery of Our Lady. The thief was eventually caught. When interrogated, he claimed that he'd prised off the precious jewels and metals of the ikon and sold them to a jeweller – and thrown the wooden ikon into a furnace, to see if it truly had miraculous powers. Extensive search for the ikon's decoration came to nothing.
Moscow is the capital of the ancient and modern Russian state. It has been playing crucial role for centuries. Here you can face all episodes of rich and gorgeous Russian history.
The city is full of historical buildings, monuments, cathedrals, museums and parks. It started many centuries ago from the Kremlin – medieval city-fortress overlooking the Moskva River. Now it is not only the government seat but open air museum. Behind the tall red brick walls palaces, cathedrals and museums are hidden. You can get there through one of the gates and walk along the streets that saw Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter the Great and all other Romanovs, and the Soviet leaders.
You can visit all the cathedrals on Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square, climb Ivan the Great Bell Tower, take photos of the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, see state regalia, ceremonial vestments and gold and silver relics in the world-known treasury-house – the Armoury Chamber. To say more, the Kremlin and its vicinities are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
We would like to advise you not to concentrate on the Kremlin only. Now you can get out of the Kremlin through the Spasskiye Gate and find yourself on Red Square – the main square of the country where Victory Day parades take place. In winter there is a skating rink with some kind of souvenir bazar. Red Square is famous for being the part of so called Kitai-Gorod – the second ring of fortified walls. Here you will see the beautiful fairy-tale St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is open for tourists and it’s worth visiting. Other places that pay tourists’ attention are GUM (the main center for shopaholics), Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the small Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady. If you go along Nikolskaya Street, you will get to Lubyanka Square with the imposing buildings of former KGB and the biggest in Russia Children's World Department Store.
If you decide to go through the Resurrection Gate you will find yourself on Manezhnaya (Manege) Square at the entrance to the Alexander Garden. It’s a large pedestrian open space and a nice place to walk and relax near the fountains. Underground Trade Centre ”Okhotny Ryad” or “the Hunter’s Row” is a paradise for shopping. You can continue your walk towards Arbat or Tverskaya Street. There are also fine buildings to visit and to take pictures of: The Shilov Art Gallery, hotels “Moskva”, “Nationale”, Pashkov's House, The Former House of the Moscow State Duma etc.
If you decide to turn round Georgy Zhukov’s horse monument you’ll occur on Revolution Square where you can visit the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812. From there it’s very easy to get to Teatralnaya or “Theatre” Square limited by the Metropol Hotel, The Bolshoi and the Maly Theatres. In the center you will find a beautiful fountain by Vitali.
All these sites and even more you will be able to visit and explore with knowledgeable audio excursion with offline map from Your Audio Guide “Attractions around the Kremlin”. You will find Moscow very pleasant for spending holidays.