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The Western Facade of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour looks towards Smolensky Proezd Street. By tradition the Western Wall is the main one, but unusually there is no portal – entrance to the Cathedral is from the North Door, from Volkhonka Street. Looking across, we see a small single-domed chapel. This is the Lower Chapel of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Church. Take up your stance near it, and we have a fine view of the sculptures decorating the Western Face of the Cathedral itself.
All of the sculptural compositions displayed on the Western Facade of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – just as on the other facades – are executed in large scale, and are 4-5 metres in height. 40 metres above us, and in the middle of the central arch in the upper row we find the image of the dedicatee saint of the Cathedral – Christ the Saviour. To either side of the arch are four small arches which each display a significant Saint. To the far left we see St.Alexander Nevsky; next to him, Saint Nicholas; looking further we see the Blessed St.Nicholas of Novgorod; and completing the series on the right, the image of the Righteous St.Elizabeth.
In the arch of the large central gates of the Western Facade of the Cathedral we find a five-metre all sculptural tableau, “Four Angels With Outstretched Wings Hold A Charter Above An Arch, On Which is Written “The Lord's Strength Be With Thee”. There are two further angels on either side. The great central gates of the cathedral are graced with the work of sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. In the arches of the smaller gates are images of the Moscow Citizen's Guard of 1812. To the left of the central arch we see two angels with lowered banners, depicting a cross - while to the right we see two angles with church banners, which former a tilted cross.
Twelve gates adorn the facades of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – made to the designs created for the original C19th cathedral by sculptor Feodor Tolstoy. Recreating them required extensive historical research. The sculptors consulted the archives of the Russian Museum, where Tolstoy's sketches are preserved – he made them to show his plans to the Tsar before work began. Sketches for all twelve gates are preserved. The right to reproduce them was won by modern sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. The gate frames were struck from stainless steel. Experts in steel fabrications devised a complex series of hinges, which permit the resulting 12-ton gates to be opened by even the hand of a small child. The central parts of the gates are, as before, crafted from oak timbers, and the decorative medallions are struck from bronze.
The site for the future Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was personally chosen by Tsar Nicholas I – the Chertoriya Rivulet Creek on the Prechistenka Embankment, where the old St Alexei Convent stood. The Convent was relocated to the village of Krasnoe Selo, and its buildings pulled down. But from that moment Muscovites imagined that woe would befall those who had torn a convent down. Indeed, on the first day of demolition, the worker who took the cross down from the convent roof fell to his death, to the horror of a crowd of onlookers. Tradition had it that the nuns had petitioned to save their convent, and the eldest sister said she would never leave. When she was hauled away bodily, she cried aloud “Puddle! May this place never be more than a Puddle! A Puddle!”. As we now know, her prophesy came true. The cathedral was later demolished in the soviet era, and after building plans fell through the site was turned into a swimming pool.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a cathedral on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks southwest of the Kremlin. With an overall height of 103 metres it is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.
The current church is the second to stand on this site. The original church, built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. It was destroyed in 1931 during the Communist rule of Joseph Stalin. The demolition was supposed to make way for a colossal Palace of the Soviets that was never built, so the church was reconstructed in the 1990s on the same site.
The Cathedral is located on Volkhonka Street, which starts from Borovitskaya Square. The name of the street appeared at the end of the XVIII century when on the lands of the Volkonskis, a famous noble family was a popular tavern "Volkhonka". The street is one of the most ancient in Moscow. It was famous as a district for the rich.
This district is going to become Moscow Museum District. During the tour you will see and have the opportunity to visit a number of art museums: The Tsvetkovsky Gallery, The Ilya Glazunov Art Gallery, The Lopukhin Family Mansion (aka the Roerich Museum), Gallery of European and American Art of the C19th and C20th, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Private Collections. While walking here you will understand why Moscow used to be accepted as a beautiful jewelry box. In the lanes you will discover old mansions and fall in love with stories of Russian noble families. Such are The Golitsyn Mansion, The Lopukhin Family Mansion, Obolonsky's Mansion, Sergey Tretyakov's Mansion etc. The Chambers of Averky Kirillov - a unique example of a large urban homestead. Chambers, Church of St. Nicholas and outbuildings along the waterfront are a single architectural complex.
Another bright example of Moscow architecture is Pertsova's Rental Apartment Mansions. The house was an apartment house, located on the corner of Soymonovsky passage and Prechistenskaya embankment, built in 1905-1907 by architects N. Zhukov and B.N. Shnaubert on sketches of the artist S.V. Malyutin, author of Russian nesting dolls. The house includes apartments and artists' studios in the upper attic of the building.