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Tent-roof Cathedral

Tent-roof Cathedral

Tent-roof churches began to be seen at the end of the 15th century and were widespread in the 16th and 17th centuries, but construction of tent-like churches (of which Saint Basil's Cathedral is a prime example) was strictly forbidden by Patriarch Nikon, who was famous with his reforms in Russian Orthodox Church in the middle of 17th century, in an attempt to bring the Rus church closer to the Byzantine models. It was Patriarch Nikon, who built the famous New Jerusalem in Istra (you could learn about this place from my latest pictures).

Here is the interesting information about this church from the excellent book "Discovering the Moscow Countryside" written by Kathleen Berton Murrell:

"The glorious white stone Transfiguration Church (Preobrazheniya) one of the few tent-shaped tower churches in the Moscow area, was built in the second half of the 16th century as a part of royal estate. The slim octagonal cone rises steeply from the cube base where twelve tiny cupolas are groupted three at each corner and sheathed with a great progusion of kokoshniki* ogee gables. An enclosed gallery, rebuilt of brick in 1838, surrounds the church on three sides culminating in two chapels, each miniature versions of the central church. Within the narrow confines it is thrilling to look high up into the tall cone. the unusual deep-set round windows suggest foreign influence although it was almost certanly constructed by master builders from Pskov in the reign of Ivan the Terrible."

Useful Info:
*Kokoshnik - a purely decorative architectural feature. Semi-circular in shape, often rising to a point (like the mediaeval Russian head-dress of the same name worn by married women) and framed by rich moulding. They are often found in diminishing tiers at the base of tent-shaped roofs and dome drums.

Photo taken on 2006-05-23 at 11:56:12

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