Building St. Basil's Cathedral
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain. That's the old Turkish saying. Sadly, in my case I can't at this particular moment go to see St. Basil's dazzling domes in Moscow. And so the next logical step is to build them.
I am equipped with CubicFun's 3D puzzle box and unequivocal enthusiasm. Time required states more than 4 hours to construct, which would probably have been taken as a significant insult by the 16th century Russian labourers who toiled for 6 years to finish the real thing.
The bright paper puzzle pieces are perfectly illustrated, brick by brick. As they should be, St. Basil's was one of the first brick buildings in Moscow. In fact, people were so fascinated with brick, it was a popular decorative medium.
My first construction is the base, which will hold 9 towers, each topped with a unique colourful dome. Each individual tower actually commemorates a successful military assault on the Turkish city of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible.
Ivan was the first Tsar of Russia and the creator of the vast Russian empire. He was crowned tsar at only age 16 and shortly after the ceremony, selected his bride from over 1,000 girls. All the noble families in Russia were given invitation to bring their young daughters to the Kremlin as contenders for the title of tsaritsa. It just so happened, that Ivan chose Anastasia Romanova, whose family would eventually become the second great dynasty to rule Russia.
During his reign, Ivan expanded Russia's borders and created an empire encompassing several states. St. Basil's Cathedral was built as a victorious trophy following his conquest of the city of Kazan, now called Kahramankazan (modern day Turkey).
The architecture of St. Basil's was completely unprecedented at the time and remains unique to this day. A famous observation of the cathedral's domes by Marquis de Custine has traversed across centuries, describing it as having combined:
"the scales of a golden fish, the enamelled skin of a serpent, the changeful hues of the lizard, the glossy rose and azure of the pigeon's neck".
The Construction Details
The foundations, being the easiest part of the whole thing allowed me to set a tone of arrogance, which got annihilated as the night progressed.
Below, evidence of the first misaligned puzzle pieces. Despite much yelling, the little green roofs on the staircases are still not straight...
The more domes we made, the more gin&tonic was needed.
Chester is growing impatient with the amount of paper debris.
Totally worth all the trouble
There is a legend saying Ivan had the architect deliberately blinded so as to prevent him from building anything better than St. Basil's Cathedral. I hope that's not a curse, because I did end up using some super glue in the end. There is no shame in a little assistance.