The Cathedral of the Archangel
The construction of the cathedral began during the reign of Ivan III and was completed in the reign of Grand Duke Vasily Ivanovich. Before this, the Church of the Archangel – erected during the reign of Grand Duke Ivan Kalita as far back as 1333 in gratitude for Moscow’s deliverance from famine – stood on this spot.
The cathedral was built in 1505-1509 by the Italian architect known as Aleviz Novy, who followed Russian conventions in church architecture, but introduced some features of Italian Renaissance architecture into the ornamentation of the building. The five domes crowning the cathedral are shifted to the eastern part of the roof. The central dome is gilded, while the surrounding ones are silver-plated.
The Cathedral of the Archangel served as the burial place for the Moscow imperial family up to the end of the 17th century, before the capital was transferred to St. Petersburg. The cathedral’s necropolis is a reminder of many important events in the history of the state. Here lie the remains of grand dukes and tsars Ivan Kalita, Ivan the Terrible, Mikhail Feodorovich, Alexey Mikhailovich and others, some 54 tombs in all.
Great objects of worship for the Orthodox Church are also kept here: the relics of St. Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy, the miracle-workers of Chernigov and St. Tsarevich Dmitry of Uglich.