Friday, March 30, 2012

Cathedral of the Annunciation

The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a Russian traditional Church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. It is located on the southwest side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where it connects directly to the main building of the difficult of the Grand Kremlin Palace, adjacent to the Palace of Facets. It was originally the personal chapel for the Muscovite tsars, and its abbot remained a individual confessor of the Russian royal family until the early 20th century.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built by architects from Pskov in 1484-1489 as part of Grand Duke Ivan III plans for a large-scale redecoration of the Moscow Kremlin. It was built on the spot of an older 14th century cathedral of the same name, which had been reconstruction in 1416. This older cathedral in turn had replaced a previous wooden church from the 13th century that had fallen victim to the regular fires in the Kremlin.
Compared with the other two major Kremlin cathedrals, the Annunciation Cathedral has slightly smaller dimensions. It is also built in a more traditional style, as it was created by local architects from Pskov, rather than Italian emigrant architects. The most characteristic feature of the building is its nine beautiful golden domes, and roof with rich kokoshnik ornamentation in an ogive form.

The Cathedral was built of brick, with facades of white limestone that are decent and decorated. There are entrances to the cathedral on the eastern and also the southern side of the building, with fretwork influenced by Italian Renaissance architecture. 

The bronze doors are decorated with gold foil. Tourists enter the cathedral via the eastern staircase, while the southern staircase is that the one added in 1570 by Ivan the Terrible. The relatively high entrance is due to the very fact that the building was built on the raised base of its predecessor.

The interior of the cathedral consists of the central prayer area and several surrounding galleries, with the additions of side altars in the 16th Century. The northern is the first gallery space, which is entered through the visitor entrance.