Churches, Cathedrals and Monasteries of Russia
Religion has long played an important role in the culture and lives of the people of Russia. It has influenced government, created holidays and given people hope for better things during the most desperate times. Russia became a Christian country in 988 when Prince Vladimir of Kiev adopted the new religion. This laid the foundation for the Russian Orthodox Church which is still the main religious denomination in the country. However, things have not always gone well with religion in Russia. For as many as seventy years the official religion of the country was ‘atheism’. That was when Communism gripped the country and a new period of religious intolerance began.
Fortunately things today have largely changed. Freedom of religion is something practised in most Russian cities and many of the beautiful churches that were once abandoned have again become filled with parishioners. Many old churches, monasteries and cathedrals have managed to survive Communism and today they make fascinating tourist attractions in addition to still being houses of worship. Places such as the Andronikov Monastery, the Cathedral of the Archangel, the St Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod or the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Valaam Island are all fantastic tourist stops. You do not have to be a member of a particular faith to appreciate the lavish decorations, the ornate fixtures and the beautiful and skilful designs of many of these churches and monasteries.
So the next time you visit Russia, take a tour of the many beautiful religious buildings that can be found here. There really are so many beautiful churches and monasteries that you will be spoilt for choice. And if the building is not particularly decorative, then it is likely to have a long and interesting history that will keep you entertained for hours. You will find churches at the centre of major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg – or in smaller rural areas around the country. Many of them feature the trademark onion-domed towers and other great architectural designs. So make sure you include a few church or monastery tours in your travel plans the next time you visit Russia.