All foreign guests who had ever visited Moscow during the past centuries were amused by the great number of churches in the Russian capital. Up to the end of the 19th century most of Moscow's structures were not very high, those were the wooden one- and two-storied buildings, so that one can imagine the terrific view of Moscow with high and tall stone churches and cathedrals with multiple golden domes towering everywhere over all other buildings and structures. Practically each street was laid in a way that led to a church or a cathedral. To some extent, it remains in the names of some of the streets. The streets Sretenka, Petrovka, Ilyinka, Pokrovka, Varvarka, Nikolskaya, Nikitskaya, Rozhdestvenka got their names from churches and cathedrals where these streets led to. The high number of churches in Moscow may also be explained by the fact that up to the 18th century there were no bronze or stone sculptural monuments built in Russia, instead, a convent, a church or a chapel were usually laid in commemoration of something or somebody.
There are, currently, about 200 active churches in Moscow. In the beginning of the 20th century there were, totally, 677 churches within the city borders. However, most of them were destroyed by Bolsheviks.
At present, when the country experiences a kind of spiritual renaissance reviving the old, forgotten traditions, the people start to rebuilt churches destroyed before. In this connection the construction of the Saviour Cathedral in the area close to the Kropotkinskaya Metro station is the most characteristic example. The Cathedral was built with the money collected by the people all over Russia in the 19th century. It had been under construction for about 40 years! And it was destroyed (exploded) by communists at one day of 1932. Today the reconstructed dome of the Saviour Cathedral is clearly seen from many places of Moscow. Soon the works will be completed and the Cathedral will receive its second life.
An important decision has been recently made. As soon as the services in the Saviour Cathedral will become regular, it will get the official status of the main cathedral in Russia. Aleksiy the Second, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, will perform services in the Cathedral and the sessions of Divine Synod will also be held there.
The churches, which remained here in Moscow, were built in different times. It may explain the difference in their appearance and architectural styles. Some of the churches belong to the so called early Moscow architectural style dated by the 16th - the beginning of the 17th centuries. Except for the Kremlin cathedrals and the already mentioned cathedrals of some of Moscow's convents there are some other very interesting churches in Moscow. These are
The Church of Anna's Conception
Moskvoretskaya embankment, 3, the "Kitai-Gorod" Metro station and
The Cathedral of St. Vladimir
Starosadsky per., 11, the "Kitai-Gorod" Metro station.
There is a peculiar period in the history of traditional Russian architecture, when the tent-roof churches and cathedrals were built in Russia. In compliance with this architectural style the domes were replaced with tent roofs rising high in the sky.
The Church of Ascension
at Kolomenskoye located in the national park "Kolomenskoye" (the "Kolomenskoye" Metro station), at the high bank of Moskva-River is the best representative of this architectural style. The Church was built in 1532 in the honour of new-born Crown Prince. The Russian structural and decorative details with the upstretched gables, the white-stoned window surrounds, the tent-roofed chapels and the beautiful porches are represented by many other churches in Moscow, some of these churches are:
The Church of St. Trinity at Nikitniki
1631-1634, Nikitnikovsky per., 3, the "Kitai-Gorod" Metro station,
The Church of Dormition at Gonchary
1654, Goncharnaya street, 29, the "Taganskaya" Metro station,
The Church of St. Simon
1679, Povarskaya St., 5, the "Arbatskaya" Metro station.