When the Soviets got the power in 1917 they came to the conclusion that religion is like opium, and they had to do away with it to rehabilitate all people. They started to demolish churches physically. Youth was reeducated in a new way. Thus, in the late Soviet times, they were shown various western concerts like Pink Floyd on TV right during the main religious holidays.
Vergers were even arrested sometimes and not only the Orthodox ones but the Jews as well. It was out-and-out war, one of the first episodes of this war is described here.
“This Cathedral used to stand in the middle of a huge square near the Moscow river. Big and bulky, it was sparkling with its gilded dome, and oppressed other buildings around and people’s minds with its soulless and official architecture. It used to symbolize power and tastes of old Moscow masters”. This is how one architect reminisces about it.
In 1931 it was decided by the authorities to build the Palace of Soviets on its place. There were rumours that the government intended to sell the Cathedral to America for big money.
One of the latest photos of the Cathedral before the demolition.
The domes were the most expensive parts of the Cathedral. The gold contained in them was equal to half a million dollars. The authorities claimed the USSR could not afford such a luxury.
Unique paintings were doomed to die, wonderful marble images were just thrown from height into the dirt. The flying angels were losing hands, heads and wings…
Dismantled eastern staircase
Gold was the first to be removed
The committee responsible for the demolition
Taking down the bells
The workers made numerous attempts to throw down the cross of the main dome. It didn’t succumb for long. They used thick ropes and trucks.
The golden wonderful cross that had used to beautify the sky of the capital was lying in the heaps of trash, useless and miserable.
High relief portraying the blessing of a great prince Dmitry Donskoy.
How it had been
And how it became
Marble was intended to be processed
Demolishing the altar of the Cathedral
Removing the painting “Adoration of the Magi”
Dismantling the marble walls
As opposed to the famous legend about processing of the materials remained from the demolition, the big marble slabs were used for decoration of various administrative buildings of Moscow.
They were dismantling the Cathedral hastily for several months. However they didn’t dismantle it to the foundation and it was decided to explode it.
On the fifth of December, 1931, they exploded it twice. After the first explosion it remained standing.
Before the explosions people who lived nearby were temporarily evicted.
They say that the strong explosions made the ground shake far beyond the place of the Cathedral.
Ruins of the Cathedral
The marble of the Cathedral decorated metro stations “Kropotkinskaya”, “Okhotniy Ryad”, “Novokuznetskaya”.
It took almost a year and a half to clear the place of the ruins.
On the fence of the demolished Cathedral there was hung a big sign: “We replace the dope dealer with a people’s palace”
They started from the Cathedral and ended with the whole country.