No description can do justice to St Basils Cathedral (daily 11am–5.30pm, winter months until 4.30pm, closed Tues; R150, student R50) – perhaps the most famous symbol of Russia – its multicoloured onion domes silhouetted against the skyline where Red Square slopes down towards the Moskva River. The exterior is far more impressive than the interior, which consists of a stone warren of small chapels and souvenir stalls. Built in 1561 to celebrate Ivan the Terrible’s capture of the Tatar stronghold of Kazan in 1552, its name commemorates St Basil the Blessed, a “holy fool” who foretold the fire that swept through Moscow in 1547.

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