Saturday, 21 January 2012


No I don't mean thick set, intimidating, bald Soviet men, I'm referring of course to the Russian capital's skyline, many of it's finest churches decorated with iconic onion domes of all styles. Predominantly shimmering gold or often tiled (below), domes also appear painted in striking matt green and blue colours. Moscow's churches create a dramatic aesthetic, your eye inevitably drawn towards towards God as you squint blindly, muttering about crow's feet as you try to absorb the curvaceous harmony of a dome's structure.

Often the thick-walled church interiors proved to be small and austere in design, far outweighed by the immense scale of the exterior domes. St. Basil's (below) was an exception according to my travelling amigo, who returned awe-inspired after viewing the interior while I haggled again with crazy old poster man back at Izmailovsky market to replace our lost wares. These beautiful orthodox buildings were often tucked away in tiny Muscovite alleyways, their vibrant pastel colour schemes appearing oasis-like amidst chaotic modern scaffolding - only after we had taken several bum steers and almost given up hope of ever deciphering the local street signs.

The dome shape is said to resemble a burning candle, its religious symbolism obvious, though there are many theories as to the significance, if any of the design. The onion dome is synonymous of course with traditional Russian architecture and the aesthetic charm of many of Moscow's finest certainly put the dour interiors of a lot of poor old (and now bankrupt) England's churches in the shade.    


  1. Stunningly beautiful onion domes with 'Orthodox' crosses.

    Totally unrelated, below is a link to shadow puppets with Louis Armstrong's, 'What a Wonderful World'.

    We have such wonderful gifts for creativity and the sublime, and yet we fumble with our meagre efforts to get along on our planet.

    As Samuel Beckett wrote (in 'les mots francais'): "quand on est dans la merde jusqu'au cou, il ne reste plus qu'a chanter". That's the ugly side.

    - Ivan D.

  2. Re. the Samuel Beckett quote: there is an accent on the 'a' before 'chanter', meaning 'to'. He was popular in France. (Check for resources).
    - Ivan D.

  3. The inside of St Baz almost moved me to tears!