It was built on orders of the first Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible (Grozny) in the years 1554-1556 to commemorate the victory over the last Mongol Tatar Khanate on the Russian soil with the capital of Kazan, which disturbed Russia by endless raids and invasions, bringing chaos and destruction to hundreds of villages, death to tens of thousands of population.
In XVI -XVII centuries Pokrovskiy Sobor was a symbol of early heavenly city and was known as a Russian Jerusalem. There were Palm Sunday parades around the building attended by the Tsar and the Patriarch of Moscow.
Saint Basil has a total of ten towers sporting domes. The largest is at the center of the cathedral known as the Church of the Feast of the Pokhrov. There are four more, each topping a church located on a cardinal point, north, south, east, and west. Then an additional four at the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest points. Each of them represent an important religious Orthodox event or holiday. Then there is one that does not stand on a rose point. It was built in 1555 and is located over the grave of Saint Basil. It became part of the cathedral in 1588.
Since Basil's parents were serves, his mother delivered him in the church. From early years of his life Basil felt unjust ices of life and started to steal everything he could from the rich and gave it away to the poor. Soon he became known and respected in Moscow and later in other cities for being fair, kind, and smart. He became a very notorious man during the years of the rule of the Ivan IV - the times of horrible cruelty of the Tsar and his henchmen against the population of Russia. He roamed the streets of Moscow trying to win converts during the reign of Grozniy. In spite of brutal winters and unforgiving summers, he conducted his crusade along and naked, in chains, attracting dozens of the people to watch him on his way, to listen to his predictions...
He was one of the few people who spelled out the truth to the Tsar, especially about the atrocities the Tsar had committed against his own population and even the noble people and friends. He predicted the fire of Moscow in 1547 as well as other things, sometimes not pleasant to the Tsar. Deeply in his heart Ivan the Terrible respected Vasiliy and feared him. When Basil died the Tsar himself was carrying his coffer and ordered other noblemen to attend to his funeral.
The cathedral was designed by architects Barma and Posnik. Early evidence gives us a confusing information that it could have been a single person. According to another legend, the Cathedral was designed by an Italian architect, who then was blinded on orders of the Tsar, so he could not ever have built such a beautiful building. There is a fact that in between 1475 and 1510 Italian architects were commissioned the restoration work of Kremlin and its several churches and were employed by Russians in Moscow at that time.
St. Basil's Cathedral is a symbol of Red Square, Moscow, and the whole country of Russia. It withstood foreign invasions, natural disasters and even the orders of ruthless political figures such as Napoleon, who was eager to burn it with little success, and Stalin, who wanted to demolish it to increase space for his military parades.