Original construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was originally conceptualized as a structure built in recognition of the end to the threat Napoleon posed to Russia. While plans to build the cathedral emerged in 1812, it wasn't until the late 1830s that a design for a cathedral based upon the Byzantine style was approved and the first phase of construction began.
The cathedral was decorated by famous painters of the day who have since come to represent the best talent of 19th century Russian, including Kramskoi and Vereshchagin. Its interior was a testament to Russia's military efforts during the war of 1812. An equal-sided cross describes the floor plan of the cathedral.
Demolition of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
The fate of this cathedral took a turn for the worse after the death of Lenin. Upon Stalin's ascension to power, the site of the cathedral was designated for the location of the so-called Palace of the Soviets. The cathedral was demolished and the rubble removed from the construction site. Though the Palace of the Soviets was never completed due to the outbreak of WWII, other Stalinist-era architectural monuments remain in Moscow and elsewhere (see Stalin's Seven Sisters).
The site was converted into swimming pool during the late 1950s.
Reconstruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
It wasn't until 1995 that Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior was begun to be rebuilt. Though it was originally planned to build the cathedral as an exact copy of the first one, deviations to the design were introduced. However, the reconstructed cathedral embodies the grandness and importance of the 19th century structure and its importance has been heightened as a result of its troubled history.
The cathedral's rise from the ashes towards the end of the 20th century is analogous to an increase in religious interest that began to emerge with the breakup of the Soviet Union and its disharmony with Orthodoxy.